Chicago Sideswipe Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Were you sideswiped in a bicycle accident that led to your serious injuries or the death of a loved one?
Are you looking for financial compensation for your losses?
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 to recover damages and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Sideswipe bicycle accidents are not only dangerous, but they also cause extensive damage to the body. A single collision on a bike can lead to life-altering injuries such as brain trauma, bone fractures, spinal cord injury, or death.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents Chicago bicyclists injured (broken bones, brain injury, etc.) in sideswipe accidents. Every bicycle accident lawyer at our injury law firm appreciates the frustration an injured bicyclist faces when they are in an accident caused by a negligent motorist.
Our Illinois law firm currently represents clients throughout the state in the following localities: Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Macon County, Peoria County, Sangamon County, Winnebago County, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Arlington Heights, and Chicago.
Causes of Sideswipe Bicycle Accidents in Chicago
When riding on a bicycle in Illinois, even a slight brush from a vehicle that is easily thousands of pounds heavier can cause bikers serious injuries with exorbitant medical bills and even fatal accidents. Unfortunately, these sideswipe bicycle accidents are very common, especially in heavy traffic areas.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 900 bicyclists were killed, and almost 50,000 more were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2018 alone.
The average sideswipe accident leads to over $35,000 in medical bills, lost wages due to time off work, property damage costs for the bicyclist's bike and equipment, as well as other expenses.
This figure only includes the direct cost of treatment, not including any indirect costs that may be incurred by a victim or their family members after an accident, such as loss of income due to injury-related disability or death.
This small buffer zone to protect cyclists can be covered in a heartbeat by a vehicle traveling 20 MPH or more. Although most sideswipe bicycle accidents (and the resulting bicycle injuries) are not intentional, it does not make them any less dangerous.
Some common causes of sideswipe bicycle accidents and similar car accidents include the following:
- Wide vehicles: Trucks with large rear-view mirrors, dual-wheel trucks, cargo trucks, vehicles pulling wide trailers, and motor homes are all exceptionally wide and can take up an entire lane. It only takes a small move to the right to swing into the right shoulder or bike lane.
- Turning trailers: Semi-trailer trucks and other vehicles with long trailers can swing too wide or too close and inadvertently swipe a bicyclist. Turning cars and trucks at intersections are often a serious threat to bike riders sharing the road.
- Distraction is much too common on the roads today: Especially when drivers fail to yield to oncoming traffic. Cell phones, tablets, GPS devices, and even music can distract a driver just long enough to cause them to swerve out of their lane.
- Illegal behavior: Road rage, driving under the influence (click here), and fatigued driving (for more information on the role of driver fatigue in bicycle accidents, look here) can also contribute to drivers intentionally or even unintentionally swerving and swiping a bicyclist.
- The car's blind spot: Many sideswipe bicycle accidents are caused by the vehicle driver being unaware that they are in another motorist's blind spots.
- Reckless driving: An accident caused by a negligent driver often involves failing to follow the rules governing passing or overtaking a vehicle or bicycle traveling in the same direction.
What makes the sideswipe accident one of the worst types of bicycle collisions is there is almost no way for the cyclist to avoid this car accident and the severe injuries that come with it. This type of accident happens when a driver allows part or all of their vehicle to move outside their lane, rarely conscious.
There is no way to predict when this could happen, making it hard to avoid for bicyclists. The only defensive move a cyclist can make is that if they see a vehicle swerving within their lane or a wide vehicle barely contained within the lane lines, make a point not to ride abreast of these vehicles.
Bicycle Accident Injuries
According to the Insurance Institute for Highly Safety, many bicyclists suffer serious injuries when involved with negligent drivers in bike lane accidents.
Some of the most catastrophic injuries sustained in bike accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Total or permanent paralysis including paraplegia, quadriplegia, tetraplegia
- Crushed bones
- Amputations (dismemberment)
- Wrongful death
Many severe injuries and fatalities could have been prevented had the motorist respected bicyclists when making a left turn, changing lanes, high speed, or following road rules. Unfortunately, many cyclists are at a higher risk than drivers and motorcyclists due to a lack of protection.
Motor Vehicle Drivers Traveling Near a Designated Bike Lane
Many bicyclists suffer serious injury when traveling in designated bicycle lanes designed to provide protection. Unfortunately, many motor vehicle drivers fail to follow traffic rules that require them to provide the bicyclist with a minimum of three feet when passing.
