Chicago 1720887 1280 04/16/21

Bicycle Season in Chicago: 5 Tips on Sharing the Road

Chicago is one of the most bike-friendly cities in America. According to David Smith, manager of the City’s Department of Transportation bicycle program, Chicago’s Lakefront Trail is the busiest bike trail in the country. As summer approaches, more and more bicyclists will begin to hit the city’s trails— and the roads. Sharing the road safely is important for all users.

Bicyclists and drivers both have criticisms of the other. Bicyclists often feel invisible on the road. A cyclist’s biggest fear is getting “doored,”  when someone in a parked car opens their door in front of a bicyclist. It’s no surprise that with collisions involving a motor vehicle and bicycle, the cyclist overwhelmingly bears the brunt of the injuries.

On the other hand, drivers worry about cyclists breaking the rules of the road. New drivers are especially fearful of bikers, as some cyclists do not ride with the flow of traffic, do not obey traffic signals, and can act unpredictably.

Despite the concerns on both sides, both drivers and cyclists have the right to be on the road, which means it is up to both sides to follow the rules of the road and act responsibly. Here are five tips on how to best share the road and avoid a serious accident:

Tips for Sharing the Road

  • 1. Know your rights and responsibilities

Many drivers become aggravated when they see bicycles on the road. Drivers need to recognize that bicyclists have the right to be on the road. If you notice yourself becoming irritated, try imagining yourself, or a loved one, as the bicyclist. Imagine the difficulties you might face riding a bike on the road and proceed with caution.

On the other hand, when a bicyclist decides to ride on the road, he/she needs to act as if they were a car. Cyclists need to ride on the correct side of the road, with the flow of traffic. They also need to signal their moves and turns, stop at traffic lights and stop signs, and be visible. Just as cars must turn on their headlights at night, bicyclists should wear reflective clothing and/or attach a light to their bike.

  • 2. Work your way up to the road

While people may describe things that are easy “like riding a bike,” riding a bike through city traffic requires knowledge and skill. Just as new drivers don’t learn to drive on the highway, inexperienced or out-of-practice cyclists shouldn’t pick up their bike and cruise down Wacker Drive. Cyclists need to work their way up to riding alongside busy traffic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) suggests taking an on-bike class through your school, recreation department, local bike shop, or bike advocacy group.

  • 3. Allow plenty of space when passing a bicycle

If you’re driving a car and want to pass a bicyclist on the street, the NHTSA recommends that you treat the bicycle as if it were a car— only pass when you have enough space to move into the adjacent lane.        

  • 4. Avoid electronics

It is vitally important for both cyclists and drivers to remain fully focused on the road and avoid using electronics when operating their vehicle. In Illinois it is illegal for drivers and cyclists to use headphones, though the use of a bluetooth device or singular earbud is permitted.

  • 5. Drivers, look behind.

When turning right on red, drivers should not only look for oncoming traffic, but should look to the right and behind to avoid a collision with bicyclists approaching from the rear.


Following these recommendations will certainly help you avoid injury as a cyclist and avoid causing injury as a driver. But if you find yourself or a loved one injured in a collision involving a bicycle, contact McNabola Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

We offer a no-cost, no-pressure, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights

From our offices in downtown Chicago, our personal injury litigation attorneys represent clients in communities throughout Cook County and Illinois. Learn more about ways we can help you receive the compensation you need for your physical, mental, emotional and financial recovery. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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$14

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$12

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$10

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$10

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Trucking Negligence - A Cook County jury entered the verdict in favor of a 72-year-old grandmother rendered wheelchair-dependent after a car vs truck accident. The offer prior to trial was $3 million

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$9.8

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Automobile Negligence - A 72 year old woman was paralyzed following an automobile accident. The defendant turned into the plaintiff’s vehicle causing her to sustain a spinal fracture and dislocation at C6-C7 requiring a fusion. She is wheelchair dependent. The offer for settlement before jury trial was $4 million

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$9.2

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Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

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$6

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$5.8

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Automobile Negligence - A wheel assembly dislodged from the axel of a semi-trailer killing two seventeen year old boys.  McNabola Law Group represented the family members of one of the two boys. The extent of liability insurance coverage for both families was six million dollars.

