As summer encroaches in Chicago, many individuals and families are dusting off their bicycles and hitting the paths along the lake front, or riding their bike to work instead of driving or taking the “L.” And as we become more environmentally conscious, and the economy continues to struggle, bicycling makes environmental as well as economic sense.
However, as more bike riders hit the streets in Chicago, the potential for bicycle accidents and injuries greatly increases. Bicycle riders must compete for the streets with other vehicles, such as cars and trucks, often resulting in serious bike accidents involving personal injury.
Therefore, riders should be mindful of the laws and ordinances in place in Chicago to prevent such bicycle accidents.
Chicago Bike Laws (http://www.chicagobikes.org/bikelaws/index.php), a website run by the Chicago Department of Transportation, outlines the ordinances contained in Title 9 of the Municipal Code of Chicago that pertain specifically to bicycles, bicyclists and the sharing of the road with other motor vehicles.
Title 9 treats bicyclists as vehicle operators. Though Illinois considers bicyclists to be vehicle operators, sharing the road with other vehicle operators, such as those driving cars or trucks, is not without its dangers. It can be nerve racking to ride a bicycle in a designated bicycle lane that sits between moving cars and stationary, parked cars.
Bicyclists must be weary of distracted or intoxicated vehicle drivers who may swerve into the bike lane, fail to check their mirrors before turning or continuing into an intersection, or may otherwise cause a serious bicycle accident. The consequences of bicycle accidents involving other road vehicles can be catastrophic.
Even if the cyclist is wearing a helmet and other protective gear, serious personal injury can occur when bicycle and automotive vehicle collide. Personal injuries include neck and back injury, broken bones, traumatic head or brain injury and, in the most severe cases, wrongful death. If you have been involved in a serious bike accident in Illinois, it is critical to contact an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 18 bicyclists killed in traffic accidents in Illinois in 2007. Most of those occurred during the summertime. Many more serious injuries involving bike riders occur every year in Chicago.
Cyclists involved in collisions with negligent drivers may require medical care, and if there is traumatic head or brain injury, extended medical care may be necessary. Knowing against whom to make a claim and recover damages, and how to investigate a claim, is not always clear, so it is important to contact a top Chicago personal injury lawyer.