Articles Posted in Bicycle Accident

Do you think that the only people who ride bicycles are children and that they only ride in residential areas? When questioned, many people in the areas surrounding Chicago express this view but it is far from reality, especially as bicycling for transportation has exploded in the city in recent decades. In truth, bicyclists of all ages can be seen in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs in all weather and in all seasons. No longer are cyclists taking to the roads only in the nice summer weather, but some riders even brave the snow and sleet of winter as they travel.

Illinois laws has bicycle-specific requirements that some rides and many non-riders do not know. Additionally, many cities and incorporated areas across the state have their own laws and rules in addition to those issued by the State of Illinois, and it is up to every rider to make sure that he or she knows these rules and follows them as written. One such rule requires bicycles that will be used during nighttime be equipped with a headlight or a light on the front of the bicycle that can be visible from at least 500 feet. This light must be white in color and is designed to keep a rider safe by alerting others in the area, primarily drivers of automobiles, that a cyclist is approaching.

Now one local area is taking safety up as an issue and is handing out free lights to bicyclists on October 30, 2014. Evanston will be giving away and installing headlights at the Robert Crown Center and The Weber Arch at Northwestern University between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and will have 400 lights available. In addition, other resources for cyclists including maps will be distributed to those who participate.

While Evanston may be giving away headlights for free, it is important to note that using a headlight will not meet all the requirements stated by law if you want to ride a bicycle at night. Riders also must have a red rear reflector present with visibility from at least 100 feet. The use of a red rear lamp is optional but the reflector and the headlight are both requirements.

While bicycle ridership has increased and is projected to continue to rise, unfortunately the number of bicycle accidents in Illinois, especially in Chicago, continues to remain high. Every year, thousands of riders are hurt and several bicyclists lose their lives when a collision takes place. Most of these accidents involve cars, trucks, and buses but collisions with other bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians occur as well.
Continue reading

In recent decades, Chicago has emerged as an American city home to a large number of bicyclists. Some ride for transit while others ride for pleasure or exercise, but regardless of the purpose, cyclists can be seen along city streets on any day of the week and any week of the year. The seasonal weather in Chicago means that some months see more bicyclists than others, occasionally catching drivers off guard if they are not looking for or not expecting a bike in their area.

But under the laws in Illinois, including those that apply to riding a bicycle in Chicago, every driver is responsible for his or her conduct behind the wheel. This means that motorists must respect the rights of bicyclists, must be aware of bicyclists in their area, and must act in a safe and reasonable manner to prevent bicycle accidents from taking place. Failing to do so may impose legal liability on the part of a driver and may lead to criminal or traffic charges, especially if the cyclist is injured. In addition, an at-fault driver may face legal responsibility to a victim for any and all damages that result, including any medical bills incurred, wages lost while time is missed from work, and pain and suffering if the motorists acts in a negligent manner.

Authorities in Elgin reported that a vehicle and a bicycle collided around 9:00 p.m. near Summit Street and Hill Street. According to officials, a 41-year-old driver was traveling westbound when he approached the intersection and collided with a 21-year-old man on a bicycle. It is not clear whether the cyclist was traveling northbound or southbound but it is believed that the vehicle and the bicycle may have been on different roads and collided while both were in the intersection at the same time.

Officials began an investigation while on the scene but they have not revealed a suspected cause of the crash at this time. Emergency crews tended to the bicyclist and transported him to an area hospital with critical injuries on Tuesday night. The rider’s current status and the nature of his injuries remain unknown. The driver of the vehicle did not sustain serious injuries, according to officials who responded to the crash.
Continue reading

Though fall may be here, the warm weather this week in Chicago and across Illinois means that many bicyclists may be enjoying some last-minute rides before the winter comes. But if you have lived in the Chicago area for any length of time, you know that some brave riders take to their bicycles year-round, even in the midst of winter. Until recently, bicycling has been dominated by those who owned private bikes in Chicago.

Yet the introduction of Divvy, a city-wide bicycle rental service, has helped change the landscape of transportation in Chicago as well as the makeup of the typical Chicago bike rider. Now, tourists, non-residents, and causal riders are taking to the streets in greater numbers. Divvy enables those who want to use a bicycle for a limited period of time the option to ride in Chicago without the obligation, expense, and upkeep of owning a personal bike. Subscriptions are available to Divvy to enable anything from a one-way ride to a unlimited yearly pass so that cyclists of all levels and of all types can benefit from the program.

