Bicycle Injury Lawyers in Illinois
Illinois law allows an injured bicyclist to recover compensation for medical expenses, time lost from work, pain and disability. In a recent Chicago bicycle accident lawsuit, where a turning car struck our client, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers was able to convince a driver's auto insurance carrier that our client's damages were significant enough for them to pay the limits of the policy or $1,250,000 within 60 days of filing suit.
If you or a loved one was injured in an bike accident in Chicago or other part of Illinois, contact our bicycle accident lawyers for a free case evaluation. There is never a fee charged unless we are able to resolve your bicycle accident case for you.
Establishing Driver Negligence is Responsible for Collision
In order to recover compensation in a bike accident injury or fatality case, you must first establish that the driver’s negligent conduct resulted in the crash.
~ Eric O.
In some cases, there may be more than one person contributing to the accident, making determining who is financially responsible even more blurred. Obviously, when cars or other types of vehicles hit bicyclists, there is little room for forgiveness and most bicyclists hit by motor vehicles sustain serious or even fatal injuries.
As attorneys representing cyclists, we are familiar with the underlying causes behind many bike crashes including:
- Distracting driving
- Failure to yield
- Alcohol or intoxicating drugs
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Improper turn
- Failure to keep a proper lookout
These acts of driver negligence may result in crashes more commonly referred to as:
Bicycle accident cases can be complicated by the fact that when the police are called to the scene of a crash they may be unable to speak with a cyclist who was injured. Consequently, our Chicago accident attorneys work hard to aggressively investigate each case to secure evidence that may be helpful to your case in a settlement context or during the course of litigation.
While investigating bike accident injury cases, our lawyers regularly:
- Take recorded statements from witnesses
- Order police reports
- Take photos of the scene of the accident and damage to vehicles
- Order driving records from parties involved
- Consult with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction and engineering
- Review medical records and bills
Injuries Encountered By Chicago Cyclists
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over 600 cyclists die each year and over 52,000 are injured in bicycle-motor vehicle crashes. In 2014, 3,020 cyclists were injured and 27 were killed while riding in the state according to data from IDOT. A significant number (more than 1,500) of these crashes occurred in the congestion of Chicago.
In an effort to make Chicago more ‘bike friendly’ the city has installed 111 miles of marked lanes on city streets (see Chicago Department of Transportation). Unfortunately, many of these designated areas were added to the existing city infrastructure and are simply poorly designed or implemented. Consequently, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers counts bicyclists injured on bike lanes and paths as its clients. (Read more about bike lane collisions here)
Bicycle-motor vehicle accidents can be especially dangerous for the cyclist due to the obvious difference in size and protection. There are many serious injuries that can occur such as bone fractures, lacerations, back and neck trauma, joint injuries, concussions and even death. While the majority of these incidents involve adults, children still account for 11% of injuries related to bike crashes.
The most serious type of injury cyclists face is a head injury. Brain injuries are the number one cause of death in bicycle accidents and can leave survivors with life-long disabilities. Due to the significance of these injuries and the fact that many of these people sustain these injuries at a young age, it is vital that cyclists have legal representation to secure the compensation they will need for their future medical needs.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has experience representing people who have sustained brain injuries in personal injury accidents and knows how to secure the full compensation that the law allows. Particularly in cases where it may be difficult to quantify the extent of an injury, our attorneys may retain an expert in the field of neurophysiology to help explain the significance of the injury to a jury. It is important to remember that not all injuries to the brain injury are immediately apparent. Therefore, it is crucial for any cyclist with head trauma to consult with a team of medical specialists.
Bicycle Door Accident Injuries On The Rise In The City
The popularity in using bicycles to commute to and get around in congested business areas has lead to an increase in the number of “dooring injuries.” As the name suggests, a “dooring” injury occurs when the occupant of a car fails to look before opening the door to make sure there are no bicyclists in the vicinity.
Not only is it common sense to look before opening car doors after stopping a vehicle, some municipalities, such as the City of Chicago, have made such door opening precautions the law, by adopting them within the Chicago Municipal Code with the intent of allocating fault on “dooring” accidents.
According to Chicago 2012 Bicycle Crash Analysis, 61% of cyclists involved in a dooring accident sustained an injury and 8% of those sustained an injury categorized as ‘incapacitating’.
Illinois Laws Applicable to All Bicyclists
As cycling continues to grow in popularity, the Illinois legislature has enacted laws to both protect bicyclists from collisions with vehicles, but also to ensure that roads are kept in an orderly manner for all users. (See generally, 625 ILCS 5/) If there is perhaps one portion of the Illinois Code that cyclists should be mindful of all the time it would be Section 11-1502 which states, "Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle..."
In addition to this cover-all rule set forth above, Illinois cyclists should be aware of the following both for their own protection as well as the fact that their failure to comply with these laws can be used a defense in an injury case. While there are some very specific laws related to bicycle safety, below are some of the most commonly cited sections of the statute in bicycle accident lawsuits involving serious injuries and fatalities.
Sec. 11-1407 Opening and closing vehicle doors
Enacted to combat the 'dooring' epidemic seen in some congested areas of Chicago and other cities, the section states, "No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonable safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.
Sec. 11-1502 Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles
Yes, cyclists must obey traffic lights and stop signs. According to the code, [e]very person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to drivers...
