Were you injured in a bicycle accident and seeking financial compensation for your damages?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys provide legal representation for injured bicyclists harmed by another’s negligence.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
According to the Chicago Department of Transportation , there were 1,269 bicycle incidents in 2019. Of these bicycle injuries and fatalities, one-third occurred at intersections.
The number of cyclists on the road is growing yearly despite insufficient bicycle safety laws. While the growing number of cyclists is a positive trend, more people are getting hit by cars or trucks while riding their bicycles, even in a bike lane.
As a cyclist, however, it may benefit you greatly to understand the most common causes of bicycle accidents so that you can take a more active and defensive approach to stay out of harm’s way.
Positioning Is a Key Factor in a Bicycle Accident
One of the most common causes of bicycle crashes is the bicyclist’s position on the road relative to other motor vehicles that collide with them, such as:
- Dooring incidents: A bicycle dooring accident where the cyclist hits car doors open into the bike path. It is common on busy streets with heavier traffic that forces bicyclists to ride closer to parked cars.
- Side-swiping bicyclists: Sideswipes occur when the motorist doesn’t give the bicyclist enough room while passing.
- Rear-ending the bicyclist: Most drivers who rear-end bicyclists are not paying attention or are following way too closely. These crashes are common at stop signs and clear signs of reckless driving.
- Crossing in front of cyclists: “Right cross” and “left cross” incidents have the exact cause: a vehicle crossing into the bicyclist’s path at an intersection or merging lanes.
- Turning cyclists on their right side: If a bicyclist is to the right of a car at an intersection, they may be hooked by the vehicle if it is turning right. Many drivers do not check their blind spots before making a right-hand turn. Riding farther to the left makes you more visible, as the driver will need to overtake you to perform their turn.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understands the many causes of bicycle accidents, and represent victims injured in all types of crashes.
The law in Illinois requires that drivers provide reasonable clearance when overtaking any bicycle, especially involving an oncoming cyclist. However, motorists are not required to pass a bicycle when there is oncoming traffic.
Why Bike Accidents Occur
Our Chicago bicycle injury lawyers have noticed that most bicycling accidents can be prevented if drivers are more aware of their surroundings and act more responsibly.
The most common causes of bicycle accidents can include the following:
- Speeding: Excessive speed is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents. Drivers in a hurry have less time to react, which can be catastrophic for an unsuspecting cyclist.
- Weather: Many bicycle accidents happen during torrential downpours; sleet, ice, snow, or inclement weather is one of the common causes of bicycle accidents.
- Reckless bicyclists: Riding a bicycle does not excuse someone from acting responsibly and safely. Unfortunately, many crashes involving bicyclists result from the cyclist making sudden movements into the path of vehicles, failing to make themselves visible, running stop signs or stop lights, or acting in an otherwise aggressive manner.
These bicyclists place themselves at risk but may also put other cyclists in harm’s way if riding in a group.
- Distracted Driving: It is estimated that up to 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while behind the wheel of their car. Drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a bicycle accident than those who do not use this technology.
- Inadequate Surveillance: Drivers depend on their sight when driving, but there are many other ways bicyclists can become visible to motorists. Studies have found that many drivers do not look for bicycle riders when they enter streets and intersections, increasing the risk of a bicycle accident.
Safety precautions around other vehicles can help prevent accidents when drivers fail to follow safety laws.
Preventing Bicycle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many bicycle accidents involving severe injury or death can be prevented if both motorists and bicyclists follow certain safety precautions.
- Obey all traffic controls
- Identify hand signals when turning or changing lanes
- Yield to pedestrians on sidewalks
- Avoid cycling on the wrong side of the road
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings, particularly when turning corners
- Obey posted speed limits
- Avoid distracted driving, which includes cell phones, talking to other passengers, eating, or drinking
- Use caution when opening a motor vehicle door on the side of the street
Taking safety precautions before riding your bicycle may help reduce your risk of an accident. All states require bicyclists on the roadway to follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists.
Even though cyclists are entitled to the same rights and privileges as drivers, it is no secret that many car drivers treat cyclists as second-class citizens.
Types of Bicycle Injuries
According to our lawyers, bicycle accidents often lead to severe injuries for bicyclists.
Many cyclists who are hit by cars end up with the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Fractures and broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Dental injuries
- Broken collarbone
- Spinal cord injuries
- Total or partial paralysis, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, or tetraplegia
- Facial and skull fractures, including jaw fractures, eye socket fractures, and cheekbone fractures
- Wrongful death
Many cyclists involved in bike accidents with cars suffer from road rash due to skidding across the pavement.
Because a bike is much smaller than a car and the cyclist is mostly unprotected, the damage sustained can be serious.
Insurance and Bicycle Accident
A rider in a bike accident with an automobile driver could seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Accident victims often consider filing a claim because it can be costly to pay for expensive medical procedures and cover the costs of missing work while recovering from injuries.
Any motorist who fails to maintain awareness to avoid bicycle accidents can be held legally responsible for all damages when causing the crash. In addition, their insurance company will likely provide financial compensation in most bike accidents occurring in suburban and rural areas.
Despite the best efforts of bicyclists and motorists to avoid collisions, bike accidents sometimes occur. Both parties must understand their rights and be held responsible for any injuries resulting from an accident in those cases.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC has helped many bicyclists recover fair compensation through a personal injury claim, especially when a negligent driver caused the accident.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney to Resolve a Bicycle Accident Case
As Chicago continues to become an even friendlier city for bicyclists, it is essential to develop safe habits to stay safe on the roads and avoid fatal accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC is an award-winning personal injury law firm representing the needs and interests of countless bicyclists who suffered devastating injuries in bicycle accidents.
Call our law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for legal advice in a no-obligation consultation. Learn more about what we can do to assure you the most excellent chance of a successful financial recovery and how we can maximize the value of your case.
We also ensure every one of our clients that our services come risk-free on a contingency fee basis, and you will never be asked to pay attorneys’ fees until we have secured damages on your behalf.
Resources:  Chicago.gov