With a population of about 150,000, Naperville is the fourth-most populous city in Illinois and a major suburb in the Chicago metropolitan area. Because of that, you might expect the city to have terrible traffic and potentially worse traffic safety statistics.
But surprisingly, Naperville is one of the safest midsize U.S. cities for bicyclists. The city has not had a fatal bicycle accident since 2013. A big reason for this is the bicycle infrastructure provided by the city for recreational bicyclists and bike commuters.
Naperville Bicycle Crash Statistics
The Naperville Traffic Crashes map uses crash data from 2015 through 2021 to provide detailed information about traffic safety in the city.
The 18 crashes Naperville had in 2021 represented the latest in a long-term downward trend in bike crashes. Naperville had 23 bicycle accidents in 2015. The city has consistently had fewer than 20 bike crashes per year since 2017.
Using the cumulative data on the Naperville Traffic Crashes map, the month with the most accidents was July, which had almost 13% of accidents. Since each month represents only about 8% of the days in a year, July had about 50% more accidents than if they were distributed randomly.
Likewise, based on the crashes from 2015 to 2021, the most dangerous time of day to ride a bicycle was overnight. About 23% of bike crashes happened between midnight and 6 a.m. Lunchtime came in at a close second, with over 17% of bicycle accidents occurring between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Additionally, male cyclists were much more likely to have a bike accident. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation report for 2021, over 68% of bike crashes involved a male cyclist.
In 2021, the ages of cyclists involved in crashes ranged from 8 to 69 years old. But the distribution of ages was uneven, with 37% of cyclists 18 or under and another 37% of cyclists over 40.
Injuries and Deaths from Bicycle Accidents in Naperville
Naperville’s 18 bicycle accidents in 2021 injured 17 cyclists and one motorist. This means that cyclists had an 89% chance of suffering an injury when they got hit by a car. Stated another way, only 11% of bicyclists hit by cars were able to walk away from their crashes uninjured.
As mentioned, no cyclists have died in Naperville bike collisions since 2013. In fact, going back to 2010, statistics show that one bicyclist died in a collision with a car. The single fatality in 2013 happened when a female between the ages of 55 and 59 ran a red traffic light while riding her bicycle.
Naperville Bicycle Crash Causes
Most of Naperville’s bicycle crashes happen when cyclists cross the road. Over 63% of bicycle collisions fit this scenario in 2021.
Importantly, only two of these crashes were blamed on cyclists who crossed the road against a signal or outside a marked crosswalk. The other ten crashes were caused by careless drivers who failed to yield to a cyclist who had the right of way.
Two crashes in 2021 happened when a cyclist failed to yield to car traffic when turning left or right. One crash occurred when a driver drifted out of their lane and hit a cyclist riding on the shoulder.
A major problem associated with bike crashes comes from hit-and-run drivers. For the years 2015 to 2021, the Naperville Traffic Crashes map lists 16 hit-and-run bicycle crashes. This means that nearly 11% of drivers who hit bicyclists during this period left the scene of the accident before the police could arrive.
Locations of Bike Accidents in Naperville
Bike accidents in Naperville cluster on a few major roads. According to the Naperville Traffic Crashes map, the most dangerous roads for cyclists include:
- Napier Boulevard, which had seven bike crashes over a span of just two miles
- 95th Street, which had seven bicycle crashes between IL-59 and Boughton Road
- Washington Street, which had 18 bicycle crashes, making it the most dangerous road in the city for cyclists
- West Street, which had five bike crashes in the 0.7-mile span just south of Aurora Avenue near the city parks
Fortunately, you can usually minimize the time you spend cycling on Naperville’s roads because the city has infrastructure throughout for bike recreation and commuting.
Naperville Bicycle Infrastructure
Naperville has several multi-use trails that separate bicycle and pedestrian traffic from motorized vehicles. These trails run through Naperville and connect the city to other trails in DuPage County.
Some of these trails include:
- DuPage River Trail
- Illinois Prairie Path
- DuPage Forest Preserve Trail
- Southern DuPage County Regional Trail
In the city, infrastructure is more limited. Naperville has several designated bike routes. The city only identifies these routes with signs and does not provide bike lane markings on the road. Naperville plans to add more bike trails, particularly near Riverwalk Park, so cyclists have alternatives to riding on busy city streets.
Naperville allows cyclists to ride on the sidewalk, except in the Downtown Naperville and Riverwalk neighborhoods. Riding on the sidewalk can provide additional protection from motor vehicles, but you must ride carefully to avoid hitting pedestrians who are also on the sidewalks.
You can take your bike onto Metra commuter trains. The operator allows up to five bikes on regular passenger cars. New bike cars allow riders to bring up to 16 bikes on board. On weekdays, three trains per day include bike cars on the BNSF line between Aurora and Chicago. BNSF line stations in Naperville also have bike parking available.
Navigating Naperville Safely by Bike
Naperville has historic sites, nature preserves, shopping, schools, and train stations that you can access by bicycle. Use Naperville’s bike map to plan your route to use bike trails as much as possible. When you do use city streets, stay to the right and cross at intersections and crosswalks. And always wear a helmet.
With a little bit of planning and commonsense safety measures, you can ride safely in Naperville.