There is no doubt that Chicago is a “bicycle friendly” city, with bicycle dedicated lanes on almost every major street. On warm weather days you will see dozens cyclists biking their way to work for their morning commute. Despite the biking lanes and Mayor Daley’s focus on making Chicago as biker friendly as possible, there are still hazards to bicycling around town. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation 15 cyclists have were killed in crashes between 2006 and 2008.
Chicago hosted its’ annual “silent ride” this week in the memory of area bicyclists who have been killed riding in Chicago.“It’s a celebration of these people’s lives,” said Elizabeth Adamczyck, the organizer of Chicago’s Ride of Silence. “It’s a celebration of this activity that we all love to do, of the fact that we’re all still out there doing this.”
The annual Chicago Ride of Silence was one of more than 310 such rides world-wide this year. Adamczyck said the event was as much about spreading the message of respectfully sharing the roadways as it was about remembrance.
“It’s important that we’re all there to make this stand,” Adamczyck said, “to ride in camaraderie with our fellow cyclists and to respect those who have gone before us. I like to think they’re looking down upon us and smiling saying, ‘Right on! Thanks for being there for me, and helping to advocate that those of us still alive have a right to share these roads.”
Below are safety tips for bicyclists from Mayor Daley’s Office:
- Before you pull over, put on your turn signal, then look over your shoulder to check for bicyclists. If you see any bicyclists, yield. Let them pass before you pull over.
- When you stop temporarily, put on your hazard lights so bicyclists know it’s safe to pass.
- To avoid a “dooring,” check over your shoulder for bicyclists before exiting your vehicle on the driver’s side.
- When bicyclists merge in front of you, let them in and don’t follow too closely.
- Don’t honk at a bicyclists unless it is a case of extreme danger.
- If you can, you should change lanes before passing bicyclists. Always slow down and pass them with at least three feet of space. Then wait until you can see them in your mirror before going back into the lane.
Avoid a drive-out. Before exiting an alley or driveway, stop, sound your horn, and look for bicyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk and street.
- When entering the bike lane to turn or parallel park, always:
- Yield to bicyclists.
- Use your turn signal.
- Pull all the way into the bike lane so bicyclists will pass on the left.
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