It is not always an intentional act but one caused by insufficient training or plain negligence. Because many drivers do not know how far their car extends, they cannot be expected to give a cyclist a safe buffer zone. The same thing can happen if someone is driving too close to the curb.
This type of accident is more difficult because many do not result in actual contact with the bicycle or cyclist, but only being struck by sudden swerving into their lanes.
However, sideswiping can just as easily cause serious injury to a bicyclist, especially if they cannot compensate for the sudden change of direction.
Sideswipe Bicycle Accidents in Chicago and Illinois
Recently, a bicyclist was sideswiped by a semi-truck when he rode his bike on the right side of the road. The driver said that she checked her blind spot when she heard a thud against her truck. She did not see the bicyclist, nor did she feel a bump.
A few months earlier, a driver going 65 miles per hour on the Edens Expressway lost control of his car when he tried to avoid hitting another car.
His car bounced off the median and into oncoming traffic, where it hit a bike rider who was cycling in the right lane. The impact threw the rider off his bike and into a guardrail. He suffered broken bones, head injuries, and lost consciousness.
After inspecting the vehicle, it was determined that no mechanical problems or defects were involved in causing this accident. The driver was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and negligent driving.
Cook County Sideswipe Bicycle Accident
In 2019, a Cook County man riding his bicycle in a bike lane during rush hour was sideswiped by a driver. The accident occurred when an SUV jumped the median and cut off the bicyclist. The bicyclist suffered a lacerated spleen and broken ribs after being thrown 15 feet from his bike. His bicycle was totaled.
He was taken to the hospital in critical condition but was released the next day. The victim filed a lawsuit against the driver and the city. The defendants and all insurance companies involved reached a negotiated settlement for an undisclosed sum.
Sideswipe Bicycle Accident Involving a Child
In 2018, a child was severely injured while riding her bike after she was struck by a vehicle that was sideswiped by another car. The driver of the striking car fled the scene and has not been identified.
The bicyclist suffered wounds to her head, face, arms, legs, with bruising and swelling on her brain. In addition, she underwent surgery for injuries to her elbow and hand. She is expected to make a full recovery.
The woman driving the sideswiped car was cited for failing to reduce speed and yield to a bike rider in bike lanes. The driver of the striking vehicle remains at large, but her vehicle was seized after evidence was found that it had been involved in another hit-and-run accident two weeks prior.
At the time of the collision, bystanders called 911 immediately and reported that the driver had fled the scene of the bicycle crash before anyone could get their license plate number. Her family hired bicycle accident attorneys who built a personal injury case to investigate what happened.
When Reckless Driving Becomes a Crime
At what point does negligence become a crime? In some cases, the bicyclist was cycling against traffic. Other times, it's because of a bike pathway or bike boxes at intersections.
Unfortunately, on many roads in the Chicago area, bike lanes are not wide enough to prevent sideswipes by other motor vehicles and trucks; there is not enough room for motorists and bicyclists to ride comfortably next to each other.
When a driver's negligence causes an accident in Chicago and Illinois, the individual responsible will face criminal charges. The penalties could include fines of up to $2,500 in addition to jail time if there were injuries or over $500 plus court supervision for a first offense. A subsequent violation within three years is considered a Class 4 felony with the potential for one to three years in jail.
Avoiding a Sideswipe Bicycle Accident and Serious Injuries
The best way to avoid bicycle accidents is by obeying all traffic laws and using common sense when traveling on the road.
Cyclists should be especially aware of their surroundings, stay alert, and ride defensively so they can protect themselves from an accident caused by another driver's carelessness.
Bicyclist Safety Rules
Follow these rules to prevent bicycle accidents involving severe injuries and death. The rules include:
- Provide an adequate distance of at least three feet between the vehicle and the cyclist.
- Follow Illinois rules of the road.
- If a bicycle lane is available, stay in it.
- Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
- Obey all traffic lights and signs.
- Wear reflective gear to ensure drivers see you.
- Wear a helmet for protection. Studies show that helmets can reduce the risk of serious brain injury by up to 88 percent. However, helmets are only effective if cyclists wear them every time they ride.
