Earlier today in Crystal Lake, an 8 year old girl was left in critical condition after she was struck by a vehicle in an attempt to cross the street on her bicycle, according to the Northwest Herald. Subsequently, the child suffered a severe head injury and was immediately rushed into surgery. While the specifics of this Suburban Chicago bicycle accident are unknown, investigative officials have stated that the child was not wearing a helmet.
Needless to say, Illinois car accidents involving bicycles are especially prevalent in the summer months, just as thousands of children are being let out of school for the year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicyclists ages 14 and younger account for twenty-one percent of those injured in motor vehicle accidents. The threat of these accidents becomes even more sizeable when the bicyclist fails to wear a safety helmet.
Given that only half of all known bicyclists wear a helmet, according Consumer Product Safety Commission, it is no surprise that accidents and fatalities have increased among non-users. The rationale behind helmet use is to prevent head injury by minimizing and cushioning impact in the event of an accident. The CPSC recommends that cyclists not only purchase a helmet, but correctly wear it as well. Correct helmet use includes: wearing the helmet flat on top of your head (opposed to tilted back), snug fit, a clear unobstructed vision line, and finally, chin and buckle straps must be securely fastened.
Our Illinois accident attorneys remind cyclists and motorists to adhere to both vehicle and bicycle safety laws. It is important to remember that cyclists have the same rights and duties as motorists. In accordance with the Illinois Vehicle Code, both motorists and cyclists should be aware of these common rules. For instance, a cyclist must ride as close as possible to the right curb or edge of the road, except when passing another bike, making a left or right turn, or avoiding unsafe conditions (i.e. pedestrians, animals, debris, potholes). In addition, while Illinois has not established a law requiring the use of helmets while operating a bicycle, it is strongly encouraged to protect your safety.