Chicago lawmakers have taken steps to reduce the number of cyclist fatalities on city streets. In November 2019, the Chicago Sun-Times reported 1,940 cyclist and vehicle accidents in the city in 2018, compared with just over 1,300 in 2017.
While plans to invest in protected bike lanes remain pending, make sure you follow the traffic laws for cyclists to protect yourself from serious injury.
Where to ride
Bikers must share the road with motorists and abide by the same traffic regulations that apply to motor vehicles. The law prohibits riding on the sidewalk for cyclists who are older than 12, unless the sidewalk is part of a designated bike path. Cyclists on the roadway must travel single file unless riding two abreast does not slow the flow of traffic.
How to signal
You must use hand signals to let drivers and pedestrians know where your bike is going. Extend the left hand and arm horizontally to indicate a left turn. Extend the right hand and arm horizontally to indicate a right turn. If you plan to stop, extend either hand downward.
Outfitting your bike
All bikes must have a brake that allows you to stop on clean, flat, dry roadway. If you ride after dark, your bike must have a white front headlight that others can see from at least 500 feet away. Your bike must also have a rear red light or reflector visible from at least 200 feet away.
Passengers and cargo
If you ride a bike designed for just one person, you may not ride with a passenger unless he or she has a permanent and regular seat. You may not carry a package that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
Following these regulations can help you prevent a debilitating auto accident injury. Whether you ride a bike for fun or rely on two wheels to commute, you should review the traffic laws regularly.