Since the right hand side of the road is where bicyclists travel, one of the most common traffic accidents involving bicycles is when a vehicle turns right and impedes or hits a bicycle. These turns can happen so fast that there is no way for a cyclist to avoid being hit or hitting the vehicle as it turns into their path. To make the situation worse, there is often nowhere for the cyclist to go, being trapped between traffic and the side of the road. These types of accidents can result in severe injuries that can take months, even years to overcome.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents Chicago bicyclists injured in collisions with vehicles making right-hand turns in-front of them. If you were injured in a bike accident involving a right-turning vehicle contact our office for a free case review. Your case will be personally reviewed by a lawyer who has experience with these cases and can advise you of your legal options for pursuing a claim or lawsuit against the responsible party. As with all of our bike accident cases, there is only a legal fee charged when there is a recovery for you.
Law Regarding Right Turning Vehicles
In Chicago, the Municipal Code is clear when it comes to right turns and bicycle safety. In Chapter 9-16-020 (f), the code indicates that vehicles that have bicycles traveling along the right side of them must be clear of the bicycle before making a right hand turn. This means that drivers must either wait for the bicycle to pass or they must be far ahead enough of the cyclists to make a safe right turn without impeding their path.
However, regardless of the law in Chicago and elsewhere that has similar laws on the books, these accidents still occur. One of the main reasons is that many drivers are not accustomed to looking to their right when making a right hand turn in a right lane. Rules such as “right allowed on red” where vehicles do not even need to stop at a red light when making a right hand turn has created bad habits of not even stopping before making these turns. Other reasons these right-turn bicycle accidents happen:
- Distracted drivers. Drivers texting or talking on their cell phones, looking at their GPS system or just daydreaming can forget to look behind them before turning.
- Blind spots. Even if a driver checks their mirrors before turning right, a cyclist can easily be hidden in their blind spot if they do not look over their shoulder.
Right-Turn Bicycle Accident Avoidance
Cyclists are rarely to blame in a right-turn accident; however, they can try and avoid these accidents by keeping alert and visible. Here are a few tips:
- Visibility. Wearing bright clothing, having the required reflectors and a headlight on their bikes can help make the cyclist more visible to drivers that do look before they turn.
- Keep watch. When approaching an intersection, keeping an eye on the car beside them or ahead of them can alert the cyclists to a vehicle that is going to turn. Riders should look for turn signal, brake lights or the right front tire to begin to turn.
- Slow down. As a precaution, slowing down before an intersection. This may give the cyclist a little more time to stop if a vehicle suddenly turns in front of them.
Get help from a law firm who has experience advocating for bicyclists injured in Chicago
In most cases of a right-turn bicycle accident, the driver of the vehicle will be at fault and liable for damages to the injured cyclists. However, there are many times that a driver may take off and not stop, especially if the bicyclist hits the rear of their vehicle as they make the turn. Even though the cyclist hit the vehicle, the driver should still stop. When they leave the scene, it is considered a hit and run accident. Cyclists should know that if they are unable to find the offending driver, they may still be able to receive compensation for their injuries through their own uninsured motorist policy.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers stands with you following an Illinois bicycle accident. Call our office 24-hours a day to receive a free consultation with an attorney who is truly committed to your case.
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