The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that nearly 60,000 bicyclists per year are injured in accidents involving motor vehicles, and about 900 per year lose their lives. It’s also estimated that nearly 75% of accidents involving bicyclists and cars occur near intersections and driveways. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident due to another’s negligence, our attorneys are here for you every step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.
In 2018 – the most recent year for which data is available – over 8,400 bicycle accidents occurred in Illinois, and about 6,100 of them (nearly 75%) occurred in Cook County. In addition, about 85% of all pedestrian and bicycle accidents in the state occur in Chicago.
Legal claims for bicycle accident injuries must determine who was responsible for the accident and whether direct negligence was involved; types of negligence by a motorist in a bicycle accident include distracted driving, intoxicated driving, or driver error.
There are four elements of negligence which must be shown for an injured bicyclist to be compensated for his/her damages: duty, breach, causation, and damages. These can be summarized in two main points:
- A person or entity breached a duty of care which was owed to the injured cyclist, such as the duty to drive with reasonable caution;
- The breach of care was a direct cause of the accident and the cyclist’s damages, such as personal injury and/or bicycle damage.
When a bicycle accident is caused by a road hazard rather than a motorist, the responsible entity may be the city, county, state, or a public agency which maintains the particular roadway. Whether this entity is legally responsible for your injuries depends in part on the type of accident you were involved in:
Potholes – Potholes commonly occur for a few reasons: surface breaks, wear-and-tear over time, and the cracking or sinking of temporary road fixes. Public entities responsible for temporary road work are usually responsible for providing sufficient warning to motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike – such as blocking off the work area or placing warning cones or signs – and failure to do so may result in legal liability for that entity if a bicyclist is then injured in an accident.
Sewer grates – These can be dangerous for bicycles, especially when tires can become stuck in them and project the rider from the bicycle. Although many cities and counties have replaced these sewer grates with safer ones, many hazardous grates still exist in both residential and high-traffic areas.
Rail tracks – Rail tracks can be hazardous to cyclists whether they run along a roadway in the direction of traffic or across the road at an angle or curve. A breached duty of care for rail tracks commonly involves failure to properly maintain these tracks in a way that does not pose unreasonable danger to others, which may fall onto a public entity responsible for maintaining them.
Remember: as a bicyclist, there are laws which apply to you too, and you must have been following the laws when the accident occurred in order to have a viable case against the person responsible for your accident. Here are some bicyclist-specific laws in Illinois, most of which come from Chapter 11 of the Illinois Vehicle Code:
- A bicycle should not be used to carry more people than it’s intended to carry.
- Bicyclists moving at or less than the speed of traffic should ride as close to the right-hand edge or curb as possible.
- Bicyclists should not ride while carrying objects that prevent them from operating the bicycle with both hands at once.
- Bicycles being used at nighttime should have a white-light lamp on the front which can be seen from 500 feet, as well as a red reflector on the rear of the bike.
- If a uniformed police officer believes a bicycle is not safe or properly equipped as the law requires, he/she may stop the bicyclist and the bike may be submitted for inspection.
- A bicycle can be parked on a sidewalk if it does not impede pedestrian traffic and parking on the sidewalk is not prohibited.
- Bicyclists on sidewalks must give the right-of-way to pedestrians.
- A bicycle may not be ridden on a sidewalk if it is prohibited.
- Bike racing is unlawful unless an event has been approved by local or state authorities.
- In a city of more than two million (like Chicago), a commercial bike messenger service may only be operated if the bicycles are covered by liability insurance.
- Motorists may not open a car door on the side which may impede oncoming traffic if it is not reasonably safe to do so.
We at Agruss Law Firm are proud to serve our fellow citizens in personal injury cases, especially when you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, and we are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you are fully compensated for all injuries and losses resulting from the accident, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Agruss Law Firm today for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will file your claim and take care of the insurance company, the bills, and the lost income. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, our personal injury lawyers are not paid attorney fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.