Bicycle Accident Litigation
It has been estimated by the National Sporting Goods Association that 39.3 million Americans, age 7 and older have ridden their bikes 6 times or more in 2012. (Natl Bicycle Dealers Assn, Industry Overview 2012: A Look at the Bicycle Industry's Vital Statistics, www.NBDA.com). With the ever-growing number of individuals on bikes, crashes account for a significant rise in serious injuries to bicyclists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 677 deaths of traffic fatalities in the country in 2011 were bicyclists. 48,000 cyclists were injured in crashes with motor vehicles. Unfortunately, the realistic outlook for cyclists is that sooner or later a regular bicyclist is going to be involved in a crash when on a bicycle, perhaps suffering an injury as well.
Like other motor vehicle crashes, an injured cyclist is under the same lawsuit filing deadlines as other injured parties alleging negligence on the part of another. Some believe that those who use bicycles for transportation whether it is for leisure or for transportation to and from work are risk takers or rule breakers. Many bicyclists do in fact disobey traffic lights and stop signs. Some motorists view cyclists as nuisances and a danger to pedestrians and other motorists. Still motorists are unfamiliar or do not understand what the limitations are for bicycles on Chicago area streets and roads.
There are many Illinois state laws on motor vehicle use for cars and trucks, but there are fewer laws specifically for bicyclists. For example, there is no law relating directly to a bicyclist who is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There is no law that requires the use of a helmet, just as there is no law in Illinois for a requirement of a motorcycle rider to wear a helmet.
The most common bicycle accident injury cases involve what commonly referred to as dooring, the left cross, the right hook, the parking lot maneuver and the overtaking of a bicyclist by faster moving motorist. When a bicycle rider turns left, he or she may turn in front of a moving car or truck. That’s called the left cross. The right hook is a right turn where a motorist is unable or doesn’t see a bicycle rider making that turn. The parking lot maneuver occurs when the motorist exits a parking lot or driveway colliding with the cyclist. In a recent Illinois jury trial, the jury found the evidence in favor of the motorist because it believed it was hard for the motorist to see the bicycle rider coming from an unexpected direction and the cyclist was partly hidden by an adjacent building.
For a bicyclist who is injured by a motorist, it is important to preserve the bicycle just in case. If possible, it’s important to take photographs of the area in which the bicyclist was injured and in most cases where injuries involve a motorist, a police report would be made available. Also, in bicycle accident cases, there are frequently videos that may be discovered that were in place for security purposes in some areas, particularly in parking lots that may demonstrate what took place.
Because there are so many cyclists on Chicago’s roads and streets today, it is important for all bicyclists to be careful and defensive when riding. Bicyclists must be aware that motorists are not always paying attention to bicycle riders and thus, they should be on the look. At the same time, motorists have a responsibility for safety as well. Motorists should be extremely aware of the dangers to individuals on bikes and should be driving alertly to avoid contact with bicyclists and to avoid the dooring accident, which often occurs by drivers or passengers opening the door into the path of oncoming bicyclists.
If you or someone you know or love has been injured in a bicycle accident in Illinois, please call us for an immediate free consultation.
Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago, Illinois area bicycle accidents for more than 40 years. Attorney Robert Kreisman often speaks to lawyers and other groups regarding safety measures for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, truck drivers and other motorists. Bicyclists should be very aware that bicycle accidents are frequent occurrences on Chicago area streets and roadways.
In any free consultation, a prospective client should also be aware of the advantages of settlement out-of-court compared to a jury trial. Damages that must be considered in bicycle accident cases include the value of lost time from work, medical bills, past and in the future, pain and suffering experienced and that may be to be expected in the future because of the injuries. Disfigurement, scarring and loss of normal life are also damage issues to be considered in injury cases. There are no legal fees for this advice.
With our years of experience in trying and settling bicycle accident cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online.