Sec. 11-1505 Position of bicycles and motorized pedal cycle on roadways- Riding on roadways and bicycle paths
No, you do not have the right to ride in the center of the lane of traffic. The law states, "[a]ny person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a roadway at less than normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway..."
Sec. 11-1505.1 Don't ride more than 2 abreast; Stay in one lane
Sure taking a long ride with friends is great, but stay in a line. According to the statute, [p]ersons riding bicycles or motorized pedal cycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than 2 abreast, except on paths or parts of the roadways set forth their exclusive use...."
Sec. 11-1507 Lamps and other equipment on bicycles.
Just as cars need to have operational headlamps, so do bicyclists. "Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear...."
Sec. 11-1510 Left turns.
When driving a vehicle, drivers must follow traffic control devices and yield to other vehicles before making a left-hand turn. The same logic applied to cyclists. According to the statute, "...After yielding, the bicycle or motorized pedicycle driver shall comply with any office traffic control device or police officer regulating traffic on the highway along which he intends to proceed..."
Sec. 11-1511 Turn and stop signals.
"...A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the bicycle before turning, and shall be given when the bicycle is stopped waiting to turn. A signal by hand and arm shall need not be given continuously if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle."
Sec. 11-1512. Bicycles on sidewalks.
While some municipalities have restricted the use of bicycles on sidewalks entirely, Illinois statutes do not prohibit the practice in all situations. Rather, bicyclists in Illinois may not use sidewalks of if there are signs to the contrary. Additionally, "[a] person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the right and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstance."
Sec. 11-1515. Commercial Messengers.
According to the code, bicycle messengers in Chicago must have a liability insurance policy to be paid for by the individual, firm or corporation. "The policy shall be issued in amounts no less than the minimum amounts set for the bodily injury or death and destruction of property under section 7-203 of this Code.
Laws Applicable to Chicago Cyclists
While bicycling in Chicago, cyclists need to be mindful of portions of the cities Municipal Code that apply to them-- both for the sake of their own safety as well as an appreciation of the fact that the failure to comply with these regulations can be asserted as a defense by a driver in a bicycle accident injury case. Below are sections of the Code (9-52-010) that cyclists should be aware of:
(a) Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by the laws of this state declaring rules of the road applicable to vehicles or by the traffic ordinances of this city applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except as to those provisions of laws and ordinances which by their nature can have no application.
(b) The regulations in the traffic code applicable to bicycles shall apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any roadway or public sidewalk or upon any public path set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, subject to those exceptions stated herein.
(c) Whenever authorized signs are erected indicating that no right or left turn or turn in the opposite direction is permitted, no person operating a bicycle shall disobey the direction of any such sign unless he dismounts from the bicycle to make the turn, in which event he shall then obey the regulations applicable to pedestrians.
(d) Every person convicted of a violation of any provision of this chapter regulating bicycles shall be fined $25.00.
(Added Coun. J. 7-12-90, p. 18634)
9-52-020. Riding bicycles on sidewalks and certain roadways.
(a) No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district.
(b) No person 12 or more years of age shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in any district, unless such sidewalk has been officially designated and marked as a bicycle route.
(c) Bicycles shall not be operated on Lake Shore Drive or on any roadway where the operation of bicycles has been prohibited and signs have been erected indicating such prohibition.
(d) Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You After a Bicycle Accident
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has successfully resolved hundreds of bicycle accident cases for cyclists injured in and around the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois. Illinois law affords an injured bicyclist to recover compensation for the following elements of damages:
- Medical Expenses: including past and future care. This may include bills related to: ambulance, emergency room, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, medications and even care at a long-term care facility if your require it.
- Pain and Suffering: from the time of the incident through the time the injury is resolved
- Lost Wages: When a cyclist cannot work or return to his or her employment at the time of the accident, he / may recover lost wages. This extends to situations where a bicycle cannot return back to his or her pre-injury profession.
- Property Damages: a cyclist may recover compensation for damage to his bicycle and gear damaged in an incident caused by a negligent driver
- Wrongful Death: The family of a bicyclist killed in an accident can pursue compensation for their losses under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. This includes loss of financial and emotional support the decedent provided.
25% of fatal and non-fatal bike accidents in Chicago involve a drivers who flees the scene! (See 2012 Bicycle Crash Analysis) Our law firm can provide legal help for those who are victim to a hit-and-run bicycle accident or for those hit by a driver without insurance. Even though bicyclists may have sustained injuries when they were not in a car, they may be entitled to pursue an under- or uninsured motorist claim against their automobile insurance company. Our Illinois accident lawyers can help decide the best solution and course of action to take in your case.
While no one can anticipate getting injured in a bicycle crash, the steps you take following an incident can have a direct outcome on your ability to recover from the party responsible for your accident. As a law firm committed to protecting the legal rights of cyclists injured in Chicago, our focus is to get you the maximum compensation for your case. Complete our case intake form now to arrange for a free consultation.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is committed to educating injured bicyclists regarding their legal rights under Illinois law. Please review the resources we’ve assemble below for further information:
- Free Bicycle Accident Guidebook
- Bicycle Accident FAQ’s
- Valuation of Bicycle Accident Cases in Illinois
The material on this page was written and updated by attorney Jonathan Rosenfeld.