Divvy is still relatively new in the Chicago area and the resulting effects are not all known at this time, but experts unanimously agree that when a large number of bicycles and a large number of cars share the same space, collisions are likely to occur unless all riders and motorists act with due care and caution. In Illinois, including Chicago, bicyclists are authorized to ride in the streets much like any vehicle is legally allowed to drive, yet despite numerous protections under the laws, drivers continue to ignore these riders with alarming regularity. Every year, numerous bicycle accidents occur and leave cyclists injured or, in the worst instances, dead as a result. While these crashes cannot be erased, the victims of these crashes may be entitled to legal relief through the use of a civil claim for damages. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand whether you have a valid claim, and if so, who may be legally responsible for the injuries you sustained if you have been involved in a bicycle collision.

Now, the Divvy rental platform is getting the green light to expand into Oak Park and Evanston next summer. Due in part to a $3 million state grant, 20 new self-serve stations will take root in those two cities and will enable riders in the north and west to choose rentals when they please. Part of the grant also covers expansion of Divvy programs within Chicago including the funding of 50 new Chicago-area stations.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been an advocate for making Chicago more bicycle-friendly and has initiated programs to improve the safety of riders as a result. Advances have included increased bicycle lanes along city streets, the creation of protected bicycle areas along some heavily traveled routes, and bicycle-specific traffic lights to control riders while making sure that motorists get the right-of-way when intended.
Continue reading

Bicycling has seen a significant increase in popularity over the past few decades in Chicago. Many adults are choosing to bike their commutes to work while others are running errands on bicycles around the city. The introduction of rented bicycles by the hour, day, or annually has only served to increase the number of individuals taking to bikes daily in Chicago, especially during the spring and summer months.

But with this increase in ridership unfortunately has come an increase in bicycle accidents with vehicles including cars, trucks, vans, and buses. The small and unprotected nature of a person on a bicycle compared to a heavy vehicle means that these riders almost always sustain injuries when a crash does result, ranging from minor bruises to serious head injuries and even death in the worst accidents.

Though nothing can ever erase a bicycle accident and its effects once one has occurred, the victims of these crashes may be able to ease their suffering and damages through the use of a civil claim. These claims can allow injury victims the ability to recover for things like medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering if a bicycle collision has left them with injuries. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help you understand if you are entitled to seek relief if you have been involved in a crash.

Police in Bridgeport reported a collision involving a bicyclist and a hit-and-run driver last night with tragic consequences. The cyclist, a 59-year-old woman, sustained injuries too severe to survive and she died shortly after the crash.

The incident took place in the 2900 block of South Poplar Avenue around 5:30 pm. As the woman rode, an unidentified vehicle approached, traveling eastbound, and struck the bicyclist. The driver of the vehicle allegedly did not stop to check on the victim and instead continued traveling eastbound, without alerting authorities.

Investigators are still looking for the driver involved in the incident and are asking anyone with information to report it to local police.
Continue reading

Cyclists are visibly present in Chicago every day, taking to the streets for exercise and for transit. But bicycles are becoming more and more popular in suburban areas as well. Under the laws in Illinois, a bicyclist has every right to ride in a lane of traffic and must obey all rules that apply to vehicles. This means that cars, trucks, and vans must respect the rights of those who ride bicycles as they respect the rights of other vehicles.

Bikes and motorized vehicles can both travel in the same areas without collisions occurring but only if people act in a safe and reasonable manner. Failing to pay attention, failing to look for a bicycle, or otherwise acting in a negligent manner may lead to a bicycle accident. When a crash occurs, injuries are likely to result and may lead a cyclist with permanent damages. The worst accidents can even claim a bicyclist’s life.

The laws in Chicago are designed to protect the rights of those who are victimized by the errors of others through the use of a civil claim for damages. This means that if an accident occurs and one or more people suffer injuries, those victims may be entitled to relief and can seek that relief against a responsible driver, and at-fault owner of a vehicle, or anyone else who bears responsibility for the collision. Speaking with a lawyer who has experience representing injury victims can help you understand the legal implications of your accident and whether you may have a valid claim for your damages. In the tragic event that a victim is killed, the victim’s surviving family members may have a claim for their losses, though no amount of money can ever fully compensate a family for those loses.

