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How the Chicago Suburbs Help Pedestrians

250 fatal accidents and 9,290 serious injuries have occurred between 2012 and 2015 in accidents involving a suburban vehicle and a pedestrian or bicyclist.  In 2015, fatal collisions among pedestrians or cyclist and vehicles rose  14% according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

How Bensenville and Elk Grove Village Reacted

Bensenville experienced 11 crashes among vehicle and bicyclist or pedestrian. Among those accidents, an 86-year-old pedestrian, Modesta De La Rosa was involved in a collision with a pickup truck. The driver did not see her and therefore could not stop in time.

Bensenville decided to act and to create a series of paths along the roads. These paths could be used by pedestrians and bicyclists. The town will build these paths alongside the streets to give pedestrians and bikers space to walk or ride their bikes without the fear of getting too close to the vehicles. The bike path also helps vehicle drivers. It will comfort them by showing that  pedestrians and bikers have their own lane. The goal is to decrease the chances of sharing the same road.

After Roseleen Water’s unfortunate death in 2013, Elk Grove Village decided to erect a bridge over the high-speed road. She died after a fatal accident on Higgins Road. They designed the bridge to prevent other crashes and provide pedestrians and cyclist the freedom to cross to the other side safely.

Overall, in the past few years, many other suburbs have built and plan to build similar paths. Current plans across the region over 4,000 miles of trials and paths. Overall, safety for the pedestrians and bikers have become high priority for the suburbs.

Cost of implementing the bike plan

Des Plaines River Trail system in Lake County has estimated its cost to construct a pathway for pedestrians and cyclist totaling $350,000 a mile without including the land acquisition.

The pedestrian and cyclist pathway created over Higgins Road near Elk Grove Village after the death of Roseleen Waters cost $2.7 million. However, the bridge project received $2.2 million in federal funds. The bridge had brought some comfort to those who did not want another accident due to poor system for pedestrians and cyclist in the city.

Pedestrian’s right of way

In a recent Daily Herald article, Tom Lucas of Hoffman Estates shared his story of the precautions he takes. As a part of the Bike Palatine Club, he leads a group of cyclists through the suburbs. On one recent trip, a distracted driver on their phone exited a mall they rode past. Tom recalls that if he did not yell for everyone to stop, the driver could have severally injured his fellow cyclists. That driver failed to look in either direction when they began their exit.

However, in that same article, John Behof took the side of the drivers. He blamed some of the cyclists who try to weave trough traffic expecting the cars to stop. He also noted that some fail to follow the rules of the road.

Overall. cars are highly dangerous in these situations because a driver may not see a cyclist coming. Therefore they would not have enough time to stop. And this may cause serious accident. Unfortunately, due to the speed and size of the car, if someone gets seriously injured, the cyclist would come out in worst shape.

As a cyclist or driver, stay safe by always paying attention to your surroundings. Always follow the laws of the road.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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