Articles Posted in Bicycle Accident

Chicago’s streets are crowded with all types of traffic. From pedestrians to bicyclists to trucks, vans, and SUVs, it is rare to find an empty street in downtown. If you move to other areas of Illinois, you may find anything from school buses to motorcycles or even farm equipment using the roads on occasion. So what duties do you owe to others if you are driving on a road?

At the end of the day, it is up to every motorist to know their duties and responsibilities when driving and to abide by those duties. Failing to do so can lead to multiple consequences including traffic tickets, criminal charges, fines, fees, the loss of a license, or even legal liability for any harm that results.

Bicyclists are a category of street user who legally can occupy the roadways just like a motor vehicle. They have the right to ride where and when they choose unless an area is otherwise marked. This means that a bicycle can ride in a marked bicycle lane where one is present or otherwise can occupy a lane of traffic like a car can, enabling that rider to move through Chicago with ease.

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What is the big deal about riding a bicycle in Chicago? If you already ride, you get it – Chicago is a fantastic city to see and travel by bicycle and one that becomes more bike-friendly as every year passes. If you do not ride a bicycle, you probably have noticed the surging ranks of cyclists on the streets, at our intersections, and around the Loop and wondered what is behind the sudden and significant increase. Perhaps you have even given some thought to riding yourself or allowing your children to ride a bicycle.

Biking in the city can be great if you take the proper precautions to make sure you ride safely. Experts agree that one of the best things you can do to stay injury-free in the event of a bicycle accident is to wear a proper, well-fitting bike helmet. With literally thousands of helmets to choose from, how do you know what helmet is best for you?

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With schools across the city welcoming students back to the classroom, the number of children riding bikes will begin to increase. Chicago is considered one of the most bike friendly cities in the country, and many citizens use bicycles for transportation, including students. Students both in Chicago and in Illinois suburbs frequently ride bicycles to get to and from school.

Cycling for transportation is a healthy and fun option for students, but it is important for both parents and kids to do everything possible to remain safe. Here are some safety tips to help ensure you and children are safe this back to school season!

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For years, bicyclists have been able to share the roadway legally with motor vehicles in Illinois, allowing those who ride to do so in an efficient and often simple manner. There are so many riders in Chicago, for example, that the city has taken significant steps to increase rider safety by providing designated bicycle lanes, protected bike lanes, and even bike-specific traffic control signals.

However, a fatal bicycle accident last year had many questioning the legal standing of riders and wondering whether riders would ever be safe under the laws as they stood. In that incident, a man was riding a bicycle when an at-fault driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the cyclist causing a bike crash that turned fatal for the rider. Though the driver was ticketed for failing to yield, the ticket was dismissed in court when the presiding judge determined that the bicycle involved did not meet the definition of a “vehicle” under the law for the ticket to be valid.

In response, Illinois House Bill 5912 was introduce and approved by a vote of 164 to 1 in the House and Senate. In August, the bill was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner and is set to take effect on January 1, 2017. The new law makes it clear that bicyclists “shall be granted all of the rights” of automobile drivers when they are operating on roadways in the state and that means that their rights cannot be ignored by others.

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Chicago’s reputation as a bicycle-friendly city is one that is only growing as time passes. With the addition of miles of protected bicycle lanes, bicycle paths, cycle-only traffic signals, shared lane markings, and bike friendly areas, those who choose to ride in the city have countless ways to do so in a relatively reasonable and convenient manner. Unfortunately, though, even with all the additions to cycling safety that now permeate much of downtown, bicycle accidents continue to happen every week in Illinois and many leave devastation in their wake. From property damage to a bicycle to the physical injuries sustained by a rider, the damages from a collision may be significant and may prevent a cyclist from leading a normal life while he or she recovers.

