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Bicycle safety threatened on Illinois rural roads

Bicycle accidents can be very dangerous and often result in serious injuries and even fatalities for cyclists involved in these accidents. While many cities have started planning for cyclists by making bicycle lanes, rural roads can still be very hazardous for cycling.

In Illinois, more bicyclists are riding on rural roads because it allows them to ride without having to stop at intersections and traffic signals in the city. While many bicyclists enjoy the freedom of the open road, the increase in cyclists riding on rural roads has highlighted the risks of being in a bicycle accident.

Bicycle safety advocates say that more awareness is needed for cyclists on the road, including in rural settings. Cycling on a rural road can be very dangerous because vehicles travelling on these roads are often driving at higher speeds and if they hit a cyclist, he or she is likely to be seriously or fatally injured.

With the weather warming up and summer just around the corner, more bicyclists will be riding on rural roads in Illinois. Safety advocates are concerned that bicyclists are not as protected while riding on rural roads because there is less space for them to ride safely on the road. Even though state law requires motorists to slow down and give bicyclists at least three feet while passing, many motorists don't. This puts bicyclists at risk for being hit or involved in an accident.

In addition to drivers not following the rules of the road, bicyclists are also at an increased risk for being injured in a bicycle accident because rural roads do not have wider lanes with shoulders for them to ride on. This can make it difficult for bicyclists to try and move over when vehicles are passing because there is often gravel on the side of the road, which can be very hazardous for bicycles to ride on.

Bicyclists should be sure to take safety precautions while riding and always follow bicycle laws and rules. However, it is also up to motorists to make sure they are seeing bicycles on the road and following safety advice to make sure everyone stays safe on the road.

Source: Pantagraph, "Risks of the Road: Rural roads can be hazardous for cyclists," Mary Ann Ford, April 21, 2013

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