Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dennis Jurs of Hampshire, IL Remembered As Avid Bicyclist

The Chicago Tribune has published a touching profile of Dennis Jurs, the bicyclist who was killed in a collision with a motor vehicle on Monday while bicycling. Mr. Jurs, who was 68, is remembered as an avid bicyclist who took up bicycling when he was 30 to rehabilitate a war injury to his leg that he suffered in Vietnam when a land mine exploded. Over the next four decades Mr. Jurs regularly trained and raced all over the Midwest. He was also an organizer of the first Elgin Cycling Classic. Mr. Jurs was a well known road bicyclist in the areas surrounding Hampshire. 

Mr. Jurs was killed Monday afternoon after a collision between his bicycle and a sports-utility vehicle. The collision occurred when the motor vehicle did not stay stopped at a stop sign and allow Mr. Jurs to proceed through the intersection as the road he was on did not have any traffic control signals. The driver of the motor vehicle was ticketed for failing to yield the right-of-way.

According to the article, a visitation was tentatively scheduled at the Laird Funeral Home in Elgin from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday and funeral services to follow at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Jurs family. 

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or Mike@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hampshire, Illinois Bicyclist Killed In Collision When Driver Enters Roadway


A bicyclist in far west suburban Hampshire, Illinois was killed Monday when the driver of a sport utility vehicle failed yield to the bicyclist by pulling into traffic in front of the bicyclist. A collision between the bicyclist and the SUV occurred in the intersection and the bicyclist was thrown from his bicycle. According to news reports the bicyclist has been identified as 68-year old Dennis Jurs of Hampshire.

Prior to the bicycle accident, Mr. Jurs was riding eastbound on Monday around four o'clock in the afternoon. The bicyclist was riding eastbound on Allen Road near its intersection with Walker Road in Hampshire which is located in Kane County approximately 55 miles from Chicago's Loop. At the same time, the driver of the SUV was driving southbound on Walker Road and was stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Walker Road and Allen Road. 


There is no stop sign for eastbound Allen Road at this intersection which then provides the right-of-way to traffic on Allen Road including bicyclists. There are stop signs on Walker Road that also include signage that indicates that traffic on Allen Road does not have a stop sign.

According to Illinois law, vehicles stopped at a "T-Intersection" have a duty to yield to oncoming traffic. Section 11-901.01 of the Illinois Vehicle Code states that vehicles approaching or entering a "T" intersection have the following duties:

"The driver of a vehicle approaching the intersection of a highway from a highway which terminates at the intersection, not otherwise regulated by this Act or controlled by traffic control signs or signals, shall stop, yield, and grant the privilege of immediate use of the intersection to another vehicle which has entered the intersection from the non-terminating highway or is approaching the intersection on the non-terminating highway in such proximity as to constitute a hazard and after stopping may proceed when the driver may safely enter the intersection without interference or collision with the traffic using the non-terminating highway."
Kane County Sheriff's Lt. Patrick Gengler was quoted in the Chicago Tribune describing the collision between the bicyclist and the SUV as a situation where the driver of the SUV did not yield to the oncoming bicyclist. "The initial investigation indicates that a 2009 Honda CR-V was traveling south on Walker Road and stopped for the stop sign at the intersection with Allen Road. The Honda entered the intersection and was struck on the passenger side of the vehicle by a bicycle that was traveling eastbound on Allen Road."

Kane County Sheriff's detectives and the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team continued to investigate the bicycle accident as of Tuesday. According to reports, authorities do not think that drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash. In addition, authorities note that Mr. Jurs was wearing a helmet.

This tragic fatal collision that resulted in the death of Mr. Jurs comes in the same week as the annual Ride of Silence which is done in memory of bicyclists who are killed while bicycling. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the Jurs family, their friends, and all of those affected by this most unfortunate loss. 

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or Mike@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Ride of Silence Tonight - May 20, 2015

The 12th Anniversary of the Ride of Silence is tonight, Wednesday May 20, 2015. The annual Ride of Silence honors those that have been injured or killed in a bicycle collision or crash. Now in its twelfth year, the Ride of Silence has grown to be a true nationwide event. But while the support of our nation's cycling community is positive, the fact that the Ride of Silence resonates so widely is tragic. 

According to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association the number of fatal bicycle accidents nationwide has increased since 2010. California has experienced 338 bicycling fatalities, followed by 329 in Florida, 143 in Texas, 138 in New York, and 80 in Illinois. The tops six states accounted for 54% of ALL fatal bicycle accidents nationwide. In addition, the study found that there has been a 16% increase in the number of bicyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles between 2010 and 2012. In fact, the total number nationwide went from 621 to over a hundred more in 2012 with 722 fatal bicycle crashes.

These deaths are yet again tragic reminders of the vulnerabilities of bicyclists and the tragic results of what happens when motorists fail to share the road and respect bicyclists. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices are proud to support the efforts of the Ride of Silence and to act as an advocate for bicyclists throughout Illinois.


The Chicago Ride of Silence will leave from Daley Plaza at approximately 6:30 p.m. after gathering at 6:00 p.m. Please go to the Chicago Ride of Silence website for more information. A special thanks to Elizabeth Adamczyk of Ride of Silence - Chicago for her tireless efforts in promoting the Ride of Silence and making bicycling safer.


