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In 2015, a 68-year old man, Dennis Jurs, was tragically killed while driving his bicycle in Hampshire, Illinois. In spite of the fact that the driver who hit him had a stop sign and Dennis did not, a Kane County judge dismissed the ticket against the driver because Dennis was not driving a "vehicle" as defined by the Illinois Vehicle Code. In essence, the driver did not have to yield the right-of-way to a bicycle, only to a vehicle.

Dennis Jurs was one of many bicyclists injured or killed each year. In 2014, 726 people lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes, equal to just under 2 people every day. In the same year, approximately 50,000 people were injured in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes.

In reaction to Dennis' tragic death, Dennis' Law came to being. This new law, which will take effect January 1, 2017, assigns the same right-of-way privileges to cyclists that are currently enjoyed by motorists. To read the government decision click here. Simply put, Dennis' Law grants all of the rights enjoyed by drivers of motor vehicles to cyclists.

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Posted on in Bicycle Accidents

In an attempt to reduce vehicle emissions and make their cities more accessible, many municipalities have created designated bike lanes for the exclusive use of bicycle traffic. Chicago is no different. Indeed, Milwaukee Avenue may serve as one of the greatest examples of this endeavor.

Unfortunately, sometimes green can be quite mean. On Tuesday, August 16, 2016, Lisa Kuivinen, a 20-year-old student of the Art Institute, died while riding her bike in just such a lane.

According to Chicago police, just prior to the accident a semi-truck moved from the traffic lane into the bike lane and ran over the young student. The driver of the truck was issued citations for driving in the bike lane and failure to keep a proper lookout for the cyclist.

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Whether 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:

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