Chicago Bike Share Accident Lawyer
Chicago, IL Bike Share (Divvy) Accident Attorneys
Bicycling is one of the most efficient and affordable modes of transportation available in Chicago.
However, bicycle safety is a concern for many citywide commuters because over 100 accidents per year are reported on average.
Were you injured while renting a Chicago Bike Share bicycle? Are you seeking financial compensation for your damages?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for injured bicyclists harmed by another's negligence.
Contact a Chicago, IL bicycle accident attorney at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Bicycle Accidents Serious Injuries
In recent years, the city of Chicago installed miles of bike lanes as a safer solution for cyclists traveling throughout the Chicago area. The bicycle lanes separate motorists from bike riders and dramatically diminish the potential for life-threatening bike crashes.
These newly installed bike lanes work well for the many Chicagoans, visitors, and tourists who take to the streets using bike-sharing programs.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC will help you with your Chicago bike share (Divvy) accident case.
Our attorneys can recover the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, pain, and lost wages. Complete our free online contact form. An attorney with experience in representing injured cyclists will personally review your case.
The Bike Share Program
Bike-sharing is not a new idea, just new to Chicago and the U.S in general. In June 2013, Chicago began its bike-share program, named Divvy.
This program added over 4,000 bikes to the already crowded streets of Chicago, with 400 Divvy stations located citywide.
The program provides an inexpensive and eco-friendly transportation alternative to city dwellers and tourists while reducing traffic on the streets.
However, while the intention behind the program is respectable, adding this many new bikes to the streets also means that there is a higher chance of bicycle accidents and injuries.
According to the city of Chicago Department of Transportation, approximately 100 bicycle accidents are reported each year. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) also reports that bicycling accidents more than tripled from 2010 to 2014, and of these bicycle crashes, 12 percent involved bike-sharing or Divvy bicycles.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the primary cause for this increase in bicycle safety is the lack of proper checking and testing before these bikes were released on city streets.
Additionally, many riders traveling at excessive speeds down busy streets and not wearing helmets also causes further bicycle accidents.
Safety Concerns With Chicago Bike Share Programs
Anytime bikes and motor vehicles share the same road, there are bound to be minor to severe bicycle accidents. Unfortunately, cyclists are more likely to be injured than the driver and passengers in the vehicle that hits them.
The Chicago Department of Transportation runs the Divvy program, overseeing the safety of the bikes. According to the CDOT, the bikes are sturdy and equipped with lights, reflectors, and a warning bell. CDOT also is responsible for performing routine maintenance on the bicycles to keep them in safe working order.
Riders must be 16 years or older; however, they do not need to have a driver's license or need to prove they understand the road rules.
While the bikes may be safe, there are still many other safety concerns that include:
- No helmets: While helmets are available at some rental portals, they do not come with a bike rental and are not required.
- Time limits: Commuters must return their rented bike to another Divvy station within 30 minutes, or the rider will be charged extra for the use of the bike. Riders hurrying to get to their destination may be distracted.
- Inexperienced riders: The streets of Chicago or any other large cities that have adopted a bike-share program are dangerous places to gain biking skills. However, those who ride regularly in cities are more likely to have learned defensive riding skills that help them avoid bike accidents.
- Congested roads and bike lanes: Chicago is one of the largest cities in America. The city streets are busy, from cars, buses, and trucks to pedestrians crossing crosswalks without warning. Drivers or bikers do not always respect bike lanes.
Many inexperienced bike-share riders are confused when maneuvering through the city, even while following designated bike lanes. This inexperience can increase bike crash statistics when bicyclists and motorists fail to follow Illinois bike laws.
Illinois Bike Laws
Chicago bike-share programs fall under Illinois state law for safe biking practices. Every cyclist has the same rights as motorists when sharing the road. However, they must abide by the state's guidelines for safe biking.
These guidelines include:
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals: Bikes are vehicles with the same rights to use the roads as motor vehicles. When using bike lanes, bicyclists must follow the rules set by Illinois motorists, including not crossing the double-yellow line to turn right or pass slower cars.
- Bicycles must have front and rear lights that can be seen for at least 300 feet to stop safely after dark.
- Riders must use hand signals when changing lanes or making turns. Failing to signal another cyclist or motorist in the area can cause motor vehicle/bicycle accidents.