Please click here for information on other Ride of Silence events in Chicagoland and throughout Illinois.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Victim of Right-Hook Bicycle Accident Receives Settlement

A Chicago bicyclist who originally had his claim "denied" by an insurance company has ultimately received a substantial settlement from the same insurance company. The situation began early last winter when the Chicago bicyclist was riding on Lincoln Avenue. As the bicyclist was riding along Lincoln Avenue a car travelling in the same direction "right hooked" the bicyclist. A "right hook" is when a motor vehicle travelling in the same direction as a bicycle turns right over the bicyclist as a part of the motor vehicle making a right-hand turn. 

As a result of the bicycle accident, the bicyclist was thrown from his bicycle and forcefully struck his body on the front passenger quarter-panel of the car. The bicyclist then violently landed on the pavement on his right side. The majority of the impact with the pavement was sustained by the right side of the bicyclist's head and jaw.

The bicyclist was transported to the emergency room at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital where he was diagnosed with a head injury, facial contusion, left knee sprain and multiple body contusions. The facial injuries required follow-up care with a specialist and the body injuries left the bicyclist unable to ride for a month. Perhaps worst of all, due to the jaw injuries he was forced to only eat soft foods while his jaw healed.

Despite the fact that the driver of the motor vehicle caused the crash, the insurance company for the driver denied the claim when they were contacted by the bicyclist. An insurance company "denies" a claim when they feel that either their driver was not responsible for the bike accident or that the injuries claimed are not related to the crash. In this case, the insurance company tried to shift the blame to the injured bicyclist.

The injured bicyclist then contacted the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices who agreed to represent the bicyclist in his claim. The firm was able to quickly engage the insurance company and present the bicyclist for a sworn statement where he was able to clarify that the bicycle accident was in no way his fault. Soon thereafter, the insurance company resolved the claim.

The injured bicyclist, who we will identify as only M.V. due to attorney-client confidentiality, was kind enough to send the firm an email thanking us for our efforts and the result. With his permission, he expressed the following:

"I did get the final settlement in the mail today and just wanted to thank you again. As you are aware, I originally thought that this incident would work itself out, and was something that I'd be able to handle on my own, but after an insurance company tried to blame me for the accident, and the back and forth over so many seemingly minor details, I'm confident in saying that I couldn't have gotten through this without you. You were thorough, responsive and most importantly, became someone that I trust.

With any luck, there won't be a need for me to work with you again, but wanted to wish you all the best in the future. Thanks again."
In the end justice was served, and on top of it our client was pleased with the result. Righting wrongs and helping injured bicyclists is the fundamental mission of this firm. It is always rewarding to come through for the client.

Keating Law Offices is one of the nation's leading firms that concentrates its practice in representing bicyclists injured in a bike accident. The firm represents more bicyclists in cases pending in Illinois courts than any other law firm in Illinois. 


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Bicyclist Injured In Dooring Settled On Eve Of Trial


Attorney Michael S. Keating, one of the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, has successfully resolved a lawsuit that was filed on behalf of an injured Chicago bicyclist. The lawsuit stemmed from injuries the bicyclist sustained when the rider was doored while bicycling in a marked bike lane in Chicago. The lawsuit was settled for $80,000.00 on the eve of a pending jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County. 

The total settlement of $80,000.00 provides the injured bicyclist compensation for the approximately $15,000.00 in medical expenses incurred as well as an additional $65,000.00 for pain and suffering and the loss of a normal life the bicyclist experienced as a result of the injuries. “Loss of a normal life” is a compensable damage under Illinois law that is defined as “the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life,” and “includes a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.” Examples of a loss of a normal life include difficulty with sleeping, enjoying hobbies, or even something as simple as an interruption of your regular social life.

The act of "dooring," where a motorist opens their vehicle door into the path of a bicyclist, is specifically outlawed in Chicago. Section 9-80-035 of the Municipal Code of Chicago states:

"No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."
Keating Law Offices is one of the nation's leading firms that concentrates its practice in representing bicyclists injured in a bike accident. The firm represents more bicyclists in cases pending in Illinois courts than any other law firm in Illinois. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy Bike Month! Keating Law Offices Launches Bicycle Awareness Campaign

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois have launched a Bicycle Awareness Campaign as part of National Bike Month. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers' most recent efforts to promote safe bicycling does so by reaching out directly to motorists.

The Chicago, Illinois law firm that concentrates its practice on representing victims of bicycle accidents is providing free bumper stickers to motorists. The bumper stickers serve as an opportunity for motorists to declare that they "Share The Road" and "Look For Bikes." At the same time, other motorists are reminded that bicycles are on the roadway.

Attorney Michael S. Keating, who also serves as the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the national trial lawyer's association, says that including motorists is an important part of promoting safe bicycling. Attorney Keating said: 
"Far too often we see the devastating effects of a collision between a bicyclist and a motor vehicle. And a common factor in those collisions is that the motorist didn't look for bicycles or didn't share the road by providing the bicyclist the three feet required under Illinois law. With this campaign the goal is to spread this message right on the roadways with visual reminders and add to the efforts to increase safe bicycling in Illinois." 
To receive the "I Share The Road" or "I Look For Bikes" bumper stickers for free, simply email ChicagoBikeFlag@KeatingLegal.com and include your mailing address. For more information on Keating Law Offices, please visit IllinoisBicycleLaw.com and KeatingLegal.com. Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm in Illinois that dedicates its practice to representing victims of bicycle accidents. The firm is recognized as a national leader among bicycle attorneys and is a committed advocate to safe bicycling in Illinois. 

Contact Keating Law Offices at 312-239-6787 or Info@KeatingLegal.com.



