A nonprofit group that advocates on behalf of cyclists has named Chicago as one of the most dangerous cities in the country to travel by bicycle. PeopleForBikes awards towns and cities a score of between one and five based on the amount of planned and built bicycle infrastructure and the level of commitment among civic leaders to improve ridership. The Windy City earned a score of only 1.7 in 2020, which was below the 2.0 score it was awarded in 2019. When asked to explain the drop, a PFB representative said that the group made a mistake in 2019 because researchers mistakenly believed that the speed limit in residential areas of Illinois was 25 mph and not 30 mph.
CDOT representative responds
When he was asked about the low PFB score, a Chicago Department of Transportation representative questioned the group’s methodology and pointed out that the city has invested heavily in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as part of its Vision Zero initiative. He mentioned the 30 miles of bicycle lanes installed in Chicago in 2020 and a pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Lincoln Village that opened in November. He also said that the CDOT is committed to reducing the residential speed limit.
Community pleas ignored
While city officials are quick to respond to reports like the one released by the PFB, they seem less willing to take action when members of the public and local leaders raise concerns about road safety. When a 37-year-old woman was struck and killed by a dump truck while cycling in Irving Park in November 2020, community residents and a city alderman asked CDOT to repaint the faded bicycle lane markings on North Milwaukee Avenue. According to media reports, the markings were still faded and difficult for drivers to see six months after the accident.
Bicycle accident lawsuits
When fatal bicycle accidents are caused by speeding, impaired or reckless drivers, the victim’s dependent family members may seek compensation by filing wrongful death lawsuits. When pursuing this type of litigation, experienced personal injury attorneys could seek damages to cover their client’s lost income as well as expenses they faced like hospital bills and funeral costs.