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“Bike cams” capturing danger posed to bicyclists in Chicago

Posted On December 29, 2014
After an unusually cold winter in Chicago, spring is just around the corner. With the rise in temperature and the melting snow in sight, cyclists are itching to get back out on the road (at least those who did not brave the cold and snow and bike anyway). Bicyclists have reason to be excited. Last summer Chicago increased its number of bike lanes and added the bike sharing program “Divvy” to its city streets, which now has 400 bike stations across the city. Chicago is part of a growing movement that encourages bicycling even in urban environments for health and environmental reasons.

However, the increase in cycling has also led to an increase in pedestrian deaths and bicycle accidents the last several years, a trend that is only now starting to reverse.
As part of increased awareness of bike safety, some cyclists are turning to “bike cams,” which combine Chicago’s bicycling trend with its use of traffic safety cameras. These cameras, mounted on a bicyclist’s helmet or handlebars, document a cyclist’s commute in order to show hazards or the behavior of other motorists and pedestrians in the event of an accident. Video from a bike cam can be used after an accident to prove who is at fault – important to bicyclists who are injured by drivers in order that they can get help with medical expenses should they be injured.
Tom McNeff, owner of Sports Authority on LaSalle Street, told the Chicago Tribune that personal cameras for bicyclists are among his most popular sporting goods. The cameras are also used for recreational purposes, such as races and family outings. One popular maker sells devices that cost $200-400 per camera and capture hi-def images.
Bicycle safety groups offer encouraging news
Increased awareness of bicycle safety in Chicago and across the nation may account for some good news; the number of pedestrian deaths across the nation decreased for the first time since 2009, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. In addition, studies by the European Cyclists’ Federation has shown that there is “safety in numbers” – the more bicyclists a city has, the safer it is to bike in that city. Chicago’s recent boom in bicycle riders and bike availability may help improve bicycle awareness for Chicago drivers.
Bicycle accidents can lead to devastating injury. Bicyclists in Chicago who were injured in an accident – whether there is video of the accident or not – should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their legal options.

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