Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
On most roadways, bicyclists (including those on electric bikes) have the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users. The following are important laws and safety tips regarding bicyclists:
- Bicyclists are prohibited on limited-access highways, expressways and certain other marked roadways.
- Bicyclists are required to travel in the same direction as vehicles.
- Bicyclists should travel just to the right of faster moving traffic. However, certain hazards such as rough surfaces, debris, drainage grates or a narrow traffic lane may require bike riders to move toward the center of the lane.
- Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist just as they would to another vehicle.
- When passing a bicyclist, motorists must do so slowly and leave at least three feet of passing space.
- Crowding or threatening a bicyclist is prohibited.
- A motorist should not park or drive in marked bicycle lanes.
- When following bicyclists, give them plenty of room and be prepared to stop quickly. Use extra caution during rainy and icy weather. At night do not use high beams when you see an oncoming bicycle rider.
- After parking and before opening vehicle doors, a motorist should first check for bicyclists.
- When a motorist is turning left and there is a bicyclist entering the intersection from the opposite direction, the driver should wait for the bicyclist to pass before making the turn. Also, if a motorist is sharing the left turn lane with a bicyclist, stay behind them until they have safely completed their turn.
- If a motorist is turning right and a bicyclist is approaching on the right, let the bicyclist go through the intersection first before making a right turn. Remember to always signal when turning.
- Low-speed electric or gas bicycles must have a motor of less than 1 horsepower and must be operated by a person who is at least age 16.
- Low-speed electric and gas bicycles may only be driven on streets and may not exceed 20 mph. They may not be driven on sidewalks.
- Low-speed and electric bicycles must follow all laws applicable to bicyclists.
Illinois in 2012:
- There were 29 bicyclists killed in traffic fatalities.
Nationally in 2012
- There were 726 bicyclists killed and 49,000 were injured. This is a 6% increase over 2011.
- Bicyclists deaths accounted for two percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.
- The average age of a bicyclist killed was 40.
- Individuals under age 15 accounted for 9% of all bicyclists killed and 20% of those injured in traffic crashes.
- Alcohol was involved in 37% of the bicyclist fatalities.
- 69% of bicycle deaths occurred in urban areas, and 58% occurred at non-intersection locations.
- Bicyclists fatalities are more likely to occur between the hours of 4 p.m. and 12 a.m.
- The fatality rate per capita was seven times higher for males than for females and the injury rate per capita is more than four times higher for males.
- Bicycle Rules of the Road
- Bike Safety Quiz
- Bicycle Safety Tips
- Bicycle Skills Course Instruction Manual
Drivers and pedestrians both are responsible for traffic safety. Drivers should always be prepared to yield the right-of-way and should not drive unnecessarily close to pedestrians.
When approaching a pedestrian with a disability who is utilizing a guide dog, a white cane, a wheelchair or other assistive device on a sidewalk or roadway, the pedestrian has the right-of-way and is granted the same rights as any pedestrian.
A driver must come to a complete stop (and yield):
- When a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk.
- On school days, when children are in close proximity to a school zone crosswalk. A driver must yield to a pedestrian.
- When a pedestrian is in an unmarked crosswalk on the driver's side of the roadway and there are no traffic control signals.
- When making a turn at any intersection.
- When making a lawful turn on a red light after coming to a complete stop.
- After coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or flashing red signal at an intersection.
- When a pedestrian enters a crosswalk before the traffic light changed.
- When a pedestrian is walking with a green light, to a walking person symbol or a walk signal.
- When a pedestrian is leaving or entering a street or highway from an alley, building, private road or driveway.
- When a pedestrian is entering an intersection with a flashing yellow arrow.
For more information, please see the Rules of the Road.
Illinois in 2012
There were 138 pedestrian fatalities in Illinois.
Nationally in 2012
- 4,743 pedestrians were killed and 76,000 injured in traffic crashes.
- An average of one pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 2 hours and one is injured every 7 minutes.
- Alcohol was involved (either for the driver or the pedestrian) in 48% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities. Of the pedestrians involved, 34% were intoxicated with a BAC of .08 or greater.
- Children age 15 and younger accounted for 6% of the pedestrian fatalities and older persons (age 65+) accounted for 20% of all pedestrian fatalities.
- 32% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in crashes between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m..