Today, adults and children bike in Chicago not only for fun and exercise but as a basic means of transportation. In fact, the number of bicycle commuters in Chicago has increased by 150 percent since 2000, U.S. Census Bureau figures show. An estimated 1.3 percent of Chicago’s residents bike to work – more than twice the national percentage.
Unfortunately, as the number of bikes sharing the roads with cars, trucks and other motor vehicles rises, so does the number of accidents. These crashes can result in serious injuries and deaths.
The lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. are committed to promoting bicycle safety and protecting the rights of victims and their families in Chicago and across Illinois who have been hurt by others’ negligence.
We provide the following information to help you understand why bike accidents occur in our area and what legal options you can pursue if you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a crash.
To discuss your case, contact us today through our toll-free number or by reaching us online. We can promptly provide a free, no-obligation consultation.
The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. have extensive experience with seeking compensation, or damages, for injured victims and their families. We serve clients in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We know how to investigate and litigate the unique issues in these cases, including determining:
Our lawyers will thoroughly explore all available insurance coverage, including:
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we have established a strong record of obtaining results for bicycle crash victims and their families, including:
The compensation that may be sought after a bicycle crash that has injured you or caused the death of a loved one will depend on the unique facts and circumstances of your case. In some cases, a bicyclist’s own negligence may reduce or bar a recovery.
Statistics from the Illinois Department of Transportation show that accidents have steadily increased in the state in recent years, with higher numbers in Chicago and Cook County driving up those crash figures.
Consider the following chart:
As you can see, accident totals rose at city, county and state levels during this five-year period. The accident total for the state of Illinois was 11.6 percent higher in 2013 than it was in 2009. Crashes in Chicago rose by 17.7 percent. In Cook County, they increased by 13.5 percent.
Also, out of the total bike crashes in Illinois that occurred during this five-year period, 66 percent occurred in Cook County. Nearly half of the state’s total – 46 percent – occurred in Chicago alone (not even counting suburban crashes).
These numbers clearly show the perils of bicycling in an urban area such as Chicago, where there is heavy interaction between bicycles and motor vehicles.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our attorneys realize that each one of these numbers represents a family member or friend whose life was lost or permanently changed by their injuries. We strive to seek justice for those whose bicycle crashes were caused by the wrongdoing of others.
A study by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) found that bicyclists’ actions contribute to a high number of crashes. Unfortunately, bicyclists often make poor decisions or careless maneuvers that harm themselves.
The study looked at Chicago crash data over a five-year period. Bicyclist actions led to 7,415 accidents over that period. The most common bicyclist actions that caused crashes were:
However, the same study found that negligent and reckless actions by motorists also are a major factor in Chicago. The study revealed that motorist actions caused 6,755 crashes over the five-year period, including:
Indeed, many bicyclists are injured or killed because motorists fail to pay attention to bicyclists or simply fail to respect their right to share the road. For instance, motorists can cause crashes by:
In many of these situations, the underlying cause of the crash may be the driver’s distraction such as talking or texting on a phone while driving or by the driver’s impairment due to alcohol, drugs or fatigue.
In addition to bicyclist and motorist actions, bike accidents can also be caused by dangerous road conditions, including potholes, deteriorating shoulders or obstructed views. In these situations, a government entity may be to blame.
A CDOT study that analyzed Chicago crash data over a five-year period found that around 55 percent of the city’s fatal and injury-causing bicycle accidents happen at intersections. A review of the study by DNAInfo.com identified the following to be the most dangerous intersections in the city for bicyclists:
|Lincoln Park||Fullerton Ave., Halsted St. and Lincoln Ave.|
|Bucktown||Damen Ave., Fullerton Ave. and Elston Ave.|
|Wicker Park||Damen Ave., North Ave. and Milwaukee Ave.|
|Logan Square||Milwaukee Ave. and Fullerton Ave.|
|River West||Chicago Ave., Halsted St. and Ogden Ave.|
|Chicago Ave. and Milwaukee Ave.|
|Uptown||Montrose Ave. and Lakefront trail entrance|
Additionally, the CDOT study revealed that streets within the Loop and diagonal streets that take traffic into the Loop have the highest number of non-intersection bike crashes.
These six stretches of road had the highest crashes-per-mile (CPM) rates:
|Milwaukee Ave.||North Ave.||Division St.||0.7||70.1|
|Clark St.||Racine Ave.||Fullerton Ave.||1.6||48.6|
|Milwaukee Ave.||Fullerton Ave.||Armitage Ave.||0.7||48.1|
|Halsted St.||Diversey Pkwy.||North Ave.||1.5||29.9|
|Damen Ave.||North Ave.||Chicago Ave.||1.0||27.8|
|Lawrence Ave.||Ashland Ave.||Sheridan Rd.||0.8||25.2|
Despite these dangerous areas, there are still plenty of safe places to ride in Chicago, including many streets with dedicated bike lanes. Check out this Chicago Bike Map from Chicago Complete Streets to find safe cycling areas near you.
When a car or truck weighing thousands of pounds collides with a bicycle, the odds are never in the bicyclist’s favor.
Bicyclists in Chicago suffered 150 “A” type injuries per year in accidents between 2009 and 2013, a review of the city’s bike crash data shows. Five cyclists per year died from their injuries.
An “A” type injury is a non-fatal injury that ultimately robs a person of his or her ability to walk, drive or continue other normal life activities. These injuries include:
In addition to physical injuries, a bicycle accident can lead to emotional distress. A bicyclist who survives a frightening collision with a motor vehicle may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including anxiety and depression.
More than half of the 800 bicyclists who were killed and 515,000 who suffered injuries during one recent year were under the age of 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Every year, around 26,000 children and adolescents suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI) that requires emergency room treatment, the CDC adds.
How can we make sure our children are safe when bicycling? The CDC suggests the following tips that parents can pass on to their kids (and follow themselves):
To learn more, we suggest reviewing the City of Chicago’s “Safe Bicycling Guide.”
Under Illinois law, bicyclists are granted the same rights as motor vehicle drivers as well as other rights that are unique to them. Bicyclists have the right to:
These rights must be protected. If a motorist violates a bicyclist’s rights and causes injury or death, the bicyclist and/or family members have the right to seek just compensation for all physical, emotional and financial harm the motorist has caused.
In order to preserve evidence and ensure a claim is timely filed, it is important to get legal help right away after a bicycle accident. Contact a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard today. You can call our toll-free number or submit our online form. We will provide an immediate, free and confidential consultation.