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  3. Cycling Safely in Illinois: A 'Share the Road' State

Cycling Safely in Illinois: A 'Share the Road' State 

 
Safety is a critically important component of bicycling policy and lies at the foundation of all State efforts to advance non-motorized transportation. Illinois is proudly a Share the Road state and promotes "complete streets" that accommodate all users. Explore this page for more information on our Share the Road initiatives, along with links to other bicycle safety resources.

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Share the Road Campaign 


In 2007, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the League of Illinois Bicyclists (LIB) and Illinois State Police (ISP), launched a statewide Share the Road campaign to urge motorists and bicyclists to share the road to reduce crashes, prevent injuries and end fatalities on our streets.

Since the campaign launched, the Illinois General Assembly has produced legislation that adds statutory enforcement mechanisms to this ongoing Share the Road safety effort.

  • "Share the Road" License Plates: The State of Illinois, in partnership with LIB, offers for purchase permanent, year-round “Share the Road” specialty license plates.  These plates deliver the “Share the Road – Same Rights, Same Rules” message, while supporting bicyclist and motorist education efforts by the LIB. The $22 annual license plate fee supports a state “Share the Road Fund.”


  • "Share the Road" House Resolution: The House urged State agencies and local governments to improve their Share the Road outreach to bicyclists and motorists. In addition, the State strongly encourages Illinois schools to incorporate bicycling and Share the Road education into their driver education and physical education programs.

  • "Share the Road" Bicyclist Safety Statute: This legislation amends Section 11-703 of the Vehicle Code to provide that a person driving a motor vehicle shall not, in a reckless manner, drive the motor vehicle unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a "bicyclist, pedestrian, or a person riding a horse or driving an animal drawn vehicle." Crowding a bicyclist, pedestrian or horseback rider is now a Class 3 felony (in the event of great bodily harm) or a Class A misdemeanor (if no significant bodily harm inflicted).

The State of Illinois, with the support of public advocates, has launched several awareness campaigns that promote the State's Share the Road campaign:

  • In 2006, LIB, using IDOT funding, produced a bike safety video, “Share the Road – Same Road, Same Rules, Same Rights”, featuring Robbie Ventura, a teammate of Lance Armstrong on the former U.S. Postal Service Team. The video enjoyed wide distribution and positive reception to Illinois high schools, private driving schools and law enforcement agencies.
  • IDOT and LIB then developed a “Safe Roads for Bicycling” program that involves teaching a class to Police Departments that makes local police more aware of bicycle safety issues. Download the Power Point file or a PDF handout for more information on this training program which incorporates the 2006 bike safety video.
  • In 2010, in conjunction with the Anti-Harassment legislation, the same coalition launched a "Please Don't Squeeze" media effort within the Share the Road campaign. Listen to the jointly-produced, "Please Don't Squeeze" radio spot.
    A screenshot from the "Share the Road – Same Road, Same Rules, Same Rights" video

Illinois Bicycling Safety Materials

  • Safe Bicycling in Illinois", a resource for adult bicyclists put forth by the Illinois Department of Transportation, focuses primarily on sharing the road with motorists. The booklet explains negotiating traffic, making turns, proper signaling, and dealing with rude motorists.  There are also sections on helmet usage, what to do in trouble situations, and riding off-road on recreational trails.  
  • Kids on Bikes in Illinois” (and the Spanish-language version) produced by the Illinois Department of Transportation focuses on bicycling for children.  It details riding on sidewalks, where to ride on streets, how to look around, and how to turn on streets. It also includes a section for parents and teachers on helmet usage and proper bicycle fit.
  • Bicycle Rules of the Road” from the Illinois Secretary of State provides bicyclists the information needed to stay safe while sharing the road with motorists. It features general rules on learning and practicing the bicycle rules of the road and is geared toward younger riders.
  • Bicycle Safety Brochure” developed by the Illinois State Police is an informative document focusing on bicycle laws and safety techniques.
  • Visit the League of Illinois Bicyclists Safety Education website for a wealth of great bicycle safety resources.

  • Bicycle Safety Town on Sheridan Road in Peoria, offers a safe and innovative way to promote bicycle safety. The learning track boasts 3,961 feet of curves, one-way streets, a four-lane divided highway, traffic signals, overpasses, ramps and 79 various traffic signs. It provides a great place for younger riders to learn the rules of the road or a safe arena for older, more experienced riders to have fun.

Bicycle Safety Reporting (“dooring”) in Illinois


On April 25, 2011,  Governor Pat Quinn announced that the state would begin tracking “dooring” crashes – accidents involving bicyclists who are struck by opened doors from parked cars. The change took effect immediately to help determine locations where road improvements and public outreach efforts may be necessary to protect bicyclists from these dangerous collisions.

The new policy was the result of collaboration between Governor Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Active Transportation Alliance. Prior to the change in policy, dooring collisions went unrecognized in IDOT’s annual reporting of traffic statistics because a moving motor vehicle was not involved. The policy enhances Illinois' robust Share the Road campaign efforts described above.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- Bicycling Resources

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains a page dedicated to bicycling safety:

NHTSA encourages bicycling as an alternative mode of transportation to motor vehicle travel and encourages the adoption of mutual respect between motorists and bicyclists to enhance safety for all road users, including bicyclists. Bicycles on the roadway are, by law, vehicles with the same rights, and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. Our bicycle safety programs focus on the behaviors of bicyclists and motorists towards bicyclists to reduce bicycle injuries and fatalities on our nation’s roadways.

Useful safety links from NHTSA include: