The aftermath of a collision between a motor vehicle and a bicycle in Illinois, even at very low speeds, can be deadly. In 2014, 726 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes, with an additional 50,000 bicyclists injured by traffic accidents across the country. The small frame of a bicycle and the exposed nature of a rider are simply no match for the heavy infrastructure of a fast moving vehicle.
Biking for recreation and transportation is on the rise especially in metropolitan areas like Chicago. In these crowded cities, cyclists are at a higher risk of collisions as the vehicular and cycle traffic is heavy on city streets. Not only are accidents more likely in urban settings but the number of bicycle accident injuries are increasing annually with an increase of over 11 percent in the past 10 years. Presently, estimates indicate that one-third of all bicycle accidents involve a bicyclist being struck by a vehicle.
When Sideswipe Bicycle Accidents Occur in Chicago
Sideswipe biking accidents are entirely avoidable if motor vehicle drivers exercise caution and are aware of heavy bike traffic areas. Sideswipe accidents most often occur in two situations: when a driver is trying to pass a cyclist and when turning at intersections.
Sideswipes while Passing
Vehicles attempting to pass a cyclist often misjudge their distance from the biker. As the vehicle tries to move around the bicyclist, the driver fails to leave enough space and clips the cyclist, causing a collision.
Even the slightest scrape can cause serious injury to a bicyclist. A motor vehicle outweighs a bike by thousands of pounds and that excess weight can seriously damage a cyclist and her bike, especially if the vehicle is traveling at high speeds. The scrape can force the cyclist to fall from his bike or be thrown from the bike. If it is a busy area, the bicyclist can be placed in danger of being hit by additional vehicles that happen upon the scene of the original collision.
Sideswipes at Intersections
Turning vehicles at intersections pose a serious threat to bicyclists. Drivers can become too focused on their own actions or the actions of other cars to notice bicyclists in the lanes next to them.
When the motorist fails to see a cyclist in a parallel lane and makes a left turn or a right turn, the driver can easily sideswipe the cyclist who may be traveling straight or turning, causing serious injuries to the biker.
Avoiding Sideswipe Bicycle Accidents in Illinois
Chicago is a very bike friendly city and it is proud of its reputation as one of the best large cities for cycling in the country. In addition to many trails and paths that crisscross neighborhoods, there are over more than 200 miles of bike lanes throughout the city where bicyclists share a designated portion of the road with motor vehicles. The city has made a large effort to construct buffered or protected bike lanes which provide a barrier between cars and bicyclists. Residents and tourists alike can even rent bicycles to enjoy a day pedaling around the city. Chicago aims to continue building the city’s biking culture by creating even more bicycle lanes and making the streets as safe as possible for bicyclists to encourage this fun, healthy, and money-saving mode of transportation. Thus, as cyclists are only expected to increase in numbers, it is important for both drivers and cyclists to safely share the roads.
Tips for Bicyclists
- Always observe traffic laws
- Always observe traffic laws
- Never assume a driver sees you
- Use signals for turning
- Stay in clearly marked bike lanes when possible
- Avoid riding at night in poorly lit areas
- Wear reflective clothing
- Attach lights and reflective signaling to your bike
- Don’t ride intoxicated
- ALWAYS wear a helmet
Tips for Drivers
- Pay special attention to marked bike lanes
- Always double check your blind spots – triple check before turning
- If you have to pass a bicyclist, do so slowly and with extreme caution
- Give bikers the right-of-way
- Avoid distracted driving
Legal Relief for Sideswipe Bicycle Accident Victims
Injuries following a car accident with a bicyclist can be extensive and severe, racking up costly medical bills and forcing other financial harm on a victim. If you were injured in a bicycle crash, know that the personal injury attorneys at Abels and Annes, P.C. have the experience necessary to help you get the compensation you deserve.
The lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. are dedicated to the rights of injury victims and always fight for the best possible outcome in every case they handle. If your life was affected by an accident or if someone you love was injured in a collision, know that we offer a free case consultation without obligation to all victims who call us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442), locally at (312) 924-7575, or who contact us online. We have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your phone call and everything discussed during your free phone consultation will be kept confidential.
If you were hurt in a Chicago sideswipe bicycle accident, call Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a free case consultation now.