- Riders must obey the speed limits and watch for pedestrians, including children who dart out in front of you. A bike crash can result in serious injuries to bikers and pedestrians alike.
- Bicycles should never be left on sidewalks: This is a common practice, but it's against state law.
- Motorists should also keep in mind that bicycles are not required to stay on the sidewalk, but they must travel in the same direction as other traffic.
- No riding under the influence of alcohol or other drugs: Bicyclists cannot drive while intoxicated like other vehicles.
- Wear a helmet: bikes do not protect riders should they fall off and hit their heads. A severe fall might result in traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, cuts, lacerations, fractures, and broken bones.
All Chicago bike share crashes are potentially very serious and could impact the rest of your life. The cost to treat these injuries will be expensive, but there are ways you can seek compensation.
Serious Bike Share Accidents Occurring Regularly
Approximately 600-700 bicycle traffic fatalities each year, with 46,000 bicycle traffic injury accidents in 2017 alone. Most fatalities occur in dense urban areas like Chicago, New York, and Boston. All of these communities have bike-share programs. However, so many bicycles and motor vehicles all share the same streets, increasing accidents and injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), sixty percent of bicyclists killed in 2015 were not wearing a helmet while biking, making head injuries one of the most common bicycle accident injuries.
Other concerning statistics note that 280 bicyclists were killed and 47,000 injured in bike accidents in 2015. Additionally, eight bicyclists were killed by bicycle-share or Divvy bikes.
Although these numbers only account for a fraction of the total number of bike accidents every year, we can see that bicycle-share programs are not without their dangers and pose further safety concerns.
Filing a Lawsuit for Injuries After a Chicago Bike Share Accident
Were you or a loved one injured during a Divvy bicycle accident? If so, the first step is to seek medical attention. Ensure all injuries are documented and photographed as soon as possible.
The next thing to do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is a legal team who has been fighting on behalf of victims in Illinois and nationwide.
Surviving family members who lost a loved one in a Divvy bicycle accident may also file a wrongful death lawsuit. Parties eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit typically include the decedent's spouse, child, parent, and grandparent.
Negotiated settlements and jury awards typically provide sufficient funds to cover all damages, including:
- Hospitalization costs and medical expenses
- Lost wages and future lost earnings
- Loss of familial support
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Grief, emotional distress, and mental anxiety
- Pain & suffering
There may be multiple parties involved in a personal injury case or a wrongful death lawsuit, including everyone who was negligent, including the city, bicycle manufacturer, road maintenance crews, and others.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics reveal that most bicycle accidents with injuries and fatalities occur in dense urban areas, like Cook County, between 3:00 PM and midnight.
Additionally, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that the injured party in a bicycle accident is most likely to suffer serious injuries that require medical treatment that include:
Any bicycle-sharing rider injured due to the fault of the driver of the vehicle is entitled to compensation. However, most courts find that the driver who injured the cyclists must pay the victim's medical expenses and other damages.
Since many Chicago area bicycle accidents can cause serious injuries, medical bills, wages losses, and other expenses can add up fast.
Anyone injured in a rented bicycle accident will want to ensure that they obtain legal advice regarding what damages should be covered by the driver's insurance company.
Bike Accidents: Safety Bike Lanes Can Be Dangerous Too
Although the city of Chicago has installed hundreds of miles of bike lanes throughout the community, horrific bicycle accidents involving Divvy bike renters still occur. Data shows that bicycle accidents involving Divvy bikes account for most bicycle-related injuries and fatalities in the Chicago area.
Some of the top concerns regarding Divvy include lack of helmets, lack of proper safety training, and not following traffic laws.
Are Bike Lanes Safe?
Bicycle safety is a concern when riding on roadways in Chicago. However, when bicyclists ride on designated bicycle lanes, they are often safer; safety is never guaranteed.
For example, bicyclists who ride in designated lanes face the following dangers:
- Often there is poor lighting and visibility at night or during other low-light conditions
- Drivers sometimes turn into cycle lanes without seeing the Divvy bike-sharing rider first
- A car door may open in front of a cyclist
- Drivers may also turn without seeing the cyclist in the bike lane
- Pay attention to the surrounding area to identify any approaching car, truck, or other motorists
Even though Chicago has spent tens of millions of dollars on its Divvy rental bikes and dozens of miles of dedicated bicycling lanes, there are still many safety concerns for bicyclists riding these machines.