In an urban setting, a left cross bicycle accident is a constant risk. It can happen when a cyclist riding straight through an intersection is struck by a motorist traveling in the opposite direction and turning left. In these situations, both the cyclist and the left turning driver have a green light but it is duty of the left turning motorist to yield until traffic is clear. While it may be easy to notice an oncoming car, truck, or SUV, it can be more challenging to see a small bicycle as it approaches, increasing the odds of a collision between a turning car and a straight riding bicycle.

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Often, people who spend time in Chicago but who do not ride a bicycle will ponder why there are so many collisions between cyclists and automobiles when so many steps have been taken to prevent those accidents. The addition of bicycle lanes, shared lanes, bicycle-only traffic signals, protected riding lanes, and bike friendly paths have led to a greater number of bicyclists taking to the city’s roadways annually but have not eliminated the accidents that tend to plague these riders.

Chicago has made tremendous strides in the last decade to make itself more bicycle friendly. Its efforts have been recognized at a national level where Chicago has been identified as one of the best large cities for riding in the country, a distinction that many cyclists in the area support. So why do bicycle accidents between riders and motor vehicles keep taking place?

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The attitudes of drivers in the Chicago area and the laws as they are written do not always reflect the same state of bicycling rights. While many drivers complain about bicyclists and state that they are a negative in the city, the reality is that bicyclists have the legal right to operate in Chicago and by doing so, bicyclists help to address some of the city’s plaguing issues. Cyclists ease the number of cars that drive in and around downtown, reducing vehicular traffic and lessening the amount of exhaust and pollution that hangs around the city. Bicyclists also get around without the need to find and occupy a traditional parking space which makes more spaces available for drivers in an area that can always use more parking.

The Illinois vehicular code is clear: bicycles can be operated legally in a lane of traffic in Illinois regardless of what other motor vehicle drivers desire. No individual has the right to limit the means by which another can travel and therefore those who drive cars, trucks, buses, vans, and SUVs must act in a manner that respects the rights of bicyclists. Failing to do so may trigger legal liability on the part of a driver and may lead to financial responsibility if a collision results and a cyclist is injured.

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When Chicago’s bike share program, Divvy, first debuted, it was met with a lot of fanfare. Media was present in the heart of downtown to interview riders and even to test out the program for themselves, enjoying or at least investigating a new form of transportation for those who live in or work in the city. Many were skeptical about the benefits of this program, though, expecting low ridership and a great inconvenience to motorists who drive on the Loop’s crowded streets. Others proclaimed that increasing bicycle ridership certainly would mean more deaths in bicycle accidents in Illinois.

Now, a new report has released potentially startling statistics about bike shares, including the fact that not a single bike share rider has been killed in an accident in the United States since these programs began.

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In recent years, the City of Chicago has taken steps to address traffic issues in the downtown area. As more people choose to ride bicycles, the network of bicycle shared lanes, protected lanes, and pathways has expanded, providing greater safety to those who ride and fewer interactions between cyclists and motorists. Many others choose to get around on one of the CTA’s buses as numerous bus routes crisscross the Loop, allowing users to get to their destinations without the hassle or expense of a personal car.

If you ride a bicycle, use a CTA bus, walk, or even drive in Chicago, chances are that you will notice a significant difference starting today and carrying through this weekend. After a lengthy construction process, the new Loop Link BRT is set to open on Sunday and some new bicycle lanes will be ready for use today.

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In many aspects of life, people often pay attention to the issues that affect them. For example, parents of young children are more concerned about schools in their area than are older adults whose children are grown. Similarly, workers who are employed in high-risk situations might be worried about on-the-job safety while those who work in an office setting may not give those issues a second thought.

It is natural and very common to focus on issues that you encounter on a daily basis, pushing to the side those that will have a lesser impact on your life. In Chicago, this means that many who drive a car or who utilize some form of vehicular transit around the city do not spend much time considering the safety issues that affect those who ride a bicycle: the common belief is that if they do not ride a bike, they do not have to know about the rules and regulations that apply to cyclist.

This thought is not only incorrect but also dangerous as bicycle safety has an affect not only on riders but on others who use the roadways, whether they are motorists or even pedestrians.

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