Lawyers For Walkers, Joggers & Cyclists Injured In Chicago Bicycle Path Accidents
With the use of bicycles increasing as people become more health and environmentally conscience, there are more people cycling than ever. To increase safety, many cities, including Chicago have put in more bicycle paths, those located off the roads, as well as more bicycle lanes on the roadways. Although these paths and lanes are meant to increase safety, there is also a danger of accidents when using these lanes, putting both bicyclists and pedestrians at risk to collisions with each other and vehicles in the area.
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Types Of Bicycle Path Accidents
Bicycle paths are generally located near roadways, rivers, lakes or through parks. They are used both for recreational use and for transportation purposes. Although they reduce the risk of being involved in a vehicle crash, they pose their own risks. These paths are not necessarily well thought out, maintained or supervised, giving way to the possibility of serious accidents.
Bicycle/Pedestrian Accidents. One of the major downfalls of bicycle paths is that many are not exclusively for bikes. Pedestrians also use many of these paths, with no designation for bicycles versus pedestrians. When a bicyclist hits a pedestrian, the impact can cause severe injury even death. In New York City alone, 11 pedestrians were killed by bicyclists over a 10-year period.
Bicycle/Bicycle Accidents. Another danger for bicyclists on bike paths is other bicyclist. Many bike paths do not have directional lanes, or even if they do, they are not adhered to. The impact of two bicycles colliding can be extremely damaging, throwing one or both riders from their bikes. One study estimates that 17% of all bicycle accidents are bicycle on bicycle.
Bike Path Defects. Another cause of accidents on bicycle paths is poorly maintained pathways. Once they are created, many local municipalities do not properly maintain their surface. This can lead to large defects that can cause a bicyclist to crash, or swerve to avoid a defect and collide with another biker or pedestrian.
Motorists Causing Injuries To Cyclists On Bike Lanes
Although bicycle lanes are a better alternative than bicycles sharing lanes with cars on the roads, they still have their own risks. Since the bicycle lanes are usually adjacent to roads, yet not separated, there is still high risks for accidents involving motor vehicles. There are some that argue that motorists may even be less aware of bicyclists when they are traveling in a bicycle lane versus sharing a lane on a road. This can be extremely dangerous in intersections and when vehicles are turning. Some common types of bicycle lane accidents include:
Vehicle turns. Many motorists do not check the bicycle lane before turning. Turning right, into or in the path of a bicyclist is a common cause of injury. Left hand turns are also dangerous as motorists may turn without noticing that a bicyclist is traveling toward them in the far left bike lane.
Dooring accidents. One of the biggest concerns in bicycle lanes is dooring accidents. Often cars are parked along side of these designated lanes and drivers open their doors into the direct path of bicyclists. This can result in the bicycle hitting the door, or swerving into traffic to avoid the door.
Intersections. The largest risk of accidents for all bicyclists is at intersections. Vehicles are more likely to be turning and not watching for bicycles in bike lanes. 55% of bicycle crashes in Chicago are reported to happen at intersections.
Bicycle path accidents can cause as serious of an injury as when riding anywhere else. Whether you are injured riding the bicycle or are hit by a bicyclist, the result can be devastating. Head injuries, fractures and soft tissue injuries are common that need medical attention and in severe cases, may cause life-long disabilities. Victims of these types of accidents deserve to be compensated for their injuries to cover medical expenses, loss of income and loss of quality of life.
If you have been injured while walking or riding in a bicycle path or hit while riding in a bike lane, you have a right to file a bicycle accident lawsuit for your injuries against the person responsible for the accident. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, we have represented many bicyclists and pedestrians that have been injured and have secured financial awards for them and their families. We invite you to talk with us about your accident at a free consultation. Our services are always charged on a contingency basis so unless we obtain financial compensation for your injury, you will not be charged a dime.
Resources for bicycle path and bike lane safety: