Meet Chicago’s SAFE Ambassadors

Chicago’s SAFE AmbassadorsChicago’s SAFE (Streets Are For Everybody) Ambassadors program is taking on the responsibility of teaching Chicagoans how to bike, walk, take public transportation, ride scooters, and drive in a safe manner. This is an excellent program, which is part of the safety education and engagement team at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). The overall goal of the SAFE Ambassadors is to educate and engage residents of all ages and ensure that everyone remains safe while getting to and from places via their chosen form of transportation.

How is the SAFE Ambassadors program making a difference?

The Chicago SAFE Ambassadors program works hard to create various activities, resources, and approaches to address concerns and needs throughout the communities. Here are four ways the program made a difference in 2023:

  1. Bike Chicago: Bike Chicago is one of the most successful initiatives developed by the SAFE Ambassadors program. The goal of this initiative is to provide 5,000 bicycles to residents of certain ages and incomes by 2026. The SAFE Ambassadors set up in-person events to educate Chicagoans on bicycle safety and provided brand-new bicycles to many participants. There were nine events held in 2023 with over 1,1000 bikes distributed. The SAFE Ambassadors program also conducted several Zoom meetings to help people learn how to choose the right helmet, perform safety checks on their bicycles, and be aware of cycling infrastructure around the city.
  2. Engagement with new arrivals: Chicago gained a lot of new arrivals from other countries in 2023. To assist these residents, the SAFE Ambassadors program offered education on how to access specific services that they may need. Some of the most common topics discussed at these events included road rules for motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists, how to own a vehicle, safe bicycling habits, and the city’s infrastructure. At the end of the summer, the program began working with five of Chicago’s homeless shelters in hopes of increasing mobility options for the new arrivals.
  3. Kids Learn to Ride: The Junior Ambassadors, part of the SAFE Ambassadors program, held 30 “Kids Learn to Ride” events across the city in 2023. At these events, over 100 children were present and eager to learn how to ride bicycles. The objective of these events is to encourage “independence, presence of mind, and confidence.”
  4. Chicago Mobility Collaborative: Finally, the team behind the SAFE Ambassadors program started improving the outreach efforts of the Chicago Mobility Collaborative (CMC), “CDOT’s largest public forum related to walking, biking, transit, public spaces, mobility justice, and accessibility.” The SAFE Ambassadors educated participants about the program and fostered engagement with CDOT’s representatives.

The SAFE Ambassadors program broke records in 2023 compared to previous years. In 2024, the program plans to continue raising awareness, campaigning, developing projects, conducting classes and events, and informing the public about how to remain safe while using various modes of transportation, especially biking. However, one of its newest goals is to expand its online presence and reach more people by developing video and photo content, posting on social media, and forming new connections.

How dangerous are bicycle accidents in Chicago?

Bicycle accidents can be extremely dangerous in Chicago. Chicago’s busy streets mean that it is not uncommon for bicycle accidents to involve motorists or pedestrians. Since bicycles do not have any shield to protect cyclists, injuries are often severe or even life-threatening.

As a bicyclist, it is crucial to wear a helmet, gloves, closed-toe shoes, padded clothing, and reflective gear. However, depending on the circumstances of the accident, protective equipment may not be enough to prevent you from being thrown from your bike and suffering serious injuries. You must also pay close attention to nearby motorists and pedestrians to avoid potential accidents.

Why do bicycle accidents tend to happen?

Most of the time, bicycle accidents happen because of recklessness, carelessness, or downright negligence. For example, a party involved in the accident may have violated a law, did not signal that they were about to make a turn, or failed to check their blind spots before merging. The following are some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents:

  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to make a complete stop
  • Opening doors in bicycle lanes
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Drowsy or fatigued driving
  • Speeding
  • Ignoring traffic signs and lights
  • Visibility problems
  • Not providing enough space
  • Road rage
  • Bicycle or vehicle defects or malfunctions
  • Road defects

Most common roads and intersections in Chicago for bike accidents

Even though bike accidents can occur anywhere in Chicago, certain roads and intersections may be more likely to feature accidents, such as:

  • Elston & Fullerton intersection
  • Milwaukee & Fullerton intersection
  • Halsted & Chicago intersection
  • Halsted & Fullerton intersection
  • Clark Street
  • Milwaukee Avenue
  • Damen Avenue
  • Division Street
  • Kedzie Avenue
  • Chicago Avenue
  • Wells Street
  • Halsted Street

Is there a deadline to file a lawsuit after a Chicago bike accident?

According to 735 ILCS 5/13-202, you have two years to file a lawsuit after a bike accident in Chicago. If you do not pursue damages for your accident within this timeframe, you are likely unable to recover compensation from the at-fault party for the losses you sustained.

If you suffer injuries in a bicycle accident, the bicycle accident attorneys at Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers can help you obtain justice. Our team can look over the details of your claim, determine who may be held liable, help you gather compelling evidence, and take the proper course of legal action against the responsible parties. Bicycle accidents can result in severe injury; a Chicago bicycle accident attorney can help you obtain the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, or more. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.