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Kane County Bicycle Safety Plan and Personal Injury Prevention

Casey Woodruff

bike laneWhether you are riding a bicycle on city streets or trails in the cities of Kane County, are you at risk of a preventable bicycle accident? Several years ago, Kane County put together a bicycle and pedestrian safety plan aimed at preventing accidents and personal injuries. But has the plan worked? Or do we need to think more carefully about issues of bicycle safety in St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva, and other parts of the Chicago metropolitan area?

Population Growth in Kane County and the Impact on Bicycle Safety Plans

In the last few years, the population of Kane County (and other counties in the Chicago metropolitan region) has grown in size, and initial plans for bicycle safety may not have been sufficient to address the needs of growing cities. Yet, as the plan explains, “as areas continue to develop, roadway planning and improvements must keep pace with residential and commercial growth.” And given Kane County’s stated commitment to its residents, “proper planning is critical to ensure that developments and the roadways that serve them are as bicycle and pedestrian friendly as possible.”

What are the ultimate objectives of the bicycle and pedestrian plan? Its aims are to provide materials and spaces not only for residents who want to cycle safely, but also for county officials who will monitor the efficacy of bicycle safety initiatives. Some of the aims include but are not limited to:

  • Provide a published bicycle and pedestrian plan to identify current bicycle facilities and to continue coordinating the growth of a safe system for bicycling in Kane County;
  • Identify funding programs to help develop spaces for safe bicycling as well as safety awareness programs;
  • Publish a “bikeways map” that identifies the current bikeway system in Kane County for residents to use;
  • Coordinate education and awareness programs about bicycle and pedestrian safety standards to promote safer cycling in the area;
  • Create a system for implementing way-finding signs for cyclists and pedestrians;
  • Improve designs for roadways crossings and intersections; and
  • Develop a county-wide system for identifying bicycle facility needs and plans.

Given that the plan initially was developed in 2002 and then readdressed in 2011, we can ask ourselves: how well has Kane County addressed bicycle safety needs in the last five years?

Bicycle Safety Tips

In short, statistics suggest that Kane County may need to do more to keep its residents safe from preventable bicycle accidents and injuries. For instance, an article in the Chicago Tribune indicated that the total number of accidents in this area actually rose a couple of years after the county released its safety plan, suggesting that safety initiatives might not be having the impact that many of us would hope. What can you do to help ensure your own safety? A fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends some of the following safety tips for cyclists:

  • Wear a helmet;
  • Wear fluorescent clothing even during the daytime;
  • Wear retro-reflective clothing at night; and
  • Install active lighting on your bicycle.

Contact a St. Charles Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered serious personal injuries in a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer in St. Charles can help with your case. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today to learn more about filing a claim for financial compensation.

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