With the colder weather Chicago has been experiencing recently, many people have had to take cars or trains as their primary mode of transportation.

But on any given day, warm weather or not, bicyclists are scattered across the city. Many Chicagoans use bicycles as their primary form of transportation for various reasons—it’s great exercise, faster than walking and it’s environmentally friendly. But along with the benefits come the drawbacks, like safety issues that any Chicago accident lawyer could attest to.

The dangers of the bicycle

In 2011, the most recent year for pedalcyclist statistics, pedalcyclists accounted for 677 fatalities nationwide with 69 percent occurring in urban areas and 59 percent occurring at non-intersections. That’s 9 percent higher than the 633 fatalities in 2010, and doesn’t account for the types of non-fatal injuries that a personal injury lawyer may frequently encounter.

 

Photo Credit: Bicycle Store Paris

Prevention methods

To prevent a bicycle accident, always put on a helmet as your first step. As for actually riding the bicycle, follow these tips for safety any personal injury lawyer would approve:

  • Ride in predictable behavior. Don’t make sudden swerves or changes in your pattern, and always provide hand signals if you will be turning soon.
  • Always make sure you are at least three feet away from parked cars as to not get blocked in by a moving vehicle.
  • Be aware of parking lot exits and driveway exits. Not everyone checks before backing out of a parking spot or driveway, and you may be easily missed and hit if you are not alert.
  • Wave your arms if necessary. Oftentimes, drivers may not see a simple hand gesture, but if you wave an arm (while still staying in control of the bike, of course), you will more likely catch their eyes.
  • If you’re going to be riding at night, make sure your bike is equipped with a light. Otherwise, drivers may  not notice you, increasing your chances for an accident.

 

What to do if you’ve been in a bicycle accident

Bicycle riding has its perks, but with those perks come dangers. Don’t let the fear of bicycle accidents stop you from riding your bicycle, but be aware of the dangers, especially if you are riding your bike in or around the city. If you have had a bicycle accident and need legal help, contact a Chicago accident lawyer to learn about your rights.