For those who enjoy riding bicycles in and around the Chicago area, the streets remain a dangerous place in a world built for motor vehicles. Bicyclists face many hazards as they ride for fun and exercise or commute to and from work or school.
The trends for the safety of bikers show a mixed bag of good and bad over the recent past.
Some disappointing news
Information from Accuracy Advance states that bike injuries and deaths as the result of vehicle accidents continue to show a rising trend in the past decade. Data from a variety of sources indicates that biking incidents rose about 37 percent in the past ten years, with preventable injuries to bicyclists rising about 40 percent.
Though biking fatalities show some variation in recent years, the long-term trend remains higher than in the past. One disturbing fact shows that one-fourth of car/bike collisions resulting in death to the biker came from hit and run accidents.
Reasons postulated for the more dangerous roads include more incidents of distracted driving and greater incidents of speeding. The trend for bigger SUVs and trucks on the road also creates more dangers for bicyclists.
Some favorable news
Many municipalities and advocacy groups continue to work for improved bike safety. These measures include better biking infrastructure such as more biking lanes and bike trails. Many communities also fight for stronger laws to protect bikers.
In recent years, more and more people enjoy biking for reasons of safety, economy and health. Still, between 800 to 1,000 bicyclists die in motor vehicle accidents every year, and many more suffer painful injuries.