Bicycle Accidents Are on The Rise in Chicago
Since its invention and mass production, the bicycle has been a popular mode of transportation in the United States. From the young child who rides to school, to adults turning to cycling for exercise and family outings, bicycling provides many wonderful recreational opportunities. However, as our Chicago bicycle accident lawyers recognize, it also can pose risks.
Bicycling is Becoming a More Popular Form of Transportation in Chicago
Bicycling is not just for exercise and recreation anymore. Many people have turned to cycling as a means of commuting to and from work or school. They do this in an effort to avoid traffic congestion, pollution, and other problems associated with driving in Chicago.
Since 1990, Chicago has seen a doubling of bicycle use for commuting. Further, the city is continuing its efforts to make Chicago a more bicycle-friendly community. Local government continues to build a comprehensive network of bicycle paths that allows cyclists to travel throughout the city.
However, while many of these efforts are designed to provide “bicycle only” pathways, cyclists still must frequently share the roads with cars, trucks, and buses.
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As a result, vehicle accidents involving bicyclists are very common. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 19 fatalities in accidents involving cyclists in 2016. Further, 3,138 were injured. In Chicago alone, 6 cyclists were fatally injured in crashes with vehicles that year.
In September 2012, the Chicago Sun-Times published an article explaining that Chicago is the second most dangerous city in the United States for bike riders. Only New York is worse than us.
Since 2005, there have been dozens of bicycle accident fatalities in the city. Additionally, over 1,000 of those injured in cycling accidents have suffered “incapacitating” injuries—that is, broken bones or internal injuries that have left them either temporarily or permanently disabled. If you are dealing with disabilities after an accident, you should promptly consult a bicycle accident attorney in the Chicago area.
As the number of cyclists grows, the number of accidents involving bikes will also likely grow. And, like many other vehicle crashes, a large number of them occur at intersections.
Many of these accidents are the result of motorists who seem to forget that bicyclists are also legitimate and lawful users of the roads. They fail to look for cyclists when making turns or proceeding through intersections.
These types of accidents are exacerbated by excessively large and busy intersections, like the six-way intersection at Milwaukee, Ogden & Chicago Avenues. Additionally, bicyclists are put at risk by rapidly changing traffic signals that may turn red before they completely cross the intersection.
Another type of accident resulting from motorists not observing their surroundings are “doorings”. A bicycle dooring is defined as when a driver or passenger opens his or her car door into an oncoming cyclist. Our bike accident attorneys in Chicago work on dooring cases often.
Drivers and passengers are at fault in these accidents. They often fail to take the time to check mirrors or look back for oncoming cyclists when exiting their vehicles.
In many cases, bicyclists have little opportunity to react when a vehicle door opens. The injuries can be extremely serious, since the impact is comparable to a cyclist riding his or her bicycle directly into a wall.
Even low-speed collisions can have catastrophic results￼. Surprisingly, doorings account for around 8 percent of all bicycle accidents.
For obvious reasons, cyclists are always at a disadvantage in a collision with a car. Every bicyclist must adopt a defensive attitude when dealing with vehicle traffic.
Bicycles and cars generally follow the same traffic laws, but this does not mean that cars will always observe the appropriate right-of-way rules. Further, cyclists are harder for a motorist to see, when compared to other cars, buses, and trucks.
Bicycle Accident Injury Statistics in Chicago, IL
What Should I Do After a Bicycle Accident?
If you get hurt in a bicycle accident, it is important to do the following:
- Call 911 and make a police report. Do not let a driver talk you into not making a police report. That can lead to problems later.
- Exchange information with the driver that hit you. Photograph of his or her driver’s license and insurance card.
- Take several photos of your bike, the vehicle that hit you, and the scene of the accident.
- Obtain witness information from anyone that happened to see the crash. Don’t skip this step, as police officers don’t always take down witness information and you might need it later.
- If needed, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Contact an experienced bike accident attorney in Chicago. Do this before calling the other side’s insurance carrier.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents?
