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Fall Bike Safety Tips

fall bike

As the leaves change and the temperatures drop, many jump on their bikes to explore the Northwest suburbs. You can see all of the Halloween decorations in your neighborhood. And you can experience the beautiful foliage in our state and county parks. But unfortunately, the change in weather can lead to more bicycle and pedestrian accidents.

[Read more…]

Bike Walk Education in Schools Act

Bike Walk Education

When previously discussing pedestrian accidents, we noted that children have a high risk of injury. Illinois crash data shows nearly five children are hit by people driving every day in Illinois while walking or biking within one block of a school. However, previously, Illinois had no requirement to educate children on how to bike and walk safely.

In 2018, the legislature introduced the Bike Walk Education in Schools Act (HB4799). It required school boards statewide to adopt policies for educating K-8 students about biking and walking safety. Then they would review/update these policies every two years. Schools boards determine how best to implement the requirement in their schools. Walking and biking safely helps kids get more physical activity, reducing the risk of obesity and promoting good overall health.

Governor Rauner signed the bill at the end of August. The law takes effect July 1, 2018. [Read more…]

New Driving Safety Laws Signed into Illinois Laws

Governor Bruce Rauner signed two new driving safety measure laws this month. The first cracks down on distracted driving. The second encourages motorists to watch for bikes. The new law will go into effect July 1, 2019.

Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.Under the current law, which took effect in 2014, first-time offenses were treated as non-moving violations while subsequent offenses were treated as moving violations. Therefore, starting next summer, people caught texting while driving become a moving violation that will go on their driving record – even if it’s their first offense.

In a statement, Secretary of State Jesse White said, “No driver should be texting while driving. With the increased use of technological devices, distracted driving has become a serious problem on the roads of our state and throughout the nation.”

Specifically, the new law makes the penalty $75 for a first offense. The subsequent fines include:

  • $100 for a second,
  • $125 for a third and
  • $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.

Dutch Reach Method of Opening Doors

The Dutch Reach encourages drivers and passengers to use the hand farthest from the door to reach across the body to open the door after parallel parking. This forces people who open motor vehicle doors to look back for cyclists and other traffic. According to the Active Transportation Alliance, this can help prevent sometimes-fatal “dooring” crashes. To reduce pedestrian accidents, educating the public on new measures can reduce injuries.
The lllinois Department of Transportation data shows dooring crashes on the rise across the state. Got example, in 2015, there were more than 300 reported in Chicago, a 50 percent increase from the previous year.

According to the new law, the Secretary of State shall include this method in the Illinois Rules of the Road publication. The publication will  advising drivers to use the Dutch Reach method when opening a vehicle door after parallel parking on a street. The method may appear on the written driving test concerning questions about safety.

In 2019, remember these two new driving safety measures.

 

How the Chicago Suburbs Help Pedestrians


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.

[Read more…]

Mount Prospect Pedestrians Crossing Study

Improvements at various crossings along Central Road in Mount Prospect could come to fruition. After several years of studies, the village wants to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. The village’s Strategic Plan has identified top priorities for pedestrian and bicyclist safety in high volume areas. The plans come two years after a Mount Prospect mother of five died after being hit in a Central Road crosswalk at Weller Lane. Since then, her husband launched a campaign focusing on crosswalk safety and design.

Last year, village staff participated in two safety engineering evaluations of the Central Road corridor from Arthur Avenue to Rand Road.

  1. One study was initiated by the village. It included an in-depth pedestrian safety analysis of the corridor by outside firm the Ciorba Group.
  2. The second study was a “Road Safety Review” of Central Road. The study was conducted by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). They analyzed roadway safety with an emphasis on pedestrian crossings.

[Read more…]

Pedestrian Car Accidents in Illinois

pedestrian accidents

Pedestrian accidents take place everyday in Chicago and the northwest suburbs. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the major urban areas in Illinois see the most accidents. In 2012, there were 4,930 pedestrian crashes. According to the Chicago’s Transpiration Department, pedestrian deaths have risen over the last five years. Experts say several reasons could be the rise of vehicles on the roads, high speed vehicles, and distractions from electronic devices from both the drivers and the pedestrians. The Center for Disease Control focuses on preventative measures to decrease these numbers. CDC has introduced programs pedestrians can use to keep themselves safe from injury in a pedestrian accident.

Age Statistics

In Illinois, the majority of the pedestrians involved in accidents are children or high school age children. In Chicago, it was reported in 2011, children’s ages 5 to 14 were the second highest group for pedestrian crashes in the city. From 2005 through 2009 the number of crashes involving children (ages 8-18 years old) decreased by 28%, from 964 to 698.

Gender Statistics

Also, mens are 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash then females. In Chicago,  52% of all pedestrian crashes and 54% of fatal and serious injury crashes involve men. Lastly, the main age group for males in accidents are 0-14 years, which makes up the largest population to be involved in pedestrian crashes.

When Do Pedestrian Accidents Take Place?

As reported in the City of Chicago 2011 pedestrian crash analysis, 17% of all crashes occurred on a Thursday, which according to several studies is the worst traffic day. The crashes include fatal and serious injury crashes. However, Saturday showed to have the fewest accidents. Crashes that take place in the late evenings on weekends typically involve age groups 19 to 29-year-old.

