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When on Two Feet or Two Wheels, Auto Accidents Can Be Catastrophic

In cities, growing suburbs, villages, and small towns across Illinois, more and more people are biking and walking in the face of rising fuel costs and the drive toward more eco-friendly means of transportation. Unfortunately, until infrastructure catches up with this trend, not every thoroughfare is pedestrian and bicycle friendly, putting those who forgo the car commute at a greater risk of being hit while on the road or in crosswalks.

Auto accidents involving bicyclists or pedestrians tend to result in serious—even catastrophic—injuries. When up against more than a ton of metal, the human body stands no chance. Some pedestrian and bicycle accidents are fatal, which begs the question of what can we do to increase the safety of biking and walking both immediately and long term.

This increasing safety risk is not lost on many suburban cities, towns, and villages. The village of Arlington Heights has taken steps to implement a revised Arlington Heights Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, which includes safety measures to reduce the risk pedestrians and bicyclists face. Neighboring areas like Palatine, Mount Prospect, and Buffalo Grove have taken similar steps.

The plan revision builds upon existing efforts to help the Village of Arlington Heights gain Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Bicyclists and make the entire village more walkable and less car-dependent. Steps such as mapping bikeways, implementing safer crosswalk beacons, increasing bicycle signage, and improving sidewalk safety are meant to reduce the risk of accidents.

Regardless of who has the right of way, pedestrians and bicyclists should always exercise extreme caution when on sidewalks or roads. Distracted motorists often fail to see pedestrians and bicyclists, and indeed this is a common contributing factor to accidents. To reduce your risk of getting in an accident, make sure you are visible at all times, and try to make eye contact with motorists when crossing the street. Many pedestrian and bicycle accidents result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities, so take appropriate precautions whenever near or on the road. And, as always, look, listen, and be aware no matter your mode of transportation.

If you’ve been in an accident as a pedestrian or bicyclist and were injured, speak with an experienced Arlington Heights pedestrian and bicycle accident attorney. If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you have a right to fair compensation for your losses. And we understand those losses could be substantial if you’ve been hit by a car. An attorney can help you determine who is liable and seek compensation for your losses.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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