Illinois has the 12th highest fatality rate in the nation for cyclists, and each year an average of 27 cyclists are killed. Many thousands more are injured when automobile drivers fail to yield, other cyclists attempt to overtake them, or poorly maintained pathways cause riders to tumble from their bikes.
Ridership naturally increases with the arrival of summer. More people head to the trails for pleasure, to run errands, or to commute to work. By 2020, The City of Chicago is expected to have a 645-mile network of trails and bike paths for cyclists to utilize. While this will further enhance the city’s reputation as a haven for cyclists, this vast network creates a myriad of possibilities for calamity.
While cyclists can reduce the risk of serious head trauma in a low-speed collision by wearing a helmet, these don’t protect against all injuries. Indeed, cyclists are at considerable risk for broken bones, lacerations, contusions, concussions, and loss of limbs anytime a bicycle accident occurs. Some research has even indicated that helmets do little to protect victims involved in a high-speed crash. This was especially alarming research given the fact that brain injuries are the leading cause of death for cyclists.
Cyclists who are injured in an accident should contact a Chicago injury lawyer to discuss their legal options. Individuals can be held liable for blocking a bicycle path or lane, aggressively attempting to overtake a bicycle, failing to yield at intersections, or opening their door within a bike lane. These are all too common causes of bike accidents and personal injuries in Chicago.
In roughly 50% of cases, it is the driver of a motor vehicle that is responsible for causing a bicycle accident. These motorists can be held accountable for failing to abide by the Illinois Vehicle Code which spells out precisely how motorists and cyclists must interact with one another on the road.
While vehicle to bicycle accidents are the most common, other accidents caused by other cyclists, pedestrians, and personal pets are becoming increasingly frequent as more people attempt to utilize the city’s popular bike routes. These routes are becoming overcrowded which elevates the potential for collisions to occur.
Individuals who have been injured in a Chicago bike accident can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and disability, and damage to property. In Illinois, individuals have up to two years from the date of the accident to pursue compensation for their injuries, so it’s important not to delay.