Bicycling has become a popular activity for millions of people for a variety of reasons which include maintaining an active lifestyle, its use as an alternative means of transportation and the desire to compete against other cyclists. Illinois is a dangerous place to be for bicyclists, however, and the limited protection that is available for cyclists leaves them vulnerable in the event that negligent motorists fail to respect their right to share the road. The Illinois bicycle accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are the state leaders when it comes to protecting the rights of bicyclists and maximizing the amount of compensation victims receive from their lawsuits.
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Statistics Label Illinois among Most Dangerous Places for Bicyclists
In a report released in 2014, Illinois was rated as the fifth most deadly state in the country for bicyclists to traverse, which is a shame; considering that the state is home to thousands of miles of bike trails and numerous bicycle friendly cities. The state’s urban population skews the data slightly— Illinois is ranked 12th when considering average number of deaths per one million residents, but injury statistics are still worrisome and exhibit the need for change.
In 2013, there were 3,624 accidents involving bicycles and 30 fatalities. 3,353 of the accidents resulted in injuries to the bicyclist, which is nearly 93%. The fact of the matter is that limited protection places every bicyclist at risk and when a bicyclist is involved in an accident with a larger and more powerful automobile, he or she is almost always going to suffer some form of injury. Nearly 13% of the injuries suffered in bicycle accidents are considered “A type injuries” by the Secretary of State. An A type injury is one defined by inability of the victim to recover to his or her prior health.
The Primary Causes of Bicycle Accidents
An overwhelming majority of bicycle injuries resulting from accidents occur on city streets. In 2013, 2,734 of the 3,353 reported injuries occurred on public roads in urban areas. Bicyclists in rural areas are exposed to less traffic and this supports the idea that many bicycle accidents are caused by driver negligence rather than the bicyclists’ actions. Despite attempts in recent years by many local governments to reduce the risk of injury through the introduction of new laws and bike lanes, the number of accidents in urban areas is still on the rise. What are the causes of these accidents?
- Drivers following bikers too closely. A bicycle is entitled to the same space on a public road that a car is and although the law requires cyclists to ride to the right, motorists must provide a reasonable distance in order to avoid a collision.
- Dooring accidents. Our society has most of us in a constant rush and we are continually distracted by our phones, itineraries, music and other influences in our lives. Many bicycle accidents result when someone doesn’t take the time to check for oncoming bicycles before exiting their vehicles, and taking the extra time to look can save a life or prevent a serious injury.
- Failure to yield to a bicyclist when turning. This often happens when a bicyclist is traveling straight through an intersection and the driver is making a right turn, but also occurs when drivers are turning left. Failure to see cyclists is a common cause of accidents.
- Blind spot accidents. When changing lanes, motorists may fail to check their blind spots or miss a bicyclist who happens to be in the vehicle’s path.
The Severity of Bicycle Collisions
It is vital that you wear a helmet whenever you take a ride on your bicycle because of the strong evidence linking helmet use to higher survival rates and reduced injury severity. Despite the use of safety equipment, however, bicyclists are almost assured of experiencing an injury when involved in a collision with an automobile. Because you do not have airbags or mechanisms to distribute the force of the impact away from your body as most vehicles do, your body will absorb the full force of impact, which results in more serious injuries.
Many bicyclists experience severe injuries when caught between objects or thrown from their bikes during the accident. The types of injuries that are commonly reported from these accidents include the following.
- Broken bones. In the event of multiple fractures, compound fractures and shattered bones, surgery is often required to facilitate a full recovery and treatment can be expensive.
- Lacerations. If you are exposed to shattered glass or metallic debris or dragged along the pavement, you may suffer deep cuts that can pose serious concerns. Aside from the risk of bleeding to death, your open wounds may become infected and doctors may have no other recourse than to amputate.
- Injuries to the neck, spine and back. Paralysis greatly impacts victims’ quality of living and is a burden on their families, who must provide for them physically and financially.
- Traumatic brain injuries. An impact to the brain can cause micro-tears which result in the long term development of neurological conditions if not detected and treated early. These injuries may not present symptoms for weeks or months following the injury, and delayed treatment only worsens the long term prognosis.
The Illinois bicycle accident attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers know how devastating these injuries can be and it is our mission to make the roads safer for bicyclists by holding negligent drivers accountable. Our award winning team has collected fair compensation for thousands of clients who suffered injuries due to the reckless or careless behavior of others. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an Illinois bicycle accident lawyer to learn more about how we can work on your behalf to earn you the greatest amount of compensation available to you by law. Our services come completely risk free and you will owe us nothing if we fail to secure damages on your behalf.