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'Green Lanes' Aim to Reduce Chicago Bike Accident Rates

Riding a bicycle is a great way to save money on transportation costs while also getting good exercise and helping to protect the environment. Unfortunately, biking in Chicago isn't as safe as it should be, and vehicle injuries are all too common.

The city of Chicago is working with the federal government to help make bicycle commuting a safer option. It is one of six cities nationwide to pilot new bicycle "green lanes" that help get bikes out of the flow of traffic. These new bike lanes are separated from traffic lanes by poles, parked cars, plants or even just an open space.

The Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration hope that the new green lanes will increase safety and encourage more people to ride bikes. In an effort to facilitate safer alternative transportation options, the Federal Highway Administration has been revamping some of its guidelines to make projects like this easier to develop and implement.

Chicago Bike Safety

The green lanes will be a benefit to Chicago bicyclists and motorists alike.

Green lanes provide bicyclists with a better sense of security, which is especially important for people who are inexperienced with urban cycling. Motorists like the lanes because there is less stress when passing a bicyclist on the road. A lot of bicycle accidents happen because drivers either don't see the cyclist or don't know how to safely pass a bike. With green lanes, drivers can continue on their way without worrying about the person on the bike.

Hopefully, the new green lanes will help make Chicago's streets safer for everyone. However, they are still in a limited trial, so drivers need to remember to share the road and give cyclists the space they need to travel safely.

Source: Fast Lane, "Green Lane Project to Increase Safety and Put Motorists, Bicyclists at Ease," June 5, 2012.

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