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Toll-Free 866-264-7639

Chicago Injury Law Blog

It's important to follow these holiday driving tips

There is a very good chance you will find yourself on the road during the holiday season. It doesn't matter if you are visiting family in the local area or driving across the state or country, you need to remember one thing: Your safety and well-being should always come first.

Although there is no guaranteed way to avoid trouble on the road, there are some holiday driving tips you can use to your advantage. Here are several to keep in mind:

  • Never drink and drive - As tempted as you may be, you don't want to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel of your vehicle.
  • Get enough sleep before you hit the road - If you're taking a long road trip, make sure you get enough sleep before you depart. Neglecting to do so increases the likelihood of dozing off and causing an accident.
  • Inspect your vehicle - This may not be important if you're traveling locally, but if you're taking a road trip you need to make sure your vehicle is prepared.
  • Learn how to eliminate distractions - For example, you can put your cellphone in the glove box while you're driving. This will help you fight the urge to send a text message or check your email while you're behind the wheel.
  • Have a plan of action - In the event of an emergency or crash, be prepared and know what to do.

After a bicycle crash, do this

Riding a bike through Chicago can be thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. Dodging cars and pedestrians might be second nature to you already. Unfortunately, it does not take much to find yourself on the ground with a broken bone or two, some nasty road rash, and a bent bike frame. In reality, drivers tend to view cyclists as second class, with fewer rights to share the road. Even though the law says otherwise, many cyclists find themselves taking the blame after a collision with a vehicle.

The first moments after a bicycle accident with a car matter. What you say and do can have a huge impact on your claim against the person behind the wheel. Read further to find out more about what to do right after a bike accident with a car.

Safety tips for urban cyclists

Riding through Chicago, whether you are a commuter or just an avid cyclist, can be extremely dangerous. You probably find yourself dodging cars, pedestrians, and various other hazards on a regular basis. In reality, the dangers that come with cycling in the city are endless and avoiding every single one is near impossible. It you have not already sailed over your handle bars, you have more than likely come close.

As an urban cyclist, there are certain things you can do to reduce your risk of injury the next time you put wheels to pavement.

Prevent injury during an over-the-handlebars bike crash

One of the most common kinds of bike crashes involves getting the front tire caught on something, which sends the bicyclist over the handlebars. These over-the-handlebars bike accidents can also happen if a cyclist applies too much brake to the front tire.

If you're quick enough after an over-the-handlebars crash, you may be able to avoid injury.

Chicago-area bicycle door accidents are higher than ever

Bicycle "dooring accidents" happen when a motorist parked on the side of the road opens his or her car door as a bicyclist passes by. The door opens into the bicyclist's path and a serious collision happens.

Injuries associated with these accidents can be catastrophic, life-altering and deadly. These entirely preventable accidents are real dangers that Chicago bicyclists face daily when they take to the road. Earlier this year, a study revealed that dooring incidents have increased by 50 percent in the Chicago area.

What's a pedestrian's duty of care to avoid car crashes?

You've heard it many times before: Motor vehicles must yield to pedestrians and pedestrians have the right of way. It's because of these standards that Schaumburg residents have avoided many fatal and injurious accidents.

However, it's also because of these standards that many pedestrians mistakenly believe they have the automatic right to sue for damages in the event that they get hit by a car.

Prevent bicycle crashes by increasing your visibility

We know what you're thinking: "I don't want to put on a fluorescent yellow vest when I'm riding my bike. That's so uncool!"

But visibility is so essential to bicycle safety that we'd like you to reconsider your notion of style. Is it stylish to be bedridden for a month trying to recover from a traumatic brain injury that you could have avoided? Is it cool to suffer from a lifelong disability that you could have prevented if you had worn a silly reflective vest? The answer to these questions is clear. It's not cool or stylish to get hurt when you could have prevented a crash by increasing your visibility.

Dooring accidents can lead to serious and permanent injuries

Most people understand that there is an element of risk involved in any kind of travel. Getting into a motor vehicle comes with the risk of getting into a collision or experiencing mechanical failure while driving. Choosing to ride a motorcycle can mean a crash caused by someone who doesn't look for smaller vehicles. Bicyclists, especially those that bike in big cities, face particular risks and dangers.

One of the most serious and unique risks that bicyclists must watch out for is dooring. Dooring happens when a person in a motor vehicle opens the door of the vehicle into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, causing a collision. In some cases, it happens accidentally, but there have also been reports of people intentionally opening doors into oncoming bicycle traffic.

Things you should know about biking in Chicago

During the non-snowy months of the year, you can see people walking and bicycling all around the Chicago streets. Chicago was named the most bicycle-friendly city in the country by Bicycling magazine last year. There are a lot of good points the city has for people who choose to bike around Chicago.

If you are ready to head out and enjoy the city from the point of view of a bicyclist and get some exercise while you are doing this, make sure that you head out prepared.

Do you know what a Dutch Reach is?

Do you remember your parents teaching you to look both ways before crossing the road when you were a child? Do you remember your parents teaching you to let a dog sniff your hand before you pet it? These are common safety measures that get ingrained into our heads until they're habits when we're children.

In The Netherlands, they have an additional habit they teach their kids, and it would be a good idea for Americans to start teaching their kids the habit, too. It's called the "Dutch Reach" and although the term sounds a little funny, it saves the lives of bicyclists because it prevents dooring accidents.

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