Attorneys for Bicycle Accidents Involving Left Turning Vehicles
Bicycle accidents are often caused by left-turning drivers who fail to yield or pay attention when making illegal turns. Generally, left-turning cars pose a significant danger to bicyclists and pedestrians because these individuals may not be able to see oncoming traffic before it's too late.
Were you hurt in a bicycle accident by a vehicle turning left into your path? 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 bicycle accident lawyer 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.
State of Illinois Bicycling Laws
Many bicyclists suffer serious injuries or lose their lives each year while bicycling when a driver makes a left turn while distracted. The United States and the State of Illinois laws clearly define when motorists must yield to oncoming cyclists when making a left-hand turn.
However, despite the bike law, bicycle traffic accidents involving a turning vehicle happen frequently.
Whether motorists are unaware of the cyclist, distracted or indifferent, or fail to see oncoming traffic, bike lanes, stop signs, or traffic signals, it can leave an unsuspecting cyclist with a serious injury or death.
If you were injured in a Chicago bike collision involving a vehicle making a left-hand turn, there is a strong possibility that the other party is at fault. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has experience representing people injured while bicycling in accidents involving vehicles making left-turns, just like your case.
Complete our online contact form for a free consultation with a Chicago bike accident lawyer to begin the process of getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Our team handles bicycle accident cases in the following localities: Elgin, Naperville, Cook County, Will County, and across the rest of Illinois.
Left Turn Accidents Involving Chicago Cyclists Too Common
According to statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 850 bicyclists in the United States lost their lives in 2018.
All these accidents could have been prevented had either the motorists or bicyclists followed the road rules. Unfortunately, many drivers are unaware that bicycles have the same rights as motorized vehicles when sharing the roadway.
Left-turn collisions involving motorists and bicycles, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are some of the most common and deadly accidents. The frustrating factor is that the two-wheeled vehicle or pedestrian clearly has the right-of-way in most of these instances, yet drivers still fail to yield.
Statistics on Bicycle Accidents Caused by Left-Turning Vehicles
In a 10-year study done in Long Beach, California, on bicycle traffic accidents, 63% of driver-caused accidents were either failing to yield, turning into oncoming traffic, or both.
Bicyclists are among some of the most vulnerable road users. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, bicyclists have an 85% chance of being killed when involved in a crash with a larger vehicle.
For a vehicle driver, the solution is simple: look carefully before making a left-hand turn. While bicycles may be smaller, they are not invisible. Drivers need to look at the lanes of traffic heading toward them. Check the shoulder or bike lane for oncoming bicyclists that are approaching the intersection.
Taking the time to double-check for bicycles can prevent the driver from turning in front of a bike rider crossing the intersection, or worse, hitting the bicyclist straight on when making the turn.
Bicycle Accidents at the Traffic Light Involving Vehicles From the Opposite Direction
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many cyclists are involved in accidents when hit by vehicles coming from the opposite direction. These crashes involving oncoming traffic are usually the fault of the vehicle driver hitting an unsuspecting cyclist.
A bicyclist traveling in the opposite direction of a left-turning vehicle risks being hit when crossing the intersection. Unfortunately, many motorists fail to identify the traffic light and calculate traffic speed to avoid hitting the bicyclist.
The motorist turning left fails to look right for oncoming traffic. As a result, the cyclist has nowhere to go but into the path of the car. It is known as "dooring" because it happens when a car door is opened into the path of a cyclist.
Regardless of whether the driver making the left turn failed to see an oncoming bicycle or removed their eyes from the road for just a moment, it can result in serious injuries and even death.
Blind spots and lack of attention are some of the most common causes involved in left-turn accidents.
Common Causes of Left Turn Accidents Involving Cyclists
A recent study by the League of American Bicyclists looked at 2,000 bicycle-automobile collisions between 2005 and 2013. The results were surprising and expected to show that left-turning cars are usually responsible for injuring or killing bicyclists in Chicago and across the U.S.
Using a statistician, they determined that left turns are responsible for more than 28% of all bicycle-related accidents and 25% of those involving fatalities.
The most common factors include:
- A motorist failed to see the cyclist
- A bicyclist failed to yield the right-of-way
- A bicyclist rode into the path of a turning vehicle
- Approaching vehicles fail to obey a stop sign, red light or make an illegal turn
- A car makes an illegal U-turn at a red light, stop sign, or median
Left turning accidents are one of the three most common crashes involving motor vehicles and bicycles. The other two are when a car passes a cyclist too closely or when a motorist opens an unattended door in the path of a rider.
All three types of crashes can be avoided with caution and attention to their surroundings. While it may not be possible to prevent all accidents involving left-turning vehicles, drivers may adhere better to the rules of the road if more bike lanes are installed, which can give motorists and cyclists a designated area to travel.
The Left Cross Occurs When Cars Turn Left
According to the NHTSA, motorists create a 'left cross' when they fail to see an oncoming bicyclist or car.
However, it is a common misconception that a left-turning vehicle has the right of way when it comes to a crash between a car and a bicycle.
Traffic signals and road signs direct bicyclists and pedestrians with the same instructions as motorists in most cases.
For example, when approaching an intersection with a green light, both bicyclists and motorists have the right-of-way when the traffic signal turns yellow, then red.
In many left-turning bicycle accident cases, one of two events takes place. Either a motorist fails to see the cyclist in time, or a cyclist rides into the oncoming vehicle path.
Some motorists make the mistake of thinking that they have the right-of-way or do not see the bicyclist because the cyclist is moving slower.
However, under Illinois law, a bicyclist is as subject to all road rules as any other vehicle on the roadway. It means it doesn't matter if they are riding down a busy street or stuck in traffic; if the bicyclist has the right-of-way, they must be allowed to cross safely.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries Caused by Left-Turning Vehicles
According to the Insurance Institute for Highly Safety, many left-turning vehicles involved in collisions with bicycles leave the victims with devastating injuries or wrongful death.
