Ride IllinoisRide Illinois
November 09, 2016

Improving the Rules of the Road Manual

This year, the death of a Mount Prospect woman who was struck by an SUV while riding her bike in a local crosswalk is prompting the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to add a new entry to the 2017 Rules of the Road manual. State Rep. David Harris made the request after local residents expressed concern about the new crosswalk signal, a rectangular rapid flash beacon, used in Mount Prospect and elsewhere. The new entry will explain to drivers that when a crosswalk signal is activated and the lights are flashing, they need to stop until pedestrians and bicyclists have safely crossed the road.

Ride Illinois has also recently submitted suggested additions to existing text about sharing the road with bicycles. Our recommendations for the 2017 Rules of the Road Manual appear in bold italics below:

  • When passing a bicyclist, motorists must do so slowly and leave at least 3 feet of passing space.  On most two-lane roads, there is not enough width to pass a bicycle when oncoming traffic is in the other lane.  Wait until you can pass safely.
  • Crowding or threatening a bicyclist is prohibited and punishable by law.
  • After parking and before opening vehicle doors, a motorist should first check for bicyclists. One technique is to open the door with the right, not left hand.

While the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office regularly updates the official Rules of the Road manual to reflect changes in state laws, they only occasionally review recommendations received from advocacy organizations like Ride Illinois. We will keep you posted on when the 2017 Rules of the Road Manual is finalized and if our recommended text is included. You can download the entire 2016 Rules of the Road Manual here.