Some common causes of bicycle accidents are as follows:
- Drivers failing to yield to bicyclists in intersections
- A driver failing to observe cyclists on the road
- Motorists encroaching into bike lanes
- Bicycle doorings when a driver or passenger doesn’t pay attention while opening a car door
- Distracted or texting drivers hitting a cyclist
- Drivers failing to yield to bicyclists while pulling in and out of driveways or parking lots
How Can I Avoid a Bike Accident?
When moving in traffic, cyclists should do the following:
- Obey the rules of the road
- Assume that cars and drivers will fail to see you
- Give cars a wide berth
- Occasionally yield to motor vehicles under certain conditions when you don’t know if a driver has spotted you
- You should have appropriate protective gear
How Can I Protect Myself in a Bicycle Accident?
- Wear a properly-fitting helmet
- Wear bright or reflective clothing
- Use a bike light, reflectors, and reflective tape
How Much is my Bike Accident Case Worth?
While there is no exact formula, the value of bicycle accident settlements are often determined by the following factors:
- Liability. If it’s easy to determine the other side caused your accident, that’s good for your case. If liability is contested, that can affect case settlement value.
- Damages. If you have more serious injuries, like a fractured leg with surgery, your case is going to be worth more money. Minor soft-tissue injuries are worth less money.
- Insurance. This is often luck of the draw. It’s always better to be involved in an accident with someone that has great insurance with high limits. But unfortunately, there are a lot of lousy insurance companies out there with minimum limits.
How Long Will My Bicycle Accident Case Take To Settle?
- There is no set formula for how long it will take a bike accident case to settle. First, usually a bicycle accident lawyer won’t try to settle your case if you are still in medical treatment. It makes no sense to settle the case when you are still incurring medical bills. You can only settle your case once. You can’t go back later and ask for more money.
- Once you are finished with your medical treatment, a lawyer will move forward and obtain all your medical records and bills. Unfortunately, this can take some time. Medical offices and hospitals are notoriously slow when it comes to providing this material.
- After your attorney has your records and bills, he or she will put together a settlement demand package. The attorney might have questions for you during this process. Once complete, a demand will be sent to the insurance company.
- It will typically take 30-60 days for an insurance adjuster to respond to the demand with an initial offer. However, sometimes it can take longer depending on the insurance adjuster and company involved. Once an offer is received, the parties will negotiate from there.
- If the case resolves, that’s terrific. If not, a lawsuit would typically be filed and that process can take years. However, cases often settle during litigation, and very few cases end up going to trial.
Bicycle Accidents Will Continue to Occur
While the planned creation and expansion of bicycle lanes with buffer zones and exclusive-use bicycle paths and bicycle bridges will help Chicago cyclists stay safer in the future, most cyclists still have to travel with vehicle traffic at least some of the time. This is particularly true if they are using their bicycles to commute to and from work or school.
And so long as cars and bicyclists must share the road, there will be accidents, and bicycle riders—given their relative lack of protection—will always be at a disadvantage. If you are a cyclist hurt in an accident, you will need the help of an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in the Chicago area to help you recover damages to compensate you for your medical expenses, pain, suffering, and other losses.
If you sustain an injury in an accident with a motor vehicle while riding your bicycle, or someone you love has been tragically killed, you should consult with an experienced bicycle accident attorney immediately. He or she will help determine whether you may have a valid personal injury or wrongful death claim against a negligent driver.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., our experienced bicycle accident attorneys assist cyclists in pursuing claims against negligent drivers who have caused serious injuries. We know how to collect all of the compensation you deserve for your injuries, whether that means filing a lawsuit or pursuing a remedy through other means.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, call Abels & Annes, P.C. to set up a free initial consultation. You may call us at (312) 924-7575 or you may use the online form right here on this website. Our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys are available to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are no attorney fees unless and until you win your case by making a financial recovery through settlement or trial.
- Bicycle Dooring Accidents
- Bicycle Safety Tips
- Bike Accident Statistics
- Bicycle Accidents Involving Children
- Bicycle Lane Accidents
- Road Rage Bicycle Accidents
- Hit-and-Run Bicycle Accidents
- Sideswipe Bicycle Accidents
- Rear-End Bicycle Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents Caused by Aggressive Drivers
- Bicycle Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries
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