Monday, April 20, 2015

Save Kinzie - Fight Ald. Reilly's Plans to Value Real Estate Development Over the Kinzie Bike Lane


Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward encompasses Chicago's highly praised Kinzie Street protected bike lane, is taking steps that could lead to the removal of the bike lane. Alderman Reilly claims that the Kinzie Bike Lane should be removed because with the new real estate development on Wolf Point, at the intersection of the branches of the Chicago River, there will be more traffic congestion. 

The Kinzie Bike Lane runs approximately a half mile between Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street and acts as a primary east-west route for bicyclists that are travelling to and from Chicago's Loop via Milwaukee Avenue. The Kinzie Bike Lane was the first protected bike lane installed in Chicago as a part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to install 25 miles of protected bike lanes each year. 

Plans would call for bicycle traffic to be moved onto new bike lanes on Grand Avenue. However, the Active Transportation Alliance in particular has forcefully advocated for the Kinzie Bike lane to be saved. On their website, ActiveTrans succinctly stated their position:
"Removing the first protected bike lane in the city just four short years after it was installed will be a national embarrassment and set us back in our efforts to make our city more livable and economically vibrant. The only way to make our streets safer and less congested is to build more protected bike lanes like the one on Kinzie, while pushing for complementary transit and pedestrian improvements."
ActiveTrans is also asking supporters of the Kinzie Bike Lane to sign an on-line petition and to contact their local Alderman asking them to oppose Ald. Reilly's proposals in the Chicago City Council. 

Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices also object's to Ald. Reilly's proposals. Attorney Keating, who acts as an advocate for Chicago bicyclists and represents injured bicyclists in legal actions, stated:
"In many regards the suggestion of removing the Kinzie Bike Lane is offensive because of what it represents. This was the first protected bike lane in Chicago and was a clear indication of Chicago's commitment to safe bicycling. On a practical level, the Kinzie Bike lane created a conduit from the Dearborn Bike Lane to Milwaukee Avenue, the city's most popular bike route. So the Kinzie Bike Lane is both a symbol of Chicago bicycling and also a vital part of many Chicagoans' bicycle commute. Removing the Kinzie Bike Lane sends a message that Chicago values a single new development over safe bicycling. We simply can not stand for that."
Keating Law Offices is a Chicago-based law firm that focuses its practices on representing injured bicyclists throughout Illinois. The firm is a national leader in the emerging field of bicycle law. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Claim for Riverside Bicycle Commuter Settled for $100,000.00 Insurance Policy Limits


Aerial photograph of area in Riverside, IL where a bicycle commuter was injured in bike accident.
The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have recovered the entire amount of the insurance policy limits for a Riverside bicycle commuter who was severely injured in a bicycle collision last June. The bicyclist regularly commuted via bicycle from her home in Riverside to her job in Berwyn at a healthcare facility. The collision occurred as she was riding her regular route to her Riverside home.

On June 17th she was riding near the Riverside Metra station and crossing Longcommon Road in the crosswalk. At the same time, a teenage driver inexplicably sped northbound on Longcommon Road towards the crosswalk. The motorist struck the bicyclist in the crosswalk in the rear tire of her bicycle. The force of this impact projected the bicyclist from her bicycle. She then landed on the pavement and violently struck her head and face. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where she received medical care. She continued to receive follow-up medical care for months after the collision.

The responding Riverside Police Department officer issued the motorist a traffic citation for violating Section 11-1002 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. Section 11-1002 states that: 
[w]hen traffic control signals are not in place…the driver of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling…”
Attorney Mike Keating attended traffic court at the Maywood courthouse with the injured bicyclist. It is critically important that injured bicyclists attend traffic court to ensure that all available testimony is available to assist prosecutors in pursuing charges against the at-fault motorists. In this particular case, the motorist was accountable for his actions when faced with the prospect of a trial. He pled guilty in court to the charges and thereafter personally apologized to the injured bicyclist. 

This claim was able to be quickly resolved for the available $100,000.00 policy limits from the national insurance carrier that is not known for quick or fair resolutions to claims. Ultimately, this was the best possible financial resolution in the case. We continue to assist the client with obtaining all of the medical attention she requires by working with her health care providers and her health insurance company.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Keating Law Offices Settles Case For Pedestrian Struck In Crosswalk for $600,000.00

Intersection of Burlington and Main Street in Downers Grove, Illinois
Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices, P.C. has obtained a $600,000.00 settlement for a Downers Grove woman who was struck in a crosswalk by a turning truck. The incident occurred on February 21, 2014 when the pedestrian was walking to her condominium in downtown Downers Grove after getting off the Metra train. It was a short walk that the regular commuter had done hundreds of times before.

As she was crossing Main Street in the crosswalk, an electrician driving his company's work truck, ran over the pedestrian. At the time of the collision the "Walk" light was lit and she was crossing at the same time as other pedestrians. The truck was traveling westbound on Burlington and made a left-hand turn onto southbound Main Street that required the truck to cross over the Main Street crosswalk. As a result of the impact, the pedestrian was trapped underneath the truck and dragged along the roadway before the driver realized he had hit someone and stopped. The driver of the truck admitted to police that he "did not see" the pedestrian.