For example, most crashes occur from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for all age groups except for seniors. Seniors are most likely to be in an accident mid-day.

Where Do Pedestrian Accidents Take Place?

With this in mind, the Chicago Tribune states that the city has put out “Vision Zero” to decrease the chances of traffic deaths and crashes. The city plans to push for safety education mainly focusing on high-crash areas such as low-income neighborhoods on the south and west sides.

At any rate, pedestrian accidents lead to the most fatal to a pedestrian. A distracted driver or a distracted pedestrian could both lead to accidents causing injury to both parties. Some actions that may lead to collisions between vehicles and pedestrians include:

  • Speeding
  • Talking or texting on a cell phone
  • Running a red light
  • A distracted pedestrian stepping in front of a vehicle
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign

Such accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death. For example, some of the injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Scrapes and bruise
  • Head injury
  • Dislocated joints
  • Back and neck injuries

Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in a pedestrian involved accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

Summer Pedestrian Accidents

At some point in one’s life, everyone is a pedestrian. However, on average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes. (Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, April 2014). Injuries suffered in accidents include car accidents, road construction accidents and pedestrian vehicle collisions.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety has become a priority issue for the Department of Transportation. It has lead the Department to introduce initiatives to make roads safe for everyone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) continuously work to raise awareness about the dangers to by moving vehicles. NHTSA provides some preventative measures to reduce pedestrian crashes.

Prepared Before Walking

A pedestrian should always wear clothes or materials that are visible to others whether its day or night. Bright color cloths help drivers slowdown from a distance. During the night, pedestrians should wear lights (white in front – red in the rear, just like a car). Before walking, plan a safe route. Walk near light traffics and  where vehicles move at low speeds. If possible, the pedestrians should separate themselves from traffic and use the sidewalks, paths or barriers.

Know the Rules

A driver should know all the rules and regulations of the road. Following the rules and laws not only keeps the pedestrian safe but also the driver. Laws and regulations are made to create a system so pedestrians or drivers can safely share the road without the fear of an accident.

Rules for pedestrians are:

  • To walk on the sidewalks, if there are no sidewalks, then walk as far to the left of the road and always face the traffic.
  • Look in all direction for traffic before crossing a driveway or road.
  • Cross in marked crosswalks, corners or at intersections. It can be inherently dangerous to disobey the law and walk past cars on a road.
  •  Obey pedestrian crossing signals.
  • Always look left and right for traffic while crossing and be prepared to get out of the way if a driver doesn’t see you.

Look for Traffic

When walking on the same road as cars or crossing the road with traffic, expect others not to see you. It is possible that some drivers may be distracted while driving. Do not step on the road until the driver has come to a complete stop or when the driver has acknowledged your intent to cross the road with a nod, waive or eye contact.

Walk Defensively

Pedestrians should always stay focused and alert. There is a greater chance of injury for a pedestrian then a driver in an accident. While walking and especially while crossing the road, pedestrians should avoid texting, listening to music, or anything that that may cause the pedestrians attention to divert somewhere other than the road. Drivers should be given extra time to slow down and come to a complete stop before pedestrians begin walking. During poor weather (ice, snow, rain) and during low visibility (dusk, dawn, for or night) pedestrians should be extra alert. Just because you see others doesn’t mean they see you.

Awareness

Know the causes of pedestrian-vehicle crashes. Being aware of the problem and the common types of crashes between pedestrians and vehicles can help pedestrians take causation to protect themselves.

If you or a loved one has been injured and need help with an insurance claim, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf.

Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

Children Pedestrians: Teach Your Kids How to Walk Safely

The daughter of Broadway actress Ruthie Ann Miles’ 4-year-old daughter Abigail Blumenstein died when a driver allegedly suffered a medical condition, lost control of her car and sped through a crowded crosswalk. Tragically, the family followed all of the safety rules that one takes when they walk on a crowded crosswalk.

However, although some tragic events occur, you need to teach your children how to safely walk so minimize any potential accidents. In 2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.

How to Walk Safely

Safe Kids Worldwide recommends these seven safety tips for children pedestrians:

• Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking around until safely across.
• Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
• Teach kids to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
• Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult.
• Encourage kids to stay alert for cars that are turning or backing up.
• Teach kids not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
• If kids are walking when it’s dark out, teach them to be especially alert and make sure they are visible to drivers. Have them wear light- or brightly-colored clothing and reflective gear.

Eliminating Distractions for Children Pedestrians

Distracted driving continues to be a major issue for driver. However, distracted walking can also lead to accidents. On average, cars hit 44 kids per day while they walk. And many of these kids have headphones on. Teach your kids to put the phones down as they cross the street. Additionally, if they want to listen to music as they walk, make sure they have a volume setting that allows them to hear the sounds of the roads. Ideally, they will listen to only the sounds of the birds as they walk instead of anything that will distract them.

But most likely, act like the pedestrian you want them to be. If you walk, leave your phone at home. Set the example for your children pedestrians. As you drive, do not use your cell phone or any other distracting device.

It will keep your safe as you travel. But it also will provide your kids with the role model for their own safety.

If you or a loved one has been injured and need help after an accident occurred while you walked, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf.

Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

About the Firm


Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron

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