Monday, October 12, 2015

Active Transportation Alliance's "Bikeways for All Plan" Would Reduce Bicycle Crashes

The Active Transportation Alliance has issued a vision for bikeways in Chicago entitled "Bikeways for All." This plan for bicycling in Chicago is focused on increasing the number of bike routes available to citizens throughout Chicago. The plan also aims to increase the equitable and fair distribution of bikeways in the city to all parts of Chicago. Overall, the plan focuses on maintaining Chicago's rapid increase in bicycling by providing new bike routes that are "low stress" and comfortable for riders of all ability levels. "Low stress" includes bike routes that are consistent and reliable in providing safe routes throughout Chicago.

Active Transportation Alliance's Bikeways For All Plan

In the PDF detailing the plan, ActiveTrans summarizes "Bikeways for All":
"Bikeways for All proposes 180 miles of new low-stress biking routes that prioritize three types of facilities: Protected Bike Lanes, Neighborhood Greenways and Urban Trails. We envision 100 additional miles of these new Protected Bike Lanes and Neighborhood Greenways by 2020 as well as concrete progress on urban trail projects."
The Chicago Tribune also published an excellent article detailing the event and provides a solid summary of the Bikeways for All plan:
"The report urged the Emanuel administration to commit to building 100 miles of the 180 miles by 2020. The 100 miles would consist of physically protected bike lanes; marked bike lanes on low-traffic, low-speed residential streets that connect to stores, parks, schools and public transit; and off-street "urban trails'' along the lakefront, the Chicago River and abandoned rail lines patterned after The 606, which opened this year and runs through Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square and Humboldt Park."
Bikeways For All Could Help Reduce Bicycle Crashes In Chicago

A direct result of a progressive, forward-thinking plan like "Bikeways or All" will also lead to fewer bicycle crashes in Chicago. As attorneys who focus our practice on representing victims of bicycle accidents, there are certain "common denominators" we see in most cases. Far and away, the failure of the driver to pay attention (keep a proper lookout) and congestion are two common factors in bicycle accidents. A bikeway of any kind serves to mitigate against the potential threat of these two factors.

First, a bikeway serves as a "warning" in the same way a stop sign does. When a driver sees clearly marked and delineated roadway markings for a bike lane and signs indicated the presence of bicyclists this serves as a "warning" to motorists to be aware that bicyclists could be present on the roadway. This awareness fights against the common refrain from motorists that the "bicyclist came out of nowhere." The bicyclist didn't come out of thin air, most likely the motorist simply did not appreciate that bicyclist would be on the roadway and their "surprise" is just from a lack of awareness.

Secondly, bikeways help reduce congestion by getting people out of their cars and onto bicycles. As noted in the report, since 2000 the number of trips by bicycle in Chicago has tripled. More trips on bikes means fewer trips by motorized vehicles. Bikeways also streamline bicycle traffic into prescribed patterns that are more efficient. The net result is that bicycles on bikeways are on a dedicated space where the bicyclist is most safe. Protected bike lanes, in particular, provide a clear area for bicyclists. But overall any type of bikeway will result in a bicyclist being more comfortable on their ride.

This latest plan by the Active Transportation Alliance is another example of the strong leadership this advocacy organization exhibits. We applaud Active Trans on its continued great work.

Chicago Bicycle Attorneys and Advocates

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.