Police in Roselle were called to the scene of an accident yesterday between a van and a bicycle that left the cyclist dead. The incident occurred near Roselle Road and Rosemont Avenue shortly after 6:00 a.m. Police believe that a 63-year-old man was driving a van eastbound on Rosemont when he attempted a left hand turn at the intersection. A 47-year-old man was riding his bicycle in the area and the van stuck the bicycle in what is believed to have been the intersection as the van turned. Emergency crews responded and transferred the cyclist to a hospital in Elk Grove but the man’s injuries were too severe and he was pronounced dead.

The investigation into the crash and the factors leading up to it is ongoing at this time but police do not suspect impairment on the part of the driver of the van. Authorities have not reported whether any charges will be filed against the driver or whether tickets will issue.
Continue reading

A 33-year-old Chicago police officer was recently charged with leaving the scene of an injury accident and filing a false police report after he allegedly struck a woman who was riding her bicycle home from work in August. According to an accident witness, the off duty police officer ran a stop sign in the early morning hours of August 3rd and hit the 25-year-old bicyclist with his pick-up truck near the intersection of Wabansia and California Streets. Following the initial impact, the woman reportedly flew over the hood of the truck before landing on the street.

Although the law enforcement officer called emergency responders using his cellular phone, the man allegedly told 911 operators he had no idea why the woman was on the ground and declined to identify himself. The off duty police officer reportedly called 911 a second time to tell operators the woman may be injured before driving around the bicyclist as she lay on the ground, hitting two parked cars, and leaving the accident scene. According to Cook County prosecutors, the bicyclist suffered broken bones and facial injuries that required her to stay in a local hospital for about 48 hours.

A license plate reportedly fell off of the police officer’s pick-up when he struck the parked cars. Although police went to the officer’s house to question him following the crash, no one answered the door. Two days later, the man filed a police report which stated the bicyclist ran a stop sign and struck his pick-up truck. Although the off duty cop blamed the bicyclist for causing her own injuries, both forensic and medical records allegedly indicate that the motorist caused the bicycle accident. After he was charged, the officer was purportedly relieved of his police powers and placed in an administrative position pending the outcome of his case.

Bicyclists in Illinois must obey the same laws as motorists while traveling on streets and other roadways. Still, most Chicago bicycle accidents occur after a motorist fails to yield to a bicycle rider at a stop sign or traffic light. Illinois bicycle accidents allegedly killed 27 people and hurt more than 3,300 others in 2008. Many of those injuries reportedly occurred in urban areas like Chicago. If you were harmed by a negligent driver while riding your bicycle, you should discuss your case with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as you are able.
Continue reading

We’ve recently been discussing the importance of safe driving habits. As we say goodbye to 2011, its time to say hello to 2012. Our Chicago accident attorneys have been asking residents to make safe driving habits a part of their New Year’s resolutions. We’ve discussed distracted driving dangers, drunk driving dangers, the dangers of speeding, the dangers faced by pedestrians and now we’ll be discussing the importance of bicycle safety awareness. We’re not the only ones focusing on bicyclists’ safety either. The Chicago Bike Program is promoting its Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 as we start the new year. This plan is to identify up to 250 miles of bicycle facilities that will encourage all Chicagoans to ride their bicycles to get around our beautiful city.The Chicago Bike Program has divided the city into nine areas and will be looking over each of these areas to examine the current biking conditions of each. Through this examination, biking officials will be identifying destinations, barriers, gaps in existing bikeways and assets. Officials are asking for your input too. If you would like to contribute any ideas or suggestions on how to make these areas safer for cyclists, please email the organization.

Unfortunately, bicycling accidents in Chicago are still an all too common occurrence. According to My Fox Chicago, there were five bicyclists killed and nearly 2,000 bicyclists injured in 2008. The number of fatal accidents is an increase from the previous year, serving as evidence of much-needed bicycling path renovations.

To help make our roadways safer for bicyclists, transportation officials have constructed the Kinzie Street protected bike lane and are working on the Jackson Boulevard protected bike lane, the 18th Street protected bike lane and the Elston Avenue protected bike lane. Even with the construction of safer bike lanes, bicyclists are asked to practice the following safety tips to help ensure a smooth and accident-free bike ride.

Safety Tips for Chicago Bicyclists, from Safety In Motion:

-It’s against the law to ride a bicycle on Lake Shore Drive.

-It’s against the law to ride the wrong way on a one-way street, against traffic on a two-way street and on expressways.

-If you break a traffic law, an officer can stop you and can issue you a traffic ticket. Most bicycling traffic tickets come with a $25 fine.

