Chicago Bike Crash Lawyer applauds Mayor Emanuel’s Efforts to Promote Bicycle Safety
On May 7, 2013, there was a story in the Chicago Sun Times entitled “Mayor wants to increase fines for reckless cyclists, motorists.” The article discusses Mayor Emanuel’s plans to introduce an ordinance at a City Council meeting on May 9th, 2013. The ordinance would raise fines for motorists AND cyclists who disobey the city’s traffic laws.
For instance, the mayor’s plan would double the fine imposed against motorists who open their doors without looking into the paths of cyclists, causing a collision. This is referred to as “dooring.” In Chicago, most of the reported “doorings” (250 reported last year) happen on the north and northwest side, not surprising given the amount of bike usage in those parts of town.
Additionally cyclists need to beware of their surroundings particularly around construction sites, bicycle crashes can happen anywhere. They are likely to happen more often around construction sites.
Sometimes, when someone opens up a door into the path of a cyclist, the unsuspecting bike rider is able to react in time to drive around the open door. However, sometimes the cyclist is forced into traffic and sometimes out of a clearly marked bike lane. The results are often just as bad as or worse than the bike rider being flipped over a door and onto the concrete.
The City of Chicago is starting an awareness campaign to remind taxicab passengers of the need to look before they open passenger doors. Given that there are about 7,000 taxi cabs in Chicago, hopefully the City’s efforts will prevent injuries to bicyclists and perhaps save some lives.
Unfortunately, many automobile drivers just seem to have a pure dislike for bicyclists. Mayor Emanuel’s decision to create a network of protected bike lanes in Chicago has simply increased tensions between cyclists and motorists.
Emanuel argues that “everyone is safer” when traffic laws are obeyed. Emanuel hopes that increased traffic fines, not only for motorists, but for cyclists as well, will improve safety. Given that he is a cyclist himself and hopes to make Chicago the nation’s most “bike-friendly” city, hopefully his plan accomplishes increased safety for bicyclists.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident or would like to know more regarding bicycle accident laws, contact the bicycle accident lawyers at Willens Law Offices, P.C. at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.