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Illinois Pedestrian / Bicycle Accidents – Facts and Figures

bicycle rider

Pedestrians and bicycle riders use the same roadways used by cars and other motor vehicles. When pedestrians and bicycles come into conflict – that is, collisions – with motor vehicles, it is the unprotected bicycle rider or the “man on the street” who suffers the most.

Pedestrian and bicycle accidents that result in serious injury and death happen more often than you might think on Illinois and Chicago streets. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports thousands of crashes every year involving pedestrians and “pedalcycles” (bicycles, tricycles, unicycles and big wheels). The vast majority result in injury, and too many end in the unwarranted death of a pedestrian or a cyclist.

In many cases, pedestrian and bicycle accidents involve a collision with a car because the car driver did not see the other person. But, if a bicycle rider or a pedestrian is injured because of a car driver’s negligence, the motorist may be held liable for the innocent victim’s injuries and other losses.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) reports its findings about pedestrian and “pedalcycle” crashes in its “2011 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics.”

Pedalcycles include bicycles, tricycles, unicycles and big wheels, IDOT says. A crash is “an occurrence which takes place on a public roadway, involves a moving motor vehicle and produces death, injury or (significant property) damage.”

The IDOT report says that in 2011 there were:

  • 4,978 total crashes involving pedestrians in Illinois, which resulted in 4,752 injuries (95.4 percent) and 136 fatalities.
  • 3,107 pedalcycle (bicycles, tricycles, etc.) crashes in Illinois, which resulted in 2,912 injuries (93.7 percent) and 27 fatalities.
  • 4,072 pedestrian crashes (81.79 percent) and 2,479 pedalcycle crashes (82.1 percent) on Illinois city streets and roads.
  • 2,923 pedestrian crashes (58.7 percent) and 2,358 pedalcycle crashes (78 percent) in Illinois during daylight hours.

Across the country, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in reports published in 2012 about pedestrians and bicyclists that:

  • 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2010. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in motor vehicle crashes.
  • 73 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting versus a rural setting.
  • 68 percent occurred at night.
  • Only 21 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred at intersections.
  • In 47 percent of pedestrian crashes, either the pedestrian or the car driver had consumed alcohol. 14 percent of drivers in fatal pedestrian crashes had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. 33 percent of pedestrians killed in crashes involving motor vehicles had 0.08 BAC or higher. In 6 percent of crashes, both the driver and pedestrian registered a 0.08 percent BAC or higher.
  • 618 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2010. “Pedalcyclists” includes bicyclists and “riders of two-wheel non-motorized vehicles, tricycles and unicycles powered solely by pedals.”
  • 72 percent of cyclist fatalities occurred in urban areas.
  • 33 percent of cyclist fatalities occurred at intersections.
  • Most pedalcyclist fatalities (174, or 28 percent) occurred between 4 and 8 p.m. Another 25 percent (152 fatalities) happened between 8 p.m. and midnight.
  • In 34 percent of pedalcyclist crashes, either the cyclist or the car driver had consumed alcohol. 30 percent of drivers in fatal pedalcyclist crashes had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. 24 percent of cyclists killed in crashes involving motor vehicles had 0.08 BAC or higher.

Pedestrian / Bicycle Safety Reminders

The NHTSA reminds us in its Traffic Safety Facts for pedestrians that, in most situations, drivers are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are crossing streets. Motorists should be especially careful at intersections where the failure to yield right of way often occurs when drivers are turning onto another street and a pedestrian is in their path, the NHTSA says.

In its Traffic Safety Facts for bicyclists and other cyclists, the NHTSA says “a helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.” In the City of Chicago, where the city has built hundreds of miles of bike lanes for a thriving cycling population, a Chicago Department of Transportation brochure for cyclists says that most bicyclists get into crashes when they disobey traffic laws. This is because motorists do not know what the bike rider is going to do. “Being predictable is the key to safe bicycling on Chicago streets,” the safety brochure advises.

Contact a Chicago Pedestrian / Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian or bicycle accident involving a collision with a motor vehicle in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, you may have a right to compensation for your injuries and losses. Protect your rights by contacting the Chicago pedestrian / bicycle accident attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. Call us today at our toll-free number or use our online contact form. We represent pedestrians and cyclists who have been hurt in car accidents throughout Chicago and Illinois, including residents of Cook and Lake counties.

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