The folks at the Active Transportation Alliance hope you won’t be needing their new Crash Support Hotline at (312)869-HELP(4357), but should disaster, well, strike, help is just a phone call away. For years, Active Trans has been providing counsel to Chicago area cyclists (and pedestrians) in trouble. This month, however, marks the launch of a hotline designated for just that purpose. Within twenty-four hours, a trained volunteer will get back to you with attorney referrals, advice and a listening ear—the bike-savvy mom you never had.
Still in its infancy, the hotline is currently manned by a single staffer. “Once we have an idea of the call volume and what kind of questions people are calling with,” says Margo O’Hara, Active Trans Director of Communications, the goal is for the hotline to be staffed by a rotating brigade of volunteers—all of them well-versed in the ins and outs of mobile disasters.
Yet while the volunteers will be trained in issues emotional, legal and logistical, O’Hara is careful to stress that the hotline is the second number you should call. “The hotline doesn’t replace 911 in any way,” she says. “If people have been in a crash, they should call 911. If you haven’t called 911, call 911, and be sure to get a police report. Once you’re able to do that, call us, and we’ll go from there.” (Rachel Sugar)