The Downers Grove Police Department cited the driver for his failure to yield to the pedestrian. Multiple provisions of the Illinois Vehicle Code require motorists to yield to pedestrians within crosswalks. Section 5/11-1002(e) states in part,
“Whenever stop signs or flashing red signals are in place at an intersection or at a plainly marked crosswalk between intersections, drivers shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians as set forth in Section 11-904 of this Chapter.” 
Section 11-904(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code also requires drivers approaching a stop sign to come to a complete stop before entering a crosswalk at an intersection and to yield to the right-of-way. Attorney Michael S. Keating attended traffic court with the injured pedestrian and when faced with a credible victim who was severely injured the motorist ultimately chose to plead guilty to the ticket.

The pedestrian suffered severe injuries to her face that required reconstructive surgery and resulted in substantial scaring and other injuries that affect not only her appearance but the sensation and functioning of her facial structure. During the course of investigating the claim it was learned that the driver of the electrical vehicle was insured with two separate insurance policies that combined for a total of $600,000.00. The insurance companies, however, disputed the extent of the pedestrian's injuries and questioned the precise facts of the collision. After over a year of negotiations, Attorney Keating was able to get the insurance companies to pay the full amount of their insurance policies without a lawsuit.

Keating Law Offices is committed to representing all vulnerable users of the roadway including pedestrians and bicyclists. The firm strongly believes in the importance of safe and accessible roadways for commuters of all types utilizing the roadway. This was an optimal result for a wonderful client who was tragically injured when the driver chose to make an aggressive turn across a crosswalk rather than wait for pedestrians to clear the intersection. This accident that resulted in severe injuries could have been avoided if the driver had simply kept a proper lookout and waited to turn until all vehicles and pedestrians were out of the roadway.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Family Asks Hit-and-Run Driver To Turn Himself In As Police Search For Clues

If you have any information, call 311 or contact the Major Accident Investigation Unit directly at 312-745-4521.
The Chicago Police Department's Major Accident Investigation Unit continues to search for the driver of a dark-colored 4-Door GMC or Chevrolet SUV. Based on the body style, the vehicle appears to be either a GMC Yukon or a Chevrolet Tahoe. The vehicle has light-colored rims and running boards along the undercarriage of the vehicle. 

The driver of this SUV critically injured 26-year old Ricardo "Richie" Capistrano in Logan Square on Friday. Prior to the collision, Capistrano was riding his motorized bicycle westbound on North Avenue at the same time as the SUV was traveling eastbound on North Avenue. The driver of the SUV turned left in from of Capistrano as the vehicle turned northbound onto Talman Avenue. 

This is knows as a "left-hook" crash. The Chicago Municipal Code and the Illinois Vehicle Code both require vehicles turning left across traffic, like the SUV in this instance, to yield to oncoming traffic. Obviously, the driver of the SUV did not yield and therefore caused this collision and the injuries to Richie Capistrano. 

The driver also violated the law as it relates to what is required when in a motor vehicle accident. Section 11-401(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code provides the groundwork for the motorist:
"The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible and shall then forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until the requirements of Section 11-403 have been fulfilled."
Section 11-403 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code more specifically lays out the requirements any such motorist must fulfill before leaving the scene of a collision that leads to personal injuries:
"The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person shall give the driver’s name, address, registration number and owner of the vehicle the driver is operating and shall upon request and if available exhibit such driver’s license to the person struck or the driver or occupant of or person attending any vehicle collided with an shall render to any person injured in such accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying or the making of arrangements for the carrying of such person to the physician, surgeon or hospital for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that such treatment is necessary or if such carrying is requested by the injured person."
According to reports, Capistrano rode into the back of the passenger side of the SUV. The back passenger window apparently shattered and there is damage to the rear passenger door. The driver of the SUV did not stop and fled the scene on the accident.

Capistrano's family is offering a reward of $1,000.00 for any information leading to an arrest. If you have any information, call 311 or contact the Major Accident Investigation Unit directly at 312-745-4521.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Chicago Bicyclist Severely Injured in Dooring

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County on March 19, 2015 on behalf of a bicyclist who sustained severe injuries as a result of being doored in West Town. The dooring occurred in September of 2013.

The bicyclist was riding her bicycle northbound on North Wood Street when she came upon a Dodge Intrepid parked on North Wood. As the bicyclist approached the motorist suddenly opened the driver’s door of his vehicle directly into the path of the bicyclist. With no time to react, the bicyclist violently crashed into the open vehicle door and her right arm sustained significant trauma as she crashed into the door. As a result of the impact, the bicyclist was thrown from her bike to the pavement on her right side and ultimately ended up in the middle of North Wood Street.

The lawsuit alleges that the motorist, and by extension his insurance company, are liable for compensating the bicyclists for her injuries because of the motorist breaking the Rules of the Road. Section 11-1407 of the Illinois Vehicle Code and Section 9-80-035 of Municipal Code of Chicago provide that:
“No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”
In addition, the motorist was uncooperative with the reporting police officer when asked to go to the police station and initially refused to cooperate with the police investigation.

Due to her severe injuries, the bicyclist was taken to the emergency room at Rush University Medical Center immediately after the collision. She was diagnosed with an injury to her spinal code which has required ongoing treatment with a neurosurgeon and also suffered a permanent injury to her upper arm that resulted in a "crease" in the muscle mass of her arm. She continues to receive treatment for her injuries.

