Legislation would steer bicycle safety in right direction

SPRINGFIELD - SPRINGFIELD---Over the last two years in Illinois, nearly 30 people have been hit and killed while riding bicycles. Plus, thousands more injured. But lawmakers are hoping new legislation might keep riders a little safer.

Adam Berkley has been riding bikes for most of his life so getting a job at a bike shop came easy..

"I started in 2007 so we basically do everything and here we do repairs, sales," said Berkley.

But Berkley said riding a bicycle can get dangerous.

"Really the area around here really isn't bike-friendly and there is what we call the three foot rule which is we want to stay at least three feet from the riders."

In Fayette county Jason Hearty was riding his bike Monday when he was struck and killed by a car.

IDOT shows 27 bicycle deaths. And more than 3000 crashes and injuries in 2014. 

"That's the problem on the outskirts of town There's no shoulders on the side of the roads so it's really hard to get off the roads especially guys are on road bikes that are not made to go off road," said Berkley.

Emily Donley said she enjoys riding, but there are times she  fears for her safety.

"People not getting over far enough you know people not realizing that your car too and you deserve your space in the lane."

But lawmakers are looking at ways to strengthen safety.

A new proposal provides that every driver of a vehicle on a highway would yield the right-of-way to any person riding a bicycle.

"If more people get out in our commuting that would be really great because maybe people will get used to seeing more bikes around," said Donley.

In cities like Champaign there were 20 bike accidents and 19 led to injuries in 2014.

"It's not real surprising I mean I'm not surprised. It's more in cities that you hear people community more you hear more injuries," said Berkley.

Bikers said what the state really needs is more awareness.

"I don't necessarily think more rules I think more bike friendly bike lanes and wider areas for them to ride," said Berkley.

Bikers also advise people to wear protective gear. And to ride in bike lanes if there are any. Like cars, people who ride bicycles must obey the rules of the road.

We're digging deeper. When riding on streets or highways you must follow the same traffic laws, signs and signals that apply to drivers. Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic. And those driving are required by law to allow at least 3 feet of space between them and a bicyclist when passing.

 


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