Motorist Safety Rules
Motor vehicle drivers must ensure the safety of all others sharing the road, including other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. The rules include:
- Remain alert to bicyclists and pedestrians at all times
- Obey all traffic laws and signs
- At intersections, do not pass vehicles stopped at a red light
- Use caution when turning right at an intersection where the cyclist may be in the blind spot of a motor vehicle or crossing an intersection from a driveway or alleyway where motorists may not see them until it's too late
- Do not make a right turn at an intersection where you can't see around the corner or if there are no sidewalks
- If lines of sight are blocked, do not pass any vehicle stopped at a red light
- Check for approaching bicycles before opening your door to avoid dooring accidents
Bicyclists' Rights on Illinois Roads
Every person cycling on the road has all the rights and duties as a motor vehicle driver, including obeying all traffic laws and signs and having lights or reflectors to see and be seen at night.
A cyclist must ride with traffic and not against it on one-way roads. A bicyclist does not have to ride in a bicycle lane if they choose not to ride.
Motorists must check for bicyclists before opening a car door. Many bicycle accidents occur when the driver fails to follow the rules when driving up to the traffic light, taking a quick glance into the side mirror, and looking over their shoulder before opening your car door.
Motorists should also check for cyclists at intersections where sightlines are blocked, or right turns can't be made safely.
Data shows that approximately one-third of all bicycle accidents involve a cyclist being struck by a car or truck. Most bike accidents are resolved with insurance companies paying the injured victim harm when traveling in bicycle lanes.
Illinois Bicyclist Laws
Illinois has many laws in place to promote the safety of bicyclists and other travelers on roadways. Sharing the road with cyclists is important to ensure everyone safe travels from point A to point B.
These laws include:
- Bicycles are vehicles, giving them equal rights as vehicles on the road
- Every person cycling on the road has all the rights and duties as the driver of a motor vehicle
- Use of cycle paths is prohibited except where necessary to cross railroad tracks or highways, including frontage roads. Do not ride on sidewalks
- Bicyclists must have at least one functioning brake system in addition to reflectors when being used from half an hour after sunset to half an hour before sunrise
- Headphones are prohibited while riding except if used with an iPod, iPhone, another mobile device, or radio
- Cyclists under age 17 must wear a helmet. For children 16 and younger, the fine is $10 for failure to wear a helmet
In some cases, a bicyclist can sue the negligent driver for damages that occurred if the negligence was found to be the cause of the accident.
A Chicago sideswipe bicycle accident lawyer could render legal help to ensure you receive compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages due to time missed from work, and pain and suffering.
What You Should Do After a Chicago Sideswipe Bike Accident
In the moments immediately following a bicycle accident with a motorist, there are some steps you should take to protect your right to obtain financial compensation in Illinois.
Here are some of the tasks the bike accident attorneys at our law firm suggest, and you should remember to complete them:
- Seek medication attention: This will help you identify all of your personal injuries, figure out what your medical expenses will be, and prove that you suffered them from the bike crash in future litigation.
- Avoid talking to the other people involved in the bike crash: These communications should only be done with counsel who understands the legal process to prevent you from disclosing anything that might harm or defeat your bicycle accident cases.
- Write down your memories of the bike accident: The case or settlement might be months or years from the event, so memorializing your recollection of the incident will help you describe your serious injuries and trauma long after it happened.
Use our contact form for free case consultation or call our law firm today to understand in more detail the moves to make after a Chicago sideswipe bicycle collision. Your bicycle accident lawyer can help you from start to finish and will not stop until you are successful in your claim!'
Get Legal Help for Injuries Caused by a Driver Who Sideswipes You While Cycling in Chicago
There is nothing more terrifying than being hit while bicycling on the road. Yet, Chicago bicyclists risk their lives every time they get behind the handlebars, hoping to make it safely to their destination.
Unfortunately, motor vehicles often pose a significant danger to cyclists - the drivers don't see you, they cut too close to your route, or they swerve into your path, leading to bicycle accidents. When this happens, you need an experienced and dedicated Chicago bicycle accident attorney on your side.
These sideswipe accidents are bound to occur, and when they do, it is almost always the driver's fault in the vehicle. Suppose a cyclist is injured after being sideswiped. I
n that case, they deserve to be compensated for their bicycle accident injuries that might be compensated for lost wages, medical expenses, and even pain and suffering in some cases.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is an experienced Chicago bicycle accident law firm that investigates bicycle accidents fully and makes every effort to gain the most compensation for the bicyclist's injuries. Our proactive approach can make a big difference in the value of the personal injury case and settlement to recover compensation.
Contact our legal team at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Our personal injury law firm accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you pay nothing until the personal injury case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.