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.
Stay out of the door zone
Do you know someone that has been in a dooring accident? Have you had a dooring experience yourself? If so, then you know that one of the worst places you can ride is in the door zone. Whenever possible, leave a door length between you and any stopped cars. You never know when a driver or a passenger is going to suddenly open a car door right into your path. If you do not have any other option but to enter the door zone, pay close attention to brake lights, the movements of drivers and passengers inside the cars, and vacancy lights on cabs. These could indicate that a dooring is possible and it is up to you to be proactive if you want to avoid a bicycle accident.
Watch for the right hook
If you are riding on the shoulder and traffic is on your left, you could become a victim of a right hook at an intersection. This happens when a car on your left moves ahead and suddenly decides to make a right turn directly across your path. To avoid this, you can merge into the lane when you are approaching an intersection and be sure you are not between a car and the corner. Also, watch what is happening over your left shoulder.
When it comes to making your intentions clear, use exaggerated hand signals and other body language. When you are going to make a turn or lane change, it is not the time to be subtle. Do everything you can to attract the attention of drivers and pedestrians alike.
When you are riding in the city, you will face many dangers. Unfortunately, there might be a time when, no matter what you do, a distracted driver does not see you. If this happens, it is important to remember that you have rights and options available to recoup your losses.
If you have suffered injuries in a bicycle accident, you may be able to claim compensation. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.