Warm sunny days and cool evenings entice motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to get out and about during summer in Chicago, but the increase in activity can result in injuries and deaths if people aren’t careful. These tips can help residents and Chicagoland visitors stay safe whether they’re enjoying the weather on foot, riding a bike, or cruising the streets in their cars.
1. Surviving a Chicago Summer on Foot
Walking is a popular pass time in Chicago when the weather warms up, but it’s also dangerous. Pedestrian fatalities in the area are on the rise with 80 deaths in the first six months of 2018 – up from 67 during that same time the year before. Fortunately, there are things people can do to stay safe as they walk to their destinations.
Wearing bright clothing or carrying a flashlight when walking after dark can help pedestrians ensure they are seen by oncoming motorists. Avoiding distractions like cellphones, using crosswalks, and walking on sidewalks when available can also reduce a pedestrian’s chances of getting hit by a car.
Additionally, using extra care when walking in certain areas within the Central Business District can help keep people safe. Research suggests that pedestrians have a higher likelihood of getting injured when walking along Michigan or Chicago to Oak, Columbus, Fairbanks, or Water to Ontario, Canal or Jackson to Washington, and Jackson or Clark to Wabash.
2. Staying Safe While Riding a Bicycle in Chicago
Whether bicyclists are riding along Lake Michigan, commuting to work in downtown Chicago, or enjoying a ride through one of the city’s residential areas, bicycle injuries are a real risk. Dooring, distracted drivers, and dangerous road designs pose threats throughout Chicago.
To enjoy a safer ride and reduce the chances of getting hit by a car or knocked from a bike, bicyclists should make use of the city’s official bike map to plan their routes. The map highlights Chicago’s safest bike routes as well as the protected and unprotected bike lanes located throughout the city.
Additionally, avoiding the use of cellphones and other distractions, not using headphones while riding, and making sure to wear safety gear like helmets and protective clothing can make a big difference in bicycle safety.
3. Safety Tips As Scooters Roll In
Thousands of electric scooters recently hit the streets of Chicago and studies in other large cities are giving scooter riders an idea of what to expect when it comes to staying safe. Speeding is the biggest contributing factor to scooter accidents.
About 48% of scooter accidents involve head injuries. Approximately 15% of those are TBIs. About 70% of people suffer upper limb injuries, and almost half of people suffer injuries that are severe.
Chicagoans who decide to try their luck on electric scooters this summer can significantly reduce their risk of serious injuries simply by slowing down and wearing helmets and protective gear.
4. Reducing the Risk of Car Accidents
There were 255 fatality accidents and 3,170 incapacitating injury crashes in Cook County in 2016. Faster highway speeds, more people driving, and distracted drivers are the most common reasons accidents across the state have increased recently. Other common causes of crashes include impaired driving, fatigued driving, and defective automobile parts.
Drivers can reduce their risk of becoming hurt in a car crash in Chicago this summer by refraining from texting while driving, obeying speed limits, avoiding high-traffic areas, and making sure they are alert and sober when they get behind the wheel. Additionally, they should make sure to check their vehicles over before hitting the road and keep up with maintenance schedules between trips.
5. Boat Safety for Sultry Chicago Summers
As sailboats, jet skis, and other watercraft glides across Lake Michigan this summer, boaters need to remember to stay safe while cooling off. Intoxicated boaters, people swimming near their boats, distractions, and speed can quickly turn a lazy day at the lake into a traumatic experience.
To stay safe, boaters and other watercraft users should avoid alcohol or drug use, keep watch for swimmers and smaller watercraft, focus on the operation of the boat, and only travel at safe speeds.
6. Reducing Rideshare Injury Risk
Uber, Lyft, Via, and similar app-based transportation services are attractive choices for people in Chicago, but ridesharing has its risks.
People should be aware of intoxicated, fatigued, or reckless rideshare drivers and report them to the companies right away. And since fake rideshare drivers have been known to prey on people who are alone, especially if they appear intoxicated, it’s important for users to share rides with friends and be extra cautious when taking a ride after drinking.
7. Surviving Public Transportation in Chicago
While the ‘L’ is typically a safe way to get around in the city, even public transportation like this can be dangerous. In addition to slip and fall risks and the dangers of crashes, riders are at risk of getting injured in assaults or getting hurt by defective or poorly maintained equipment.
Staying safe while using public transportation in Chicago involves paying attention to surroundings more than anything. People should avoid traveling to more dangerous areas of the city, use caution when entering and exiting trains and buses, and avoid using handrails or stairs that appear to be poorly maintained.
8. Staying Safe While Visiting Chicago Attractions
Tourist areas like the Magnificent Mile, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and the Gold Coast are typically safe for pedestrians and motorists, but the increase in car and foot traffic during the summer can increase the risk of getting hurt.
To stay safe while visiting Chicago attractions, people should be aware of traffic congestion hazards like angry or aggressive drivers, site-seeing tourists who may be distracted, and increased criminal activity after dark.
9. Hotel Safety in Chicago
Chicago hotels have a duty to make sure their properties are safe for guests, but inadequate security, poorly maintained areas, and broken or faulty furnishings are still real risks.
To stay safe, hotel guests should avoid poorly lit areas. They should watch out for suspicious activity, be sure their lodging is located in a safe area, and avoid wandering into areas that are secluded. When equipment malfunctions or they notice spills or broken furnishings, they should report them right away.
10. Staying Safe While Shopping
Chicago has countless shopping opportunities for residents and visitors and warmer weather brings more people to the boutiques, malls, and even grocery stores to get out of the heat. Slippery floors, busy parking areas, and crowds, however, increase the risk of injuries.
To stay safe, shoppers should avoid distractions while out and about. They should pay attention to other people, vehicles, and dangerous property conditions whether they are looking for a close place to park, they are window shopping outside, or they are cooling off in the store.