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Ride Illinois Raises Awareness to Combat Traffic Fatalities

Chicago downtown city street view at night with traffic lights.

Illinois has experienced an increase in fatal bicycle accidents in recent years. That includes a rise from 12 bicycle traffic fatalities in 2019 to 40 in 2023. Bicycle advocacy group Ride Illinois took notice of this alarming trend and recently launched the "Our Response to Fatal Crashes" campaign.

This critical initiative includes an interactive map of fatal bicycle crashes since 2018. It aims to raise statewide awareness, especially in areas with limited bicycle advocacy resources. Dave Simmons, executive director of Ride Illinois, leads the campaign. In an interview with Streetsblog Chicago, Simmons discusses the purpose of the campaign and the rising threat Illinois bicyclists face each day.

How Ride Illinois Raises Awareness Of Bicyclist Deaths

In a conversation with Sharon Hoyer, Simmons explains the power of visual data. Ride Illinois created its interactive map with five years of data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) dating back to 2018. Simmons imported the data into Google Maps, which showed that the alarming rise in bicyclist fatalities extended well beyond Chicago.

Ride Illinois doesn't just aim to raise awareness about bicyclist fatalities. The group also sheds light on the often-overlooked perspective of bicyclists. This includes examining media articles for victim blaming and other media biases against cyclists.

"Whatever data is captured in a crash report is the best we have. But we know there’s a story missing there. Through a little research, we might be able to fill some holes. And push back if there’s victim blaming," Simmons told Streetsblog.

Factual Representation Of Illinois Bicyclist Fatalities

According to Simmons, about 30% to 35% of bicyclist fatalities happen outside of the Chicago metro area. Coincidentally, 30% to 35% of Illinois residents live outside of the Chicago area.

To better represent this data, the campaign involves publishing charts and social media posts with each fatality. These efforts will focus on factual representation rather than each victim's personal details. This approach ensures respect for the affected families while still conveying the harsh reality of bicyclist fatalities across Illinois. The data compiled includes:

  • The gender and age of the bicyclist.
  • Motorist's details.
  • The vehicle involved.

Future Plans For Ride Illinois

Ride Illinois plans to use this data for deeper analysis and potential collaboration with academic researchers. This research could lead to targeted recommendations for policy changes and safety improvements. The campaign may also address pedestrian fatalities in the future, despite being primarily focused on bicycle safety. At the time of this writing, there have been 12 pedestrian fatalities across Illinois in 2024.

According to Simmons, Ride Illinois is charting new territory with this campaign. Simmons also seeks to make a significant impact across the broader spectrum of road safety, not just bicycle safety. This includes engaging communities, especially outside of Chicagoland, and pushing for policy changes.

We Hold Negligent Drivers Accountable And Fight For Injured Cyclists

If you've been injured in a bicycle accident, you deserve justice and accountability. Don't let the actions of a negligent or reckless driver turn your whole life upside down. Instead, protect your rights and seek legal help from an experienced bicycle accident attorney at Keating Law Offices in Chicago. Our team of dedicated bicycle accident lawyers will take an aggressive approach to handling your case. We'll ensure that every detail is meticulously investigated to build a strong claim and fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve.

We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a bicycle accident can take, and our goal is to ease that burden for you. In addition, we operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won't pay any attorney fees unless we win your case. Contact us online or call us at 833-CALL-KLO to schedule a free consultation.

Keating Law Offices is an official sponsor of Streetsblog Chicago.

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