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Chicago Cycling Laws

Chicago Cycling LawsWhen bicyclist ride on the road, they are subject to many of the same laws and regulations as motor vehicles. However, there are certain laws that pertain specifically to bicyclists. In addition, there are laws regarding driving on the road with bicycles that motorists must obey. In Chicago, many of these cycling laws are in place to prevent traffic accidents and to protect bicyclists from injury. It is often when these laws are ignored that accidents occur, causing serious injuries to bicyclists.

Chicago Cycling Laws Pertaining To Protect Riders

For the most part, the Chicago Municipal Code regarding laws pertaining to bicyclists are simple; they must follow the rules of the road, which is stated in ordinance 9-52-010 a,b,c and d, or be subject to a penalty. However, there are certain other laws that target bicyclists to prevent accidents on the road in Chicago.

  • 9-52-060. Cyclists must not carry items while riding that prevents them from holding on to the handlebars with at least one hand.
  • 9-52-080. Night riders must have a front headlight and rear red reflector or red light.
  • 9-52-110. Texting or talking on a cell phone while riding a bike is prohibited.
  • 9-52-050. Bicyclist should ride single file when on roadways, unless they are not impeding traffic.

Chicago Cycling Laws Pertaining To Motorists

Many of the City of Chicago traffic laws regarding bicycles to prevent accidents are for motorists. Since bicyclist are more vulnerable, Chicago Municipal Code puts emphasis on the motorist’s responsibility to not endanger cyclists. Breaking these laws not only can mean penalties for drivers, it can also help prove liability in a bicycle accident injury case.

  • 9-16-020 e. Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists traveling the opposite direction  when making a left hand turn. This includes bicycles that are in or approaching an intersection.
  • 9-36-020 f. When making a right turn (look here for information on right turn bike accidents), motorists must not turn in front of a bicyclist that is traveling in the same direction.
  • 9-36-010 c. Motorists must give at least three feet of clearance when passing a bicycle in the same direction and maintain that clearance until they safely have passed the bicycle. (see bicycle sideswipe information here)
  • 9-40-060. Motorists should never park, drive or stand in a designated bike lane.
  • 9-40-160. Motorists need to use due care to avoid crashing into a bicyclist.
  • 9-80-035. It is illegal to open a vehicle door into oncoming traffic unless it is safe to do so and only to load or unload passengers. This is referred to as causing a “dooring” accident. (see page here for additional information on these accidents)

Drivers who violate any of these Chicago city ordinances can be facing penalties of up to $500. These laws are put in place to prevent accidents on Chicago streets and keep the roads safe for bicyclists. If an accident does occur and a motorist was violating any of these ordinances, it may help determine fault or liability for injuries to the cyclist.

The goal is to make the streets of Chicago safe for bicyclists and motorists who share the same roadways. These laws are there to protect bicyclists as well as motorists from accidents that can cause serious injury and financial damage to both parties.

Were you injured in a Chicago bicycle accident?

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has helped hundreds of bicyclists injured on Chicago streets as well as in other areas of Illinois. Our office is second-to-none when it comes to getting injured cyclists the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Call or complete this on-line case intake form for a free review of you bike accident case.

For more information about laws applicable to Chicago cyclists:

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