-Although drivers of vehicles are required by law to give bicyclists the right-of-way it doesn’t always mean that they will. Be on the lookout for passing vehicles at all times.

We ask all bicyclists and motorists to be cautious of one another when traveling through the city. With consideration for one another, we can help to make our roadways safer for everyone. Make your New Year’s resolution to be a better traveler in 2012!
Continue reading

Illinois bicycle crash attorneys at Abels & Annes have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Chicago teenager that was injured by a negligent driver. This claim arises out of an automobile vs. bicyclist collision which took place on August 22, 2009 at approximately 2:50 p.m. There was plenty of light, the roads were straight and flat and visibility was good.

The plaintiff, a fifteen year old boy, was riding his bicycle westbound along the sidewalk that ran along the north side of 37th Street in Chicago, Illinois. The defendant was driving southbound, exiting an alley. As the motorist drove across the sidewalk, she hit the bicycle rider with the front end of her vehicle.

The Chicago Police Department responded to the accident. The defendant admitted to the investigating police officer that she struck our client with her vehicle as she was exiting the alley.

After being struck the bicyclist flew up onto the driver’s hood, and when the car stopped the teen was thrown off the hood onto the pavement. After landing on the pavement the plaintiff had an immediate onset of pain and discomfort.

The bike rider had back pain, left hand pain, and right foot pain. He was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital‘s Emergency Room by his mother.

At Mount Sinai the teenager complained of back pain. A history was taken, he was examined and diagnostic testing was performed. He was given pain medication and instructed to seek follow up care after a few days.

Over the next couple of days the plaintiff’s condition worsened and he sought follow up treatment at Mount Sinai’s Emergency Department two days later, on August 24, 2009. He continued to complain of severe low back pain. He was again examined and additional diagnostic tests were performed. A possible spinal fracture at L3 was discovered and a neurosurgeon was consulted. He was given more pain medication and muscle relaxants, was instructed to stay out of gym class and was instructed to seek follow up care. He was eventually allowed back into a modified gym class.

On August 25, 2009 our client followed up with a board certified neurologist. He continued to complain of severe low back pain. The doctor ordered a follow up x-ray. On August 27, 2009 he saw another physician and complained of severe back pain. At that time the doctor agreed with the neurologist’s plan of care. Teen was seen by the neuro again on August 31, 2009 at which time he continued to have complaints of back pain. The doctor ordered a CT scan and also recommended that the plaintiff stay home from school due to possible spinal fracture.

On September 8, 2009 a CT scan identified disc bulges at L4-5 and L5-S1 as well as a 3 mm bone island in the CT and a course of physical therapy was prescribed. Following the initial course of therapy he returned to the neurologist on October 5, 2009 with ongoing complaint of back pain radiating into his right thigh. The doctor extended the course of therapy and prescribed muscle relaxants.

Following the second course of therapy the teen returned to the doctor on November 2, 2009 with ongoing low back pain, especially in the morning. The physician explained that recurrence of back pain is a normal part of the healing process. The doctor discharged him as having reached maximum medical improvement.

Unfortunately on December 14, 2009 the plaintiff suffered a severe exacerbation of his back pain when he bent over to pick up a television remote. He went to Mount Sinai’s Emergency Department where he was given pain medications and muscle relaxants and instructed to seek follow up medical care.

On December 18, 2009 he followed up with on of his physicians. He continued to complain of severe low back pain radiating into his thigh. The doctor prescribed another course of physical therapy. Following this course of therapy he returned to the doctor with ongoing low back pain with numbness in his right leg. His doctor suspected a herniated disc at L4-5 and ordered an MRI.

The lumbar MRI performed on January 8, 2010 revealed a 2 mm disc bulge at L3-4, a 4-5 mm disc bulge at L4-5, and a 5 mm disc bulge at L5-S1. Based upon these findings the doctor referred our client to a pain specialist, board certified anesthesiologist and pain management specialist.

The client first saw the specialist on January 28, 2010. He recommended lumbar epidural steroid injections. Due to his mother’s concern regarding this procedure they sought a second opinion from another neurologist with Mount Sinai Medical Group. The second doctor agreed with the first doctor’s plan. The injections were performed on February 4, 2010. Following the initial injection the client had relief for two or three days and then the pain returned, although at a slightly lower level than prior to the injections.

Following the injections both doctors recommended that the continue with physical therapy. The plaintiff continued with therapy at Schwab Rehabilitation Center through the beginning of December, 2010.

