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Only 2 cities have worse traffic than Chicago

Whether you're walking, driving or riding your bike, you feel like the Chicago traffic just works against you constantly. At rush hour, far too many cars pack the streets, leading to traffic jams and road rage. When tourists come to town, they cause havoc trying to find their way. You also see far too many distracted, reckless and aggressive drivers -- three types of drivers who tend to cause a lot of car accidents.

Is it just you, or does everyone feel this way? Is the traffic really that bad?

What do people do before getting out of the car?

You're riding down the street, in the bike lane. Cars line the road. You know the risk of getting doored, so you've been keeping an eye on the cars. As long as you have looked down the street, no new cars have parked. You figure they're all empty.

Then, without warning, a man swings his door open and steps into the street. Maybe you hit the door. Maybe you swerve to avoid it and get hit by a car in the street. Either way, you wind up in the hospital. You have serious spinal cord injuries and may never ride -- or walk -- again.

Can you ride a fat bike in the snow?

Do you wish you could keep riding your bike all winter long? Maybe your reasoning is simple: You use your bike for transportation. You don't own a car. This is how you get to work in Chicago. It's not just a hobby that you do in your spare time. You are a cyclist because it's the best way to get around the city.

The good news is that even snow and ice do not have to prevent you from riding your bike. You can ride a fat bike -- essentially a mountain bike with wider tires -- regardless of the weather.

Common causes of pedestrian-vehicle accidents

You don't have to spend much time in Chicago to realize that there are pedestrians everywhere. From people walking to and from work to those bicycling for leisure, Chicago is one of those cities where many people understand the benefits of alternative transportation.

As a pedestrian, it's critical to understand the most common causes of accidents, as this knowledge can help prevent serious trouble. Here are some of the most common mistakes that drivers make:

  • Distracted driving: Imagine a situation in which a driver is texting while entering a crowded intersection. This could lead them to lose track of pedestrians, thus greatly increasing the risk of an accident.
  • Speeding: Any time a driver operates their vehicle in excess of the speed limit there's a greater chance of an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian.
  • Failure to yield to pedestrians: Drivers are required by law to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but this doesn't always happen. Maybe a driver is in a hurry so they attempt to rush through a busy crosswalk. Or maybe they're not paying attention and do so unknowingly. Either way, it puts all pedestrians at risk.
  • Driving under the influence: Drugs and/or alcohol impair a driver's ability to obey the rules of the road and make sound decisions.
  • Failure to alter driving style based on weather conditions: For instance, during the winter months there will be times when there is snow or ice on the ground. If a driver doesn't slow down in these conditions, they're at greater risk of losing control of their vehicle.

How fast does food poisoning hit?

You go out to eat with your friends. The night itself goes well. You all park your bikes outside of a little deli. You get pretty quick service. You have great conversations as you sit and eat together. The food tastes great at the time and you have no idea that anything is wrong.

The truth, though, is that you got contaminated food. The great flavor covered it up, but you still wind up with food poisoning. How fast is that going to hit?

Special risks to consider when cycling in the Chicago winter

For many passionate cyclists, getting on their bike is not something they stop wanting to do just because the weather gets rather chilly. Avid cyclists will try to continue engaging in their sport of choice regardless of weather factors, even in a city known for its blustery winters like Chicago.

While there will certainly be bitterly cold days that will deter the most avid cyclist, quite a few people will find their way onto Chicago streets with their bikes regardless of the weather outside. Cyclists are often dedicated to their sport, whether they do it for health or environmental reasons.

Contaminated food at restaurants can leave people very ill

Sitting down to enjoy a hot meal prepared by professional cooks should be an enjoyable and relaxing experience. You pay a premium compared to what it would cost for you to make a similar meal at home for both the convenience of having someone else prepare the food and perhaps the unique flavors or extra skill that the cooks bring to the table.

Unfortunately, sometimes when you pay for a meal at a restaurant, you get more than you bargained for. Some people bring home unfortunate pathogenic souvenirs when they go to a restaurant. Dangerous bacteria and even viruses like hepatitis can pass through contaminated food. Individuals who get sick due to contaminated food are said to suffer from food poisoning.

Drivers don't respect cyclists

Is the conflict between drivers and cyclists ever going to end? Sometimes, it feels like the two are always at odds. It comes down to motorists and cyclists finding it impossible to share the same space. Part of the reason is that many drivers simply do not respect cyclists.

Why does respect matter? It changes the way people act. Many drivers don't really think about cyclists as other people. Instead, they think of them as a nuisance. They think of a college student riding his bike through the city as someone who needs to grow up and buy a car or get off of the road. This type of thinking -- putting people into faceless groups -- often breeds resentment and makes people feel more justified in their aggressive actions toward that group.

Should you ride your bike at night?

You don't only use your bike as a hobby or a way to stay in shape. It's your main mode of transportation. That means that you're not just riding it to work or pedaling around on the weekends. You're riding all the time. But you're not sure if you should ride after dark.

Say you go to a friend's house for the evening. You eat, drink, watch a movie and then head back to your apartment. You rode there, so you don't want to take an Uber and have to come back and pick your bike up the next day. Should you ride home at night? Why does it seem so frightening, compared to riding during the day?

Strava shows that people ride bikes more than they run

Certainly, many athletes enjoy both running and cycling. There is a reason that triathlons are so popular all over the world. Even people who do not compete often like to use both activities to mix things up and work on different muscle groups.

That said, you definitely have a lot of enthusiasts who pick one or the other. They log hundreds or even thousands of miles cycling or pounding the pavement. They join races, they go out with friends, and they work out on their own. But which one is more popular?

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