Illinois Bicycle Lawyer Mike Keating stated as follows regarding the filing of this lawsuit:
"Few people willingly want to participate in a lawsuit. However, sometimes in instances like this where there is an uncooperative defendant and that defendant's insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, we are left with no choice but to file a lawsuit to protect our client's rights. We are always willing to do whatever it takes to make sure our clients have the absolute best chance of receiving justice after being the victim of a bike crash." 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Naperville Bicyclist In Serious Condition After Crash With Van At Busy Intersection

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a Naperville bicyclist was left in serious condition after a collision with a 2009 Chevrolet Van in the western suburb. The collision occurred at the intersection of 75th Street and Modaff Road in the early part of rush hour on Monday, March 16, 2015. Prior to the collision, the driver of the Chevrolet van was westbound on 75th Street and the bicyclist was northbound on Modaff Road.

Both Modaff Road and 75th Street are controlled by traffic signals. 75th Street is a main arterial route in Naperville with two lanes for westbound traffic, two lanes for eastbound traffic, as well as turning lanes. There is signage at the intersection directing where bicycles should cross the intersection. This signage serves an additional purpose is that it alerts motorists of the presence of bicyclists in the area.


Other reports indicate that the Naperville Police Department's Traffic Unit responded to the scene and continues to investigate the bicycle crash. The Naperville Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash or has information to contact the Naperville Police Department’s Traffic Unit at 630-305-5379 or email parcel@naperville.il.us.

The bicyclist was taken to Edwards Hospital in Naperville and remains in serious condition. No further details have been reported.

Monday, March 16, 2015

5 Questions To Ask A Bicycle Attorney After A Bike Crash

The Illinois Bicycle Law Shield
As an Illinois bicycle attorney that handles a large caseload of personal injury cases that stem from bicycle crashes or collisions, I'm asked a large variety of questions by clients. I often tell clients about the questions I would ask if I was "on the other side of the desk" and looking for an attorney to represent me. 

Here are the 5 Questions I would ask an attorney before retaining them in a personal injury case stemming from a bicycle accident:
  1. How long have you been practicing in the field of personal injury law? The attorneys at Keating Law Offices have years of experience handling personal injury cases, specifically bicycle-related cases. No two cases are the same, and having a wealth of experience to rely on is often the key to a successful resolution to a case.
  2. If necessary, are you prepared to take my case to trial? Many attorneys who hold themselves out as "trial lawyers" rarely, if ever, take their cases to trial. Attorney Mike Keating has repeatedly been named a "Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers and Chicago magazines, has a perfect "10/10 Rating" on AVVO, and also named to the "Top 40 Under 40" list of top young trial attorneys for his record of winning at trial. He also is the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the national trial lawyers organization.
  3. Are you familiar with the traffic laws for bicyclists? In the past few years Illinois and many of the municipalities, especially the City of Chicago, have enacted new laws that directly impact bicyclists. Attorney Mike Keating has directly lobbied local and state governments as an advocate for bicyclists' rights. As a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyers' Associations' Legislative Committee, Attorney Keating ensured that there is always a voice for injured cyclists within the organization.
  4. Do you specialize in personal injury? Again, while many attorneys may work on some personal injury cases, the attorneys at Keating Law Offices only work on personal injury cases and regularly participate in the litigation of our cases in courtrooms throughout Illinois.
  5. Do you ride a bike? What may sound like a silly question is actually very important. Only riders know what it feels like to ride in a crowded urban or suburban environment. An understanding of the "ins and outs" of bike riding can make the difference in successfully handling a case. This question can also let you know whether the attorney is sincere about advocating for bicyclists' rights.
If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Claim for Chicago Bicyclist Struck by Driver Who Ran Red Light at 6 Corners Settled for Policy Limits

View of Westbound Irving Park Road at Chicago's "Six Corners Intersection"
One of the most fundamental rules of driving is that when a traffic light is red, you stop and wait until it turns green before proceeding through an intersection. One Chicago driver's failure to follow this basic rule at the "Six Corners" intersection led to a bicycle crash that severely injured a Chicago bicyclist.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have a secured a financial settlement for the Chicago bicyclist who sustained gruesome facial lacerations after being struck by the motorist. The bicycle accident occurred at the at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Cicero Avenue in September of 2013.

The collision occurred at Chicago's "Six Corners" in Portage Park which is the well known intersection of three major streets: Milwaukee Avenue, Cicero Avenue and Irving Park Road. At the time of the bicycle accident, the bicyclist was traveling westbound through the intersection of Irving Park Road and Cicero Avenue when the motorist, driving on Cicero Avenue, ran the intersection’s red light. The motorist first struck the bicyclist and his bicycle which caused to bicyclist to ejected from his bicycle onto the hood of the car. The motorist then slammed on his brakes and this caused the bicyclist to be thrown the pavement.

The bicyclist landed directly on the side of his face. According to medical reports, the bicyclist’s face was bleeding uncontrollably as he laid in the street in excruciating pain. He ultimately suffered a deep facial laceration that required a row of 4 stitches as well as a head injury, hip contusion and knee abrasion.

Liability, the legal term for who "caused" a bicycle crash that resulted in injuries was clear in this matter. According to Section 11-305 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, a driver of any vehicle must obey the instructions of any official traffic-control device. It may seem obvious that the law requires motorists to abide by traffic signals. But, this collision could have easily been prevented if the motorist did just that…simply stopped at the red stoplight.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers made a claim with the motorist’s insurance provider for the bicyclist’s “elements of damages.” As we have mentioned in previous blog posts, “elements of damages” are the different categories of a claim that make up a claim.In this case, claims were made for the bicyclist’s personal injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of a normal life as well as disfigurement.