Given the plaintiff’s young age the treating physicians are very reluctant to perform any sort of invasive surgical procedure such as a spinal fusion. There are no real treatment options left other than to continue with the home exercise program provided through physical therapy, curtain his physical activities and learn to live with his pain and limitations.

Medical expenses incurred by our client so far total over $50,000.

Despite the treatment he has undergone, the teen continues to suffer from pain and discomfort in his low back. This pain has greatly affected his life. As a result of his injuries he has been unable to engage in many activities he enjoyed prior to the collision, and those activities he can engage in cause him pain and he cannot participate as he did prior to the collision.

It remains painful for him to sit, stand or walk for any length of time. It is painful for him to bend or twist. The teenager was an avid football player and softball player. He dreamed of playing college football. However, since the collision he has been unable to participate in football, softball or any other sports. He was taken out of gym class and when he was returned it was to a specialized gym class.

These restrictions would be traumatic for anyone, but they are especially burdensome for a teenager who should be in the most active and carefree portion of his life. The injuries caused by the negligence of the defendant will continue to trouble the plaintiff for the remainder of his life. He has even been told by his doctors that he will not be able to perform any physical labor which will significantly impact his career options and lifetime wages.

Continue reading

We recently told you about the new Kinzie Bike Lane on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Blog. This bike lane was created to help decrease the number of bicycling accidents on our roadways.

Bicyclists account for more than 30 percent of the traffic on that roadway. The construction for this project started back on June 6th. The new lane will sit adjacent to the curb and will come with a lane width varying between 5-1/2 to 7 feet wide. The bike lane is separated from traffic by a 4-foot-wide buffer zone.We have also published concerns about the safety of the bike lane along the lakefront. Our Chicago bicycling accident attorneys encourage you to do your part in ensuring everyone’s safety on these lanes. While many accidents are caused by careless or inattentive motorists, riders can do their part; be courteous to one another in an attempt to reduce these potentially fatal accidents.

The City of Chicago currently has over 110 miles of on-street bike lanes, more than 30 miles of shared bike lanes and many miles of off-street paths. One of Chicago’s most popular bicycling paths is the Lakefront Trail, which is nearly 20 miles long. To help encourage bicycling in the area, the city also installed thousands of bike racks. They also have sheltered bike parking at a number of CTA rail stations, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The Illinois Department of Transportation suggests proper trail etiquette to help keep you safe:

-Stay right.

-Yield to walkers.

-Pass to the left — announce your intentions before overtaking slower traffic.

-Avoid stopping or blocking the path.

-Leash and control your pet.

-Properly dispose of trash.

-Avoid contact with unknown plant species; poison oak and poison ivy are plentiful.

-Wear a helmet.

Government officials are stepping up their efforts to protect Illinois bicyclists as well. The state of Illinois is waiting for Gov. Quinn’s to sign a bill into law that would allow bicyclists to treat “demand-actuated” red lights as stop signs. This would only be permitted to go through a red light if the signal does not change to green “within a reasonable period of time”. This law was proposed by Illinois motorcyclists. It would allow both motorcycles and bicycles to legally travel through a red light if the signal fails to detect them waiting. This law would affect all of the state except Chicago.

It is estimated that there are approximately 1,300 bicycling accident in Chicago every year. Safer bike lanes, cautious bicyclists and alert motorists can help reduce the number of yearly accidents.
Continue reading

Last week the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the City of Chicago’s Bicycling Ambassadors program kicked off part of what officials call their “Share the Road” campaign aimed at enforcing Chicago’s oft-disregarded biking traffic laws and educating citizens on the proper ways to avoid injuring cyclists on the road, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. According to officials, 240 warnings and one ticket were given over a two-hour period at a single intersection during rush hour.

The intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Desplaines and Kinzie Street was chosen because of the high volume of bicyclists who often pedal through red lights and encroach on crosswalks meant for pedestrians, making accidents and close calls a regular occurrence. As officials issued the warnings to cyclists and stressed the importance of following the law, some cyclists reminded officials that they were well aware of the laws and were only breaking them to avoid having to share the road with aggressive motorists who frequently cut them off and are generally unaware of their presence.

According to CDOT, an average of 1,300 crashes involving bicyclists occur every year in Chicago and about five of those end in death. As biking becomes more popular in the face of high gas prices and traffic congestion, the city is taking steps to increase biker safety through the education of motorists and cyclists, while improving the infrastructure of biking routes.