Has Chicago delivered on its plans for a safer biking network?

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For decades, Chicago has been a dangerous place for cyclists. The city knows this and has tried to address the problem several times. In 2012, it promised to make riding a bicycle safer for residents.

In 2020, the mayor and the Department of Transportation (DOT) addressed hazardous cycling with the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan.

The 2020 plan promises much

Once completed, the Streets for Cycling plan promises safer cycling with a 645-mile network of (on-street) bikeways. The safety plan also promises the following upon its completion.

  • Cycling accommodations within 1⁄2 mile of each resident
  • More bike pathways in populous neighborhoods
  • Increased infrastructure in high cycling areas
  • Improved infrastructure in areas with potential for high cycling

The DOT also plans to build more protected cycling lanes and redesign dangerous intersections to improve biking safety.

Speaking of dangerous intersections

The intersection of Milwaukee Avenue, known for its numerous hazards, and Kilbourn Avenue is the site of at least two fatal bike accidents. Have significant improvements been made to the intersection?

The Executive Director of Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance (and a biking enthusiast) doesn’t think so. She recently discussed some of the problems she sees when cycling on Milwaukee Avenue.

  • Damaged protective bollards
  • Vehicles blocking the bike path
  • Construction equipment blocking the lane
  • Insufficient room to avoid car door openings (in some areas)
  • Lack of biking infrastructure in the road’s high cycle neighborhoods
  • High school zone bike lanes that are clogged with numerous parked vehicles

As you can see, Chicago still has a long journey ahead before cycling is made safe in our city. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a bike accident, we recommend learning more about your options to acquire financial compensation.