A recent fatal Chicago bicycle accident reminds the city’s residents of the dangers cyclists face in Chicago, despite its 117 miles of bike lanes. According to the Chicagoist, a 25-year-old woman was crushed and killed by a dump truck when she fell off of her bike and ended up under the rear axle of an idling dump truck. The driver of the truck did not see her. Unable to get herself out from under the truck, she was crushed when the traffic signal turned green. The accident occurred at the intersection of Wabash and Wacker.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) 2009 Crash Facts, there were a total of 3,255 accidents involving pedalcyclists across the state that year. Of these crashes, 3,100 caused injury, 135 caused property damage, and 20 were fatal. Most of these accidents occurred in daylight hours, despite being the time of day with the highest level of visibility. In addition, over 3,000 accidents occurred in urban areas, with 2,030 occurring on city streets and roads, like those in Chicago.
It is clear with statistics like these, and incidents like this recent fatal bicycle accident that Chicago needs to make cyclist safety a priority, and, as the newly completed protected bike lanes will testify, the city is making progress towards this end. Chicago’s first protected bike lane travels along Kinzie Street, in between Wells Street and Milwaukee Avenue. It consists of a marked lane adjacent to the curb in each direction of the street, a buffer area with flexible marker posts, and a motor-vehicle parking lane. Hopefully this more distinctive bike lane will remind drivers that bicyclists also have a right to be on the road.
As Chicago does its part to improve safety for bicyclists, drivers must also do their part. A bicycle is allowed to be on the road by law and, as such, all drivers must be attentive and aware of them. If you or a loved one has been injured in an Illinois bike accident caused by a negligent driver, the experienced Chicago bicycle accident lawyers at The Bradley Law Firm can help you hold the driver liable for their injurious actions. Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn more about getting the compensation you deserve at 312-252-1488.
After numerous appeals by Chicago bicyclists and The Active Transportation Alliance advocacy group, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is now required to record all dooring accidents, as ordered by Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn. According to The Chicago Tribune, the new rules will be announced in early May, but will take effect immediately. This new policy is a starting point to help reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by Illinois bicycle dooring accidents.
Creating better public awareness of dooring accidents through improved tracking will help both drivers and bicyclists stay safe on the road, whether they are in motion or not. With this new measure in place, it is particularly important that bicyclists follow Illinois biking laws and safety guidelines, including:
- Generally, bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of other drivers and must abide by the same traffic laws;
- A bicyclist must keep as close as safety and practicality allows to the right-hand curb of a road or bike path when riding at less than normal traffic speed;
- Riding more than two abreast is prohibited except in specially designated parts of the roadway exclusive to cyclists;
- A bicyclist must use proper hand signals when turning and stopping or slowing down;
- Using eye contact with drivers (and signaling) can help them know what a bicyclist is doing;
- Bicyclists should always wear a helmet; and
- Becoming adept at quickly looking over one’s shoulder can help a cyclist be aware of the flow of traffic.
Drivers also need to make sure to follow traffic laws be aware of their surroundings. One of the most important safety tips for drivers that can prevent multiple types of bicycle accidents, including doorings, is:
Always look in your mirrors and check blind spots before changing direction or speed while the car is in motion, and always check your mirror and look over your shoulder before you open a road-side door when getting out of the car.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an Illinois bicycle crash because a driver did not follow the traffic laws or proper safety guidelines, they may be considered negligent and held responsible for the losses resulting from your injuries. Our experienced Chicago bicycle crash lawyers at The Bradley Law Firm can inform you of your legal rights and determine the validity of your claim. Call us today at 312-252-1488 for a free confidential consultation.
In recent years, Illinois traffic laws have been strengthened in consideration of bicyclists who share roads with drivers of motor vehicles. However, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) refuses to keep records on what bicyclists believe to be the most common form of vehicle-bike accident: “Dooring,” which occurs when a car, truck, or even bus door is opened in the path of a cyclist.
According to IDOT statistics, from 2005 through 2009, Illinois had more than 3,500 crashes involving bicyclists and motor vehicles, resulting in 18-27 cyclist fatalities and more than 3,300 injuries each year. Dooring accidents, though monitored and recorded by the city of Chicago, are not included in any state statistics, mainly because it involves vehicles that are immobile. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago recorded 76 dooring crashes in 2010, an increase from the 62 dooring crashes of 2009, and, although dooring accidents can result in serious injury or even death, this data was not recorded by IDOT.
The Active Transportation Alliance, which works towards making the streets more bicycle, pedestrian and motorist safe, is beginning a campaign aimed to increase public awareness concerning dooring accidents. Being aware of the most common causes of bicycle-vehicle crashes is invaluable to a cyclist. Although dooring accidents are not kept track of by IDOT, they are a threat, and can cause considerable physical injuries, and emotional hardships. An experienced Chicago bike accident attorney can advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation.
The dedicated Illinois personal injury lawyers of The Bradley Law Firm have many years of experience with bicycle-vehicle accidents. We will fight to recover any financial losses and seek damages for any suffering that was caused because of another person’s negligence. Please call today for your free confidential consultation at 312-252-1488.
Chicago is testing the potential benefits of creating a “cycle track” for residents who currently utilize bicycles as their main mode of transportation, according to The Chicago Tribune. Chicago is not reputed to be one of the safest cities in the U.S. for bicyclists. As with many other cities across the nation, Chicago’s bike lanes run parallel to traffic, with only five feet of space reserved for bike riders. The lanes also do not have barriers between the bike lane and traffic. Due to the number of crashes that involve motor vehicles and bicyclists, the city has decided to test a new type of bike lane that may prevent Chicago bike crashes from occurring.
The Chicago test cycle track will be located on a short stretch of Stony Island Avenue between 69th and 77th streets. The track will have concrete barriers that completely separate the bike lane from traffic. Some residents have already given positive feedback regarding the cycle track and believe it is a good idea. A few cities, including Portland, OR, have already implemented cycle tracks and have seen an increase in the number of bicyclists and a decrease in crashes.
With the bike lanes the way they are now, the risk of a Chicago bicycle accident is very high. Should the test track have a positive outcome, construction on a citywide cycle track would be set to begin in 2014.
Bicycle accidents occur more often than many people think and can have serious or even deadly consequences. If you have been injured in a bike accident that was due to someone else’s negligence, it would be wise to consult the services of an experienced attorney to learn more about your legal options.
At The Bradley Law Firm, our dedicated Chicago bike crash lawyers have the resources necessary to examine the details of your accident, build a strong case on your behalf, and ensure that your rights are not violated. With extensive knowledge of personal injury law, our attorneys can help garner you the compensation you deserve for damages to cover such costs as medical bills, loss of income due to time off of work, pain and suffering, and more. To learn about how we can help you, call The Bradley Law Firm at 1-800-360-5072 for a free consultation.