Articles Posted in Chicago Bicycle Accident

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Cycling is a great way to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors, especially during these beautiful fall months. With less impact on your knees and lower body, many people choose bicycles as their primary means of exercise, and there are a multitude of other benefits to riding a bike as well. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that cyclists are far less visible than the vehicles they share the road with, and have virtually nothing to protect them from serious injury in the event of a bicycle accident. With our days getting shorter, and with visibility getting harder to come by on Chicago-area roads, the fall is a time to be especially cautious. (BicycleInfo)
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A growing number of people across the United States are now regularly engaging in cycling, whether it be for transportation, exercise, or simply for casual leisure. However, many riders tend to overestimate their ability to be seen and heard by the vehicles they share the road with. As our days continue to grow shorter, lack of visibility can become a major factor in bicycle accidents; this make the fall a time for all cyclists to be especially cautious.
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The month of February is certainly not ideal for riding a bicycle, especially if you live in Chicago, but believe it or not spring is just around the corner. Our lawyers thought it would be best to keep the ball rolling with some helpful information on bicycle safety.

Some 20 million bicycles are sold each year in the United States, and during the spring and summer, Chicago is an especially bike crazed city. While it’s true that bicycles are a low impact, fun way to get and stay healthy, they are not always easy to see, especially when riding in urban areas full of blind spots and busy streets. In 2011, 677 bicyclists lost their lives in motor vehicle-bicycle traffic accidents, and another 50,000 were seriously injured. In a time of technological innovation, increased regulation, and cutting edge safety measures, bicycling is one of the few areas where we have seen a rise in total fatalities over the past few years. (League of American Bicyclists)
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In general, a bicycle is a low impact exercise. That means bikers can get many tremendous benefits while subjecting their bodies to minimal wear and tear. This is one of the reasons why cycling is so popular, and why 30% of the American population owns a bike.

The good news is that cycling is getting safer; since 1995, the number of fatalities from bicycle accidents has dropped nearly 20%. However, we aren’t out of the woods yet. 17,000 cyclists are killed and injured in road accidents every year, and that is still far too many individuals. 75% of fatal collisions happen in urban areas, and 80% of all biking accidents occur in broad daylight, with clear visibility. Living in Chicago, we need to be especially cognizant of the bicycles we share the road with, and take measures to ensure that everyone remains safe. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
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Roughly 20 million bicycles are sold each year in the United States, and they are especially prevalent in the City of Chicago. While bikes are a low impact, fun way to stay healthy, they are not always easy for other drivers to see, especially when riding in blind spots or quickly crossing a street. In 2011 (the most recent year in which data was available), 677 people lost their lives in bicycle accidents (https://www.levinperconti.com/lawyer-attorney-1090354.html), and another 50,000 were seriously injured. In a time of technological innovation, increased regulation, and cutting edge safety measures, bicycling is one of the few areas where we have seen a rise in total fatalities over the past few years. (League of American Bicyclists)
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Nearly 700 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2011 (the most recent year for which statistics were available), and almost 50,000 additional people were sent to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries. As a Chicago based personal injury law firm, our attorneys have experience handling all sorts of pedestrian and bicycle personal injury cases, and we know that bike accidents are far more likely to occur in urban areas. That’s why we are committed to ensuring our clients’ rights are protected, and their hardships are compensated for. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
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Whether cycling for fitness, recreation, or just to get to work, thousands of people take to our roadways and sidewalks every day with their bicycles. When riding, the law affords these cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motorized passenger vehicles, and our lawyers encourage all road users to respect each other in order to facilitate a transportation environment that is safer for all of us.