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$5

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Construction Negligence - A 27 year old man’s legs were crushed causing below the knee amputations when a wall fell onto his legs after an employee cut a steel beam while demolishing a Union Pacific railroad bridge. $5 million was the extent of the insurance policy limit. This case concluded after it was set for jury trial. 

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$3.6

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Medical Negligence - A 12 year old girl was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes during a routine surgical procedure. Plaintiffs alleged the surgical residents mismanaged the young girl’s airway and negligently allowed her condition to deteriorate before attempting intubation at the bedside. Following a two week trial the jury awarded $3.6 million. The offer before jury trial was zero.

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$3

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Medical Negligence - A DuPage County record jury verdict for the family of a 5 day old baby who died when physicians failed to timely diagnose an obstructed bowel. The jury concluded physicians also delayed administering IV fluids, antibiotics and transfer to an institution with a pediatric surgeon available. The offer prior to trial was zero.

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Automobile Negligence - A 41 year old father and husband was killed instantly when the defendant ran a red light and hit his vehicle.

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Medical Negligence - A 42 year old high school teacher died of severe coronary atherosclerosis after a Chicago hospital failed to recognize or timely provide treatment for high cholesterol and hypertension.

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Construction Negligence - A 39 year old man sustained bilateral hip fractures, shoulder dislocation, and a torn rotator cuff during a fall from inadequate scaffolding at a construction site.

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Negligence - A railroad worker was injured when he was working underneath a train car. The train car moved resulting in injuries to his shoulder, knees, hip and neck. The accident was caused by miscommunication between employees and the company that managed railcar movements in the yard.

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Product Liability - A settlement against a furniture company in the case of a 3 year old who died when a poorly-constructed dining room chair toppled over. The front legs of the chair were one half inch longer than the back legs. The child suffered a seizure, became unconscious and died the next day at a Suburban hospital.

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Trucking Negligence - An 81 year-old woman was struck by semi-tractor trailer resulting in multiple fractures to her right femur, left tibia, left ankle and right hip. The defense had two witnesses who claimed the plaintiff walked into the back of the trailer while crossing mid-block outside the crosswalk. The case settled during jury trial. The offer before trial was zero.

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$1.7

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Automobile Negligence - A young man was driving on a highway when his vehicle was struck from behind by a sports utility vehicle. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his back which required surgery.

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Record High Jury Verdict - A college student suffered burns on her face, arms and chest in an incident at a campus bar at the University of Iowa. A bartender poured grain alcohol into the bar well and lit it on fire. The flames went out of control and into the crowd.  After a six-day jury trial, in Iowa City the jury returned a verdict in favor of the victim. According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the award is one of the largest in Johnson County history. The offer prior to jury trial was $200,000.

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Construction Negligence - A 37 year old mason was working on a construction site when a forklift struck a crossbar of the structural steel frame, dislodged unsecured concrete planks, and fell killing him instantly.

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$1.3

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Automobile Negligence - Three plaintiffs were in an automobile that struck and hit a construction barrel on I-94. The passengers took off their seat belts and one of the passengers exited the car. The defendant then struck the vehicle and the vehicle hit the passenger who exited the vehicle throwing her onto the CTA tracks. She suffered a brain bleed, fractures to her ribs, pelvis, tailbone, jaw and ankle. The plaintiffs that were in the car was ejected and died. There was a limited amount of insurance coverage.

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$1.1

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Medical Negligence - An 8 day old baby died on the operating table when the anesthesiologist improperly managed the baby’s anesthesia during the surgery. The anthologist failed to advise surgeons of the baby’s low blood pressure and abnormal blood gas readings.

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$1.1

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$1.1

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Construction Negligence - Plaintiff fell from a temporary staircase in his new home suffering a hip injury. Investigation of the staircase concluded it was not properly re-installed and secured after hardwood flooring was installed.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1

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Record High Settlement - After seven days of jury trial, the parties agreed to settle a work injury case involving a reflex sympathetic dystrophy injury to a 37 year old man. The plaintiff slipped on an unnatural accumulation of ice and water at the Bismark loading dock at Navy Pier, fracturing his right leg. The injury resulted caused RSD. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is the highest result on record for this type of injury. The offer before jury trial was zero.

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