The common injuries associated with a left-turning vehicle crashing into a bicycle include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Internal bleeding
- Fractures and broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Puncture wounds
- Amputation (dismemberment)
- Road rash
- Cuts and lacerations
- Degloving injuries
- Total or partial paralysis including paraplegia, quadriplegia, tetraplegia
Unfortunately, the majority of these injuries are permanent. The victim will require extensive medical care and rehabilitation to adapt to their new physical limitations.
Some victims of bicycle accidents caused by negligent left-turning motorists suffer wrongful death. Family members can file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for financial damages when this happens.
Getting Legal Help After Being Involved in an Accident
Bicyclists and motorists must follow the traffic rules to avoid accidents where both parties are at fault. When an accident occurs, it is extremely important to know your rights and how to protect yourself.
What Cyclists Can Do to Prevent Left Turn Accidents in Chicago
Although most left-turn crashes are not the fault of the bicycle riders, no one wants to be injured in a severe car crash.
A cyclist can do their part to prevent these horrific bicycle accidents by the following steps:
- Wear bright clothing or gear: Cyclists should always wear bright clothing when riding on the roads and reflective clothing at night. This action can increase their visibility to vehicle drivers, helping prevent right turn and left-turn accidents and other traffic accidents.
- Slow down at intersections: When approaching an intersection, reducing speed gives cyclists a better chance of stopping if needed.
- Check for turning vehicles: At intersections, cyclists should check the closest oncoming lane for turning motor vehicles coming from the opposite direction. Move into the closest traffic lane, if possible. This action can improve your visibility to the turning driver to avoid severe injury.
- Be proactive in maintaining your safety: While you may have the right-of-way when traveling on the street or in the bike lane, give way to motorists and motorcyclists who may not see you.
- Follow traffic laws: While the motorist's responsibility is to ensure they follow traffic laws, bicyclists need to follow the traffic rules. Obeying the laws can ensure that the cyclist is riding defensively to prevent any accident by taking safety measures and getting out of the way.
- Stay off your cell phone: You will be more aware of your surroundings and less likely to be riding distracted, which is the leading cause of nearly all accidents involving trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Without designated bike lanes, the road can be a dangerous place. Passenger cars, commercial trucks, and motorcycles are involved in the most common types of bicycle accidents. In the last few decades, the City of Chicago has installed miles of bike lanes on major thoroughfares to make cycling safer.
Controlling traffic by separating bicyclists from cars and motorcycles has decreased car accident incidents in the community. In addition, these efforts in recent years have minimized cases involving serious injuries, property damage, and wrongful death.
Unfortunately, there is no way for a cyclist to prevent all left-turn accidents, even when they are proactively looking out for their safety. In addition, the nature of bike accidents typically results in serious injuries that require immediate medical treatment.
Having an experienced Chicago bicycle injury attorney on their side can make a significant difference when obtaining fair compensation for these injuries.
In addition, having someone that can negotiate with the at-fault driver's insurance company or even bring the case to trial, if necessary, can garner a more substantial monetary award for medical bills, lost income, and other expenses caused by the bicycle accident.
Gap Left Turns
You may have been struck by a left-turning vehicle making a gap left turn. It occurs when a vehicle is waiting to turn left from the other side of the intersection as you ride your bicycle. The driver pulls out as they see an opening in traffic, and then they hit you.
This type of car accident is extremely dangerous because it typically causes a lot of damage to your bicycle, automobile, or motorcycle and can cause traumatic brain injuries.
It is important to gather as much evidence as possible at this type of car accident scene involving a gap turn because you will need to prove that the driver who hit you caused the accident.
What to Do After Being Hit While Riding Your Bike
After being involved in a bicycle accident caused by another's negligence, the steps you take can determine the extent of the compensation you receive.
In some cases, the left-turning motorists will attempt to shift the blame onto you, saying it was your fault their vehicle rammed into your bicycle.
Call 911 and ask for emergency transportation to the local hospital at the accident scene, even if you suspect that your injuries are minor. Only a competent doctor with the best diagnostic tools can accurately determine the extent of your injuries and make recommendations to ensure you heal properly.
Next, take pictures of the accident scene and draw a traffic flow diagram to aid your case. Finally, try to take photos and videos, which can help you get the evidence you need to prove that it was not your fault in court.
Get an estimate for any property damage and medical expenses incurred due to your bicycle accident caused by another's negligence. Obtaining a police report from the responding officer can also help you prove your case, especially if you have been hit by a left-turning vehicle.
Get a copy of the police report and your medical records that identify other law enforcement records of how the accident happened and how your doctor's evaluated your injuries.
Call a Chicago bicycle injury attorney for a free consultation who can exactly determine what happened in your left-turn accident. Your attorney can determine if the motorist can be legally liable for their negligence.
In most cases, the lawyer representing your case will help you recover any lost wages due to missed work while recuperating from a serious injury.
Hiring an Illinois Left Turn Bicycle Accident Attorney
Are you the victim of a bicycle or motorcycle accident? Did you require medical attention due to your injuries? If so, the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help.
Our attorneys will investigate the bicycle accident case and review your medical records to build a strong case on your behalf. Jonathan Rosenfeld at (888) 424-5757 protects the legal rights of injured bicyclists harmed in bicycle crashes in Lake County, Cook County, Peoria County, DuPage County, Winnebago County, and throughout the Chicago area.
The law firm holds negligent left-turning drivers accountable for all types of vehicle accidents, including passenger motor vehicle crashes. Look here for more information on filing a personal injury lawsuit, recouping medical expenses through financial compensation, and reviewing our bicycle accident lawyer profiles.