Cycling in Chicago: Know the Rules and Risks of the Road
Whether you are a bicyclist or a driver, knowledge about the bicycling laws helps keep bicyclists and drivers alike safe. Chicago Bike Accident Attorney
Bicycling is an important mode of transportation and a popular recreational activity for many Illinoisans. But, like driving a car, there are rules to be followed, and each bicyclist has a responsibility to other users of the road, whether those other users are other bicyclists or vehicle drivers. There are many dangers to be aware of when riding a bicycle.
Whether you are a bicyclist or a driver, knowledge about the bicycling laws helps keep bicyclists and drivers alike safe, and while it may not necessarily protect you from the negligence and actions of those around you, it can help you avoid unsafe situations for which you could be held liable. Here are some basic rules for bicycle safety to help you avoid a bicycle accident:
For Chicago Bicyclists
Two Abreast and No More
Riding no more than two abreast along the side of the road permissible, as long as such arrangement does not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic. However, more than two bicyclists riding next to each other along the side of the road is prohibited by law. Conversely, on a designated bike path, riding more than two abreast would be acceptable.
Bicyclists Must Use Hand Signals to Communicate
Bicyclists must use hand signals to communicate to vehicles what the bicyclist intends to do next. The bicyclists must signal 100 feet or more before turning, slowing or stopping. To indicate a left turn, the bicyclist must extend the left hand and arm horizontally outward from his or her body. To signify a right turn, the bicyclists must do the same signal but with the right hand. To indicate that the bicyclist is stopping or slowing down, the bicyclist must extend the left arm out and downward.
Ride as Close to the Right-Hand Curb as Possible
Bicyclists should ride as close to the right-hand curb as possible to stay safely out of the way, and to allow vehicles or other bicyclists heading in the same direction to pass. A bicyclist may take a different lane position in the following situations:
- If it is necessary to avoid objects in the road, such as cars, other bicycles, animals, hazards, etc.;
- When passing another bicyclist or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
- When preparing to make a left turn;
- When proceeding straight while a right turn is necessary in a current lane;
- On one-way highways with two or more marked lanes. In this case, bicyclists may ride on the left side of the roadway.
For Chicago Cars and Trucks
Three Feet of Clearance
Drivers of vehicles must always pass bicyclists with at least three feet of clearance.
Be Careful of Opening Doors into a Bicyclist’s Path
“Dooring” occurs when a person in a parked vehicle opens the door to get out of the vehicle, but fails to check for any bicyclists that may be approaching from behind. The door opens into the path of the bicyclist, and the bicyclist is unable to avoid hitting the door. Vehicle drivers share the road with bicyclists and are required to watch out for them.
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