While the city works to improve its biking infrastructure, bike riders may seek legal advice about their bicycle accidents.
Is the Rental Company Liable for Your Injuries?
Most hiring companies are required by law to provide safe products and equipment, including helmets. If a company fails to provide safety equipment or if it is defective, the business could be held legally responsible for any harm that results.
The rental company may be legally liable even when motorists fail to follow safety guidelines to prevent accidents involving cyclists, like running through a yellow light or failing to provide a minimum of 3 feet distance between their motor vehicle and the bicycle.
Most bicycle injuries occur in the warmer months, which means bike riders are more likely to be on the road. In addition, there is a high rate of accidents involving Divvy bikes due to rental companies' lack of training and education.
Learn more about biking rules from our Chicago personal injury attorneys about receiving financial recovery for your damages.
Children and Bicycle Safety
Every year, millions of children are taken to the local emergency room with a mild to severe injury caused during a Chicago bicycle accident. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office has released data on fatalities of children killed while riding their bikes.
Data shows that, on average, five children are killed each year in Chicago when they are struck by a motor vehicle while riding their bikes. Other common causes of child death include drowning and suffocation.
Parents can take several steps to ensure the safety of their children during bicycle accidents in Cook County:
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times
- Teach your children how to use the bike safely
- Don't let your child ride a bike without proper safety gear
- Teach your children the rules of the road before riding in traffic areas, including stop signs and lights
Cyclists following safety rules can prevent bicycle accidents with damages, creating a safer environment. Unfortunately, serious bike-sharing accidents occur regularly, often of the most dangerous areas throughout Chicago for cycling.
Wearing a Helmet to Prevent Severe Injury
Although adults are not required to wear a helmet while bicycling, doing so can save lives. In addition, wearing a helmet can prevent short-term damage, such as concussions, head injuries, and brain injuries.
Some of the top causes of bicycle accidents in the Chicago area include:
- Cyclists running stop signs or red lights
- Drivers speeding or driving recklessly
- Tailgating bicyclists
- Driving while distracted by cell phones
- Drivers opening car doors without seeing bicyclists
Any one of these bike accident causes could lead to catastrophic harm if the cyclist were not wearing a helmet when the bicycle crash occurred. However, not just any helmet will do.
The Department of Transportation recommends choosing a safety helmet that meets safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, specifically looking for certification labels like "DOT" or "SNELL." There are even some helmets made specifically for bike-share programs.
If you or your child were injured in a bicycle crash and believe the rental company was negligent in providing you with equipment or advice to prevent injuries, you may be able to file a claim for damages.
The Most Dangerous Chicago Areas for Cyclists
According to statistics, there are specific areas throughout Chicago that are more dangerous than others for bicycling. Data shows that these areas include downtown streets with heavy traffic, State Street near Wacker Drive, and Navy Pier.
These areas are particularly dangerous for cyclists because of their size and population density. In addition, the high number of pedestrians walking in busy downtown streets means that drivers will be less likely to see cyclists on the road. Adhering to safety rules can help prevent injuries in these areas.
A study conducted by Northwestern University found that most bicycle accidents in Chicago involved male victims between 20 and 39. The study also showed that riders who wore a helmet decreased their chances of serious injury.
If you were hit by a motor vehicle while biking, our Chicago bicyclist lawyers could help determine the fault for your bike accident. Our lawyers have many years of experience in personal injury claims, including bicycle accident lawsuits.
Chicago Bike Accident Attorneys Committed to Representing People Injured While Riding Divvy Bicycles
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has years of experience working with bicyclists injured using Divvy and other rental bicycles in the Chicagoland area. We have successfully resolved hundreds of cases on behalf of our clients and can investigate and prosecute your case too.
Jonathan Rosenfeld encourages you to talk to one of our attorneys before you talk to any insurance company involved in the case. Our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys work on a contingency fee and only charge a legal fee for recovery for you.
Contact our injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Our bicycle accident lawyers can build a strong case on your behalf to ensure you receive adequate financial compensation to cover your economic and non-economic damages.
Our bicycle accident lawyers currently represent clients throughout Illinois in the following localities: Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Peoria County, Will County, Sangamon County, and Winnebago County.,