“Disfigurement” is a compensable damage in Illinois, meaning it is something that is a part of an insurance claim or a lawsuit in court. Disfigurement is defined in the law as “the permanent change in a person’s body that impairs the beauty, symmetry, and appearance.” Under Illinois law, anyone “disfigured” as a result of someone else’s negligence is eligible for compensation for their permanent impairment. “Disfigurement” varies from person to person and case to case. Here, the bicyclist sustained the laceration on his head that resulted in a permanent scar.

As a result, Keating Law Offices attained a settlement where the motorist’s insurance company tendered its full policy limits for this bicyclist and his disfigurements. This settlement was made without requiring filing a lawsuit. This is what is known as an "out of court settlement" and was made possible when our bike attorneys forced the insurance company to pay every penny of the applicable insurance policy.

Keating Law Offices are a Chicago-based law firm that represents injured bicyclists throughout Illinois. The firm is a national leader in the field of bicycle-related litigation. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact the Illinois Bicycle Attorneys at Keating Law Offices at 312-239-6787or Mike@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free and there is never any cost to the client unless we win.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Claim for Bicyclist Doored by Cab Driver Settled - Even After Insurance Company Goes Out of Business

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have obtained a settlement for a Chicago bicyclist who was doored by a taxi cab driver in October of 2010. The bicycle accident occurred on Halsted Street near its intersection with Division in Chicago. 

Halsted Street has a bike lane on either side. The incident occurred as the bicyclist was traveling southbound in the bike lane on Halsted. The taxi cab initially passed the bicyclist on southbound Halsted and then pulled into a parallel parking spot in front of a cab stand. 

In spite of the fact the taxi cab just passed the bicyclist, the cab driver threw open the cab door just as the bicyclist went past. The bike accident occurred when the bicyclist had zero opportunity to stop or avoid the door and a collision occurred. Interestingly, the responding police officer did not write a report for a traffic crash, but instead wrote the incident up as an "assault" given the truly irresponsible behavior on the part of the cab driver.

As a result of this "dooring," the bicyclist was thrown over her handlebars and landed face first on the street. This severe impact caused the bicyclist to suffer "road rash" to her face and knock a tooth loose. The tooth was ultimately replaced by an orthodontist.

The attorneys at Keating Law Offices filed suit against the cab company and served them with the lawsuit. After their attorneys entered into the case, the insurance company for the taxicab company, Ulico Insurance, went out of business because the state determined that the insurance company did not have enough money to keep operating. This is what is known as "receivership." 

Since this bike accident happened in Illinois, the Illinois Guaranty Fund became involved. the Illinois Guaranty Fund is a state-run program that essentially provides "insurance for insurance." It exists so that when there are situations like this where there was an absence of insurance because of some issue with the insurance company, that there is still some opportunity for recourse. 

The bicycle attorneys at Keating Law Offices stayed with the case and pursued it for four years. Attorney Mike Keating said, "This was a very frustrating situation. Not only was the bicyclist severely injured by the inexcusable actions of the cab driver, but the insurance company for the cab company that should have been there to compensate her for her personal injuries essentially disappeared. Yet, in the end by fighting for our client we were able to obtain compensation for her." 

This situation also reflects why it is important to seek legal advice when dealing with a personal injury case. The issues surrounding insurance companies are often very complicated and far from simple.  The attorneys at Keating Law Offices have the trial experience to handle practically any case related to a bicycle crash or accident.  All initial consultations are confidential and free and there are absolutely no legal fees unless we make a financial recovery for you. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Illinois Bicycle Lawyer Mike Keating Named a "SuperLawyer" for the 5th Straight Year


Keating Law Offices attorney Michael S. Keating has been named a "Rising Star" by SuperLawyers Magazine. Only 2.5% of Illinois attorneys receive the “Rising Stars” honor and are recognized by Super Lawyers magazine each year. Attorney Keating has now been named a "Rising Star" in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

In order to become part of this prestigious list, all attorneys go through the Rising Stars selection process. SuperLawyers magazine invites Illinois lawyers once a year to nominate the top attorneys they have personally observed in action while an attorney-led research team searches for lawyers who have a high degree of professional competence.

SuperLawyers research team then evaluates each candidate based on the following 12 indicators: verdicts and settlements; transactions; representative clients; experience; honors and awards; special licenses and certifications; position within the law firm; bar and or other professional activity; pro bono and community service as a lawyer; scholarly lectures and writings; education and employment background; and other outstanding achievements.

Based on these 12 indicators and final selection by SuperLawyers team, Attorney Michael Keating was selected. He believes that he has a responsibility to his community, which is why he is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Area Runners Association, and the Active Transportation Alliance.

Attorney Keating leads the Keating Law Offices team with the upmost dedication, rigor and passion to pursue justice for individuals and families whose lives have been affected by the negligence of others. Keating Law Offices concentrates its practice on personal injury, medical malpractice, bicycle and other transportation negligence, premises liability, products liability, and nursing home negligence and abuse cases. The firm has successfully represented clients throughout Illinois since 2008.