Still, if we are to increase bicycle safety in Illinois and the rest of the United States, we can’t pretend that cyclists and passenger vehicles are one in the same. Cyclists are far less visible, far less protected, and far more susceptible to serious traumatic injury than their motor vehicle counterparts. Because of these differences, it is especially important for bicyclists to take an active role in keeping themselves safe and our attorneys have come up with a few tips aimed at doing just that. Below is information on five of the most common types of bicycle accidents, and tips on how they can be avoided:
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Today, a Pope County jury officially awarded $1.2 million in compensation to the family of a 13-year-old boy who was killed while cycling in 2007. According to reports, the boy was riding his bike near Golconda and was passing through an intersection when he collided with a Mercy Regional Emergency Medical Service ambulance. The attorney for the plaintiff argued that the emergency vehicle had been traveling over the speed limit at the time of the accident, despite the fact that it was neither carrying a patient, nor responding to an emergency, and added that the driver had failed to exercise proper caution in order to avoid the collision. A judge approved the verdict last week, settling the trial, which has spanned some 7 years. (The Chicago Sun Times; The Associated Press)
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According to consumer market data from the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA), during the 2012 fiscal year (the most recent year in which data has been made available), 18.7 million bicycles were sold in the United States. A huge portion of our country’s population has taken to recreational cycling as a means of have fun, enjoying the outdoors and staying in shape. Looking at the statistics, it’s clear that this number will only continue to swell, and with a growing number of cyclists now sharing the road with automobiles, we can expect to see a noticeable increase in bicycle accidents.

Many experienced cyclists make the mistake of dismissing traffic injuries and fatalities involving bicyclists as something that happens to other people; less experienced people. However, it is rarely that simple. In any given year, almost 800 bicyclists are killed in a collision with an automobile, and it is estimated that some 515,000 emergency hospital visits stem from bicycle related injuries. These statistics don’t show that 515,000 people are irresponsible or unskilled cyclists, they prove that these accidents can and do happen to anyone. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

This bares even more truth in the busy streets of Chicago, where it seems like everyone is rushing to get to one place or another. Just as pedestrians are substantially more likely to be injured or killed by a vehicle in the city, bicyclists also assume a much greater risk in an urban environment. When cycling near traffic, it is important to never assume that a driver sees you, and always be ready to take evasive action to avoid a collision. In many cases, bicyclists are just as likely to go unseen on the road as motorcyclists, and to make matters worse, they don’t benefit from the sound of an engine as a means of alerting drivers of their presence.

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Riding a bicycle is a great way to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors. With less impact on your knees and lower body, many people choose bicycles as their primary means of exercise, and there are a multitude of other benefits to riding a bike. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that cyclists are far less visible than the vehicles they share the road with, and have virtually nothing to protect them from serious injury in the event of a bicycle accident. While 38,000 bicycle accident injuries is a big number already, it’s likely that the majority of these accidents go unreported. With our days getting shorter, and visibility getting worse on afternoon roads, the fall is a time to be especially cautious. (BicycleInfo)

On Wednesday morning, a Naperville cyclist was killed after being struck by a pickup truck. According to reports from police, the vehicle hit the victim as she was attempting to cross the street near the intersection of Diehl Road and Freedom Drive. The Naperville Fire Department immediately transported the woman to nearby Edward Hospital, but were unable to resuscitate her. Currently, the investigation remains open, and charges have not yet been filed. “There were possibly several different factors involved,” said one official. “But it’s a big, spread out intersection and obviously very busy.” A traffic accident reconstruction unit will continue to study the crash moving forward. (Chicago Tribune)

Our lawyers want to remind our readers to respect one another and share the road. Whether it is daytime, dawn, dusk, nighttime, or in unfavorable weather conditions, make sure to always see and be seen. If you are a cyclist, wear something that reflects light, or use flashing lights to make yourself known to the automobiles around you. Never assume that just because you can see a driver, he or she can see you. If you are a driver, always keep an eye out for bicyclists in your blind spots and at intersections, and slow down when passing a bicyclist on the road. In urban centers such as Chicago, it is also especially important that drivers look before they open their doors when parking on the side of a street. Parked cars opening their doors abruptly is a frequent cause of accidents, as it forced bicyclists to swerve into traffic to avoid hitting your vehicle. All of these things are just the tip of the iceberg, but to find out more about bicycle safety, visit www.NHTSA.gov.