Cyclists are a force in Chicago. With their ranks swelling every day, even drivers who never ride cannot help but take notice of the number of bicyclists that use Chicago’s streets, pathways, and intersections. Whether they are commuting to work, riding for pleasure, or trying to squeeze in a little exercise, cyclists can be on any street at any time in Illinois regardless of the weather or season.
Bicyclists face many of the same risks that drivers face when it comes to traveling in the Chicago area. There is the possibility that someone will fail to yield to a bicyclist, causing an accident, or that a driver will run a red light. But in addition to the risks cyclists have in common with cars are some bicycle-specific risks that can lead to an incident and can even cause a rider to become injured and in need of medical treatment.
One type of common bicycle accident faced by riders is often referred to as a right hook crash. This type of accident is dangerous and often unavoidable for a rider – though completely avoidable by a driver who causes the crash.
A right hook bicycle accident happens when a driver attempts to make a right hand turn at an intersection or at a driveway and does so in front of an oncoming bicyclist. Most often, the driver of the car passes the bicyclist on the left and believes she can turn her vehicle before the cyclist will arrive at the same point. However, drivers are often poor judges of how fast a cyclist is riding and therefore they underestimate a cyclist’s speed, leading to a situation where a rider can collide with the passenger side of a car as the car turns.
The nature of the impact in a right hook accident means that a rider will often be thrown from his bike and may land on the car itself, on the pavement, or on another surface in the area. Injuries happen regularly in these collisions and the majority of the injuries in Chicago will require medical treatment for a victim to recover. In some instances, these accidents can be so severe that a rider will lose his life in response.
The harm cause by a right hook accident disproportionately falls on the rider of a bicycle; in fact, it is rare for a driver of a car to sustain even minor injuries in these instances. At the same time, most of these crashes are blamed on the drivers who may act in an aggressive or even negligent manner when passing a bicyclist and making a turn. In the end, an at-fault driver is rarely hurt in a right hook but an innocent bicyclist may face debilitating or fatal injuries.
Right hook accidents can be difficult to sort out and may need to be litigated with the help of a personal injury attorney if you want to obtain the relief a victim deserves. Often, injuries that seem minor at first may be more complex than originally believed and therefore it may be hard for a victim to understand the extent of her damages in the days or weeks after a crash. If you were hurt or if someone you love was injured or killed in a Chicago right hook bicycle accident, make sure you act in a timely manner so that your claim is preserved and your right to seek relief is protected.
Prior Blog Entry:
Who To Blame in a Chicago Parking Lot Accident, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published August 8, 2016.