Mike Keating also serves as the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice, the national trial lawyers organization. He is one of the youngest committee chairs in the entire United States.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Keating Law Offices Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Chicago Bicyclist Sideswiped by CTA Bus

Western Avenue at Walton - Scene of bicycle accident involving a Chicago bicyclist and CTA bus.
The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have filed a lawsuit on behalf of an injured Chicago bicyclist against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and one of its bus drivers. The lawsuit stems from a bicycle crash that occurred on the afternoon of July 18, 2014 near Chicago's Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

Prior to the crash, the bicyclist was riding southbound on North Western Avenue near its intersection with West Walton Street. At the same time, the driver of a CTA bus began passing the bicyclist on the left side of her bicycle. According to the report filed by the responding Chicago police officer, the bicycle rack on the front of the bus first clipped her handlebar and then the aluminum frame of the advertisement on the side of the CTA bus again "clipped" the handlebar a second time. According to the police report, the bicyclist was dragged along the bus before being able to push away from the bus. While she was able to keep from falling underneath the bus, she still crashed onto Western Avenue.

The CTA bus driver continued to drive southbound on North Western Avenue until a passenger alerted the bus driver about the alleged incident. According to reports, there are multiple witnesses to this collision. As a result of this injury, the bicyclist suffered a severe injury to her ulnar nerve near her elbow. This injury required a surgical repair that left the bicyclist with a permanent scar. The bicyclist also continues to suffer from decreased strength and dexterity in her hand and arm from the injury. In addition, the injured bicyclist suffered abrasions that left scars throughout her body.

The lawsuit alleges that the CTA, by and through its employee, was negligent for failing to meet certain laws and requirements related to the handling of a bus around a bicycle. The Illinois Vehicle Code states that a driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle traveling in the same direction shall pass to the left of that bicycle at a safe distance in order to safely clear said bicycle.  625 ILCS 5/11-703(a).

In addition, Section 9-36-010 of the Municipal Code of Chicago requires something known as the “3-Foot Rule.” That is, the operator of a motor vehicle (in this case a bus) that is overtaking a bicycle traveling in the same direction on a highway must leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle. The motor vehicle must then maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

According to the lawsuit filed on January 29, 2015 in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the CTA bus driver allegedly failed to leave the safe distance of at least 3 feet between the bus and the victim bicyclist. The lawsuit also alleges that the driver of the CTA bus allegedly failed to safely clear the victim and her bicycle and these failures caused the bicyclist to lose her balance and fall into the side of the bus.

All Illinois drivers have a duty to keep a proper lookout for bicyclists or other vehicles upon said streets. If a driver were to fail to keep a proper lookout for a bicyclist and then struck said bicyclist, that driver would be liable for the injuries the bicyclist suffered. All Illinois drivers also have a duty to make sure that their vehicles move into a lane of traffic safely and that they exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person operating a bicycle. Bicyclists have a right to obtain compensation for injuries caused by a driver who does not exercise due care while operating his or her vehicle. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy Winter Bike To Work Day - News Story Profiles Keating Law Offices Employees As Part of Story on "Winter Warrior" Biking

Today is the 14th Annual "Winter Bike to Work Day." DNAinfo Chicago recently posted an informative article by Alisa Hauser, who interviewed Chicago “Winter Warrior” bicyclists willing to share survival tips while cycling throughout the Windy City even in the midst of winter. The article features Keating Law Offices very own attorney, Michael Keating, and administrative assistant, Hannah Zenke.

According to Ms. Hauser’s article, Active Transportation Alliance estimates that 8,000 people use a bike to commute in Chicago during the winter, including KLO’s Hannah Zenke. Hannah commutes 10 miles daily from her home in Logan Square to Downtown. Hannah really enjoys biking for both her mental and physical health.
“It’s a way to beat the seasonal depression, it’s totally a real thing…Exercising in any way shape or form will release serotonin. You get a good feeling afterward. Just the fact you are a winter warrior and you made it to work, it’s a high-five, it makes you feel like a badass,” Hannah told DNAinfo Chicago.
Hannah stays warm while biking by wearing a wool onesie underneath her clothes, Pearli Izumi tights, two pairs of gloves, a face buff, and goggles to keep the snow out of her eyes.

Section 9-52-045 of the Municipal Code of Chicago requires that:

 “a bicyclist upon the roadway or upon any public path set aside for the use of bicycles shall give hand and arm signals in the following manner:

1. Left turn, left hand and arm extended horizontally;

2. Right turn, left hand and arm extended upward, or right hand and arm extended horizontally;

3. Stop or decrease speed, left or right hand and arm extended downward.”
If Chicago cyclists want to feel good while surviving as a winter warrior like Hannah does, her pro tip to fellow cyclists is to wear layers. While you layer up for Chicago’s snowy winters, keep in mind that you may want to wear some reflectors on top of your layers, that way motorists can see your hand and arm signals that are required by Illinois law.

The Illinois Vehicle Code states that any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable and safe to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway…except (iii) when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions. 625 ILCS 5/11-1505.

Because of winter weather conditions in Chicago, cyclists may find themselves traveling at a lesser speed than what they are normally used to during the hot, sunny summer days. This Illinois law takes into consideration that there may be certain conditions that prevent cyclists from biking as close and safe to the right-hand curb as possible while traveling at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic.

Attorney Michael Keating of the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices told DNAinfo Chicago his biggest concern in the winter months is that drivers don’t expect to see cyclists on the road. The road is narrower due to snow removal and cyclists do not have as much room.

Section 9-36-010 of the Municipal Code of Chicago requires that the operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle traveling in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle. This law is often referred to as the "3-Foot Rule."

With the narrowness of roads due to snow removal, it makes it much more difficult for motorists to comply with Section 9-36-010, thus making the roads less safe for bicyclists. That is why Attorney Keating describes cyclists who bike, regardless of the weather conditions, as committed. “It is part of their life, who they are, and they are committed to moving by bike. We have hot summers and cold and snowy winters and those that ride every season reflect just how committed they are.”

Illinois Vehicle Code requires that “every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.” 625 ILCS 5/11-1507 (a).

So, when riding a bicycle at night in Illinois, cyclists must have a white light equipped on the front of their bicycle with a light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet. In addition to that front light, the cyclist must have an approved red reflector on the rear of his or her bike that is visible from 100 to 600 feet by a car with its headlights on. In addition to the red reflector and if the cyclist chooses, a red light may also be equipped on the bicycle’s rear with a light visible from a distance of 500 feet. Attorney Keating suggests that cyclists use as many lights as possible because visibility is very poor during Chicago’s winter months. A headlight will give cyclists a greater visibility while riding, making your ride home compliant with Illinois law and much safer. 

Although Chicagoans know the frigid temperatures, wind chills, and snow and ice storms that so often happen during the winter months here in Chicago, the key to staying safe and warm as a cyclist is to layer clothing, be a defensive cyclist, and follow the regulations provided by Illinois law.
 

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chicago Bicyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run - Police Searching for Dark Colored Mini-Van

Viaduct on West Division Street where Chicago Bicyclist, Aimer Robledo, was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run crash.
30-year old Aimer Robledo was killed in a fatal bicycle crash early New Year's Day. Aimer was riding under a viaduct in the 4700 block of West Division Street on his way back to his home when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Aimer was pronounced dead at Mt. Sinai Hospital early Thursday morning. 

According to news reports, Aimer had stopped to see his wife and two children before continuing on to the house where he was staying separately from the family. While on his way back to the house, he was struck by a dark colored mini-van that then fled the scene. There are currently no further reports on identifying characteristics of the mini-van. There are also no reports about the specific locations of the two vehicles, the bicycle and the mini-van, at the time of the fatal collision. Photographs on the Chicago Tribune's website show a bicycle laying upon the yellow concrete median that runs underneath the viaduct.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Aimer Robledo.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Days Are Now Getting Longer, But a Long Winter is Ahead and Illinois Bicycle Law REQUIRES Lights on Your Bike

While we haven't even reached the end of the year, we are actually a week past the Winter Solstice which was on December 21st. The Winter Solstice is when the North Pole is tilted the farthest from the sun and there is the least amount of daylight. In Chicago we are currently gaining about 30 seconds a day of daylight and by the end of January will be gaining two minutes a day. But there are still a lot of long, dark nights ahead. 

The short days and long nights that are naturally a part of winter mean that Illinois bicyclists who commute to work via their bikes will be riding home in the dark. It is important to note that a headlight not only gives you greater visibility while riding and makes you more visible to drivers, but it is the law. Bicyclists riding at nighttime must have the following on their bikes according to Illinois Bicycle Law:
  1. A lamp on the front that emits a white light that can be seen for 500 feet; and
  2. A red reflector visible from 100 to 600 feet by a car with its headlights on.
 The law from the Illinois Vehicle Code reads as follows: 

625 ILCS 5/11‑1507) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑1507) - Lamps and other equipment on bicycles.

(a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
Curiously, this Section also provides that a red light visible from 500 feet may be used in conjunction with the rear red reflector. This is somewhat awkward because it would make sense to allow a red light visible from 500 feet instead of a red reflector that may only be visible from as little as 100 feet. 

I'll give the drafters of this law the benefit of the doubt and conclude that this addition was to encourage bicyclists to use red lights on their bikes. In any event, the law (as well as sound safety measures) require the use of a headlight and a reflector and at least encourages the use of a rear red light. With these long winter nights ahead, the use of a headlight and a taillight will get you home safely - and legally.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Bike Lanes Promote Safety For Bicyclists....AND Pedestrians. So is Chicago doing enough with its bike plans?

The Illinois Bicycle Law Shield.
People for Bikes recently posted an excellent blog post from Michael Andersen, a Green Lane Project staff writer, about how bike lanes are just promoting safe bicycling, but also influencing safe conditions for pedestrians. Bike lanes are a part of a city's overall traffic planning that takes into account motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

In Chicago, with its densely populated neighborhoods and street layouts that date back to the rebuilding of the city after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, traffic planning is a critically important issue for all citizens regardless of how they get around.

Nonetheless, traffic planning is especially important for bicyclists and pedestrians because unlike motorists or riders on public transportation, bicyclists and pedestrians are especially vulnerable if they are involved in a bicycle accident. In 2014 alone, 8 bicyclists have died from a bicycle vs. motorist crash in Chicago. This is double the number of deaths in 2013. Also, so far in 2014, 23 pedestrians were killed when struck by a motorist.

These numbers should concern every citizen of Chicago and raises the question: What is being done to reduce these numbers of deaths?

Although Chicagoans need to be aware and alert of their surroundings and of the traffic safety laws, the City of Chicago's Department of Transportation has begun implementing various protected bicycle lanes to create a distinct barrier between pedestrians/bicyclists and motorists. These lanes are located next to the sidewalk curb and have physical barriers, such as parked cars and markers /poles to separate bicyclists from motorists.

In 2011, Chicago installed its first barrier protected bike lane on Kinzie Street that was 1/2 mile long. This protected lane extends from Milwaukee Avenue to Wells Street and has increased bicycle riding by 55%. In 2012, Chicago installed a protected bike lane on Dearborn, which really focused on protecting those individuals who commute into the Loop via bicycle for work or leisure because it provides a direct route in and out of Chicago’s Loop. This Dearborn barrier