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Tips to help bicyclists safely share the road with automobiles

Many Chicagoans choose bicycles as a favored form of transportation. Bicycle riding is best done away from traffic, but often riders have no choice but to take roads used by automobiles.

Motorists should always be careful when approaching or passing those on bikes. But it is also in a bicyclist's best interest to ride safely. The following are some basic bicycle safety tips for riding near traffic:

  • Ride with the flow of traffic. Motorists pulling out of intersections or driveways may not expect a bicyclist who is riding against traffic.
  • Be aware of the three-foot rule. Bicyclists need to allow 3 feet of clearance between themselves and any vehicle they pass. Motorists should also grant 3 feet of clearance to bicycles while passing.
  • Stay to the far right side of the road, but 3 feet away from the curb. Staying to the right keeps you out of the path of traffic and staying 3 feet from the curb gives you room to avoid obstacles.
  • Obey all rules of the road. Bicyclists must adhere to applicable traffic laws, including obeying signs and signals.

Motorists and bicyclists have a shared responsibility for safety when both are on the road. But motorists hold a decided advantage when it comes to the size and power of their vehicles. This means that if an automobile should so much as tap a bicycle, the rider could be seriously injured.

Due to being physically exposed, a bicyclist who is struck by a car or truck could suffer injuries that require extensive and costly treatment. In such a case, the injured rider will likely need some form of financial compensation to cover medical expenses.

If you or one of your loved ones are ever harmed in an automobile-bicycle accident, you may wish to have a personal injury attorney look into the matter. The attorney could help determine and prove liability for the accident and act as your representative as you seek fair compensation.