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Cyclists Beware! 11 Rules of the Road to Help Avoid a Bicycle Accident

Published on May 11th, 2021 by The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm

National Bicycle Safety Month is in May

May is National Bicycle Safety Month. With the changing season, you might have noticed an increase of people on the roads—both drivers and cyclists. Whether someone rides their bike for exercise or on their commute to work, many fear that a bicycle accident could happen.

Even if a cyclist exercises extreme caution to avoid any unexpected falls and crashes when on the road, the reality is, you cannot always predict or control road conditions or the actions that drivers might take with whom you share the road. A bicycle accident could happen at any moment. According to a study from the United States Department of Transportation, in 2019, 846 bicyclists were killed in traffic crashes alone.

With more temperate climates and an increase of people out-and-about, both drivers and cyclists should be aware of how to share the road safely and properly to help avoid a bicycle accident. The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm has compiled a list of commonly used rules and regulations to protect both cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians.

Rules for Cyclists to Help Avoid a Bicycle Accident

Bicyclists in Illinois have the same rights and responsibilities when using their bike that a driver operating a vehicle has. There are laws on where and how a bicyclist is permitted to ride. Specifically, in Illinois, here are a few common laws to be aware of when riding. These could help prevent a bicycle accident:

  • Riding on the sidewalk is illegal unless the sidewalk is marked as a bike path.
  • Bicyclists must ride on the right, or, ride as close as practicable to the right edge of the roadway.
  • Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic. Riding head-on against traffic is dangerous and illegal.
  • Bikers may only ride one to a bike. Unless the bike is specifically designed to carry a passenger or other cargo, a bike can become difficult to balance. This could create a hazard for both the biker and other drivers passing by, and could result in a bicycle accident.
  • Bicyclists must use hand signals. When turning, a bicyclist must signal to drivers about one-third of a block before the actual turn.
  • Bicyclists must obey traffic signals and signs.
  • Bicyclists are prohibited on certain marked roadways, controlled-access highways, and expressways.

Rules for Motorists

As a motorist, you have a “duty of lookout.” In other words, this means that a driver has the responsibility to keep a reasonable lookout for anyone else who might be on the road including other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Specifically, if you, the motorist, drive too closely to a bicyclist, or drive in a reckless manner, you could face a misdemeanor or felony charges due to negligence. Circumstances regularly arise that cause a bicyclist to have to ride outside of the designated bike lane, such as another car blocking the lane. Because of this, a motorist should always remain attentive, alert, and be prepared to move safely around them to avoid a bicycle accident.

Furthermore, as the driver of a motor vehicle, you should exercise these precautionary measures to ensure that you are providing a safe riding experience for cyclists:

  • When passing a bicyclist, you are required by law to allow a minimum of three feet of space between your vehicle and the bicyclist.
  • Open your door with your right hand. This will force you to look over your shoulder and check for any oncoming cyclists before you exit your vehicle.
  • Respect the bike lane. Even if a cyclist is not present, ensure that you do not park on or idle in a designated bike lane.
  • Stop at the stop line. If you stop in front of a stop line at an intersection or stop sign, you could put bicyclists who are crossing the road at risk.

Safety is a Priority!

The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm believes that your health and safety is a top priority. Regardless of the cause behind a bicycle accident, remember, prevention is the name of the game. Remaining focused, alert, and responsible will help you and others remain safe and avoid a bicycle accident when using the roadways here in Illinois. Sharing the road is an important part of operating a vehicle.  Everyone wants to make it home safely to their friends and family.

Big Hammer, Big Results…Call Us Today!

At The Illinois Hammer Injury Law Firm, Dworkin and Maciariello, we provide services in injury law including personal injury accidents and workers’ compensation. Our team has worked in injury law for more than 25 years and recovered millions for our clients. We take pride in fighting for the hard-working people of Illinois.

If you have sustained an injury, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call us today! Our staff is here to answer any questions you might have 24/7. We will HAMMER the insurance company for you, the injured, to get you the compensation you deserve. Big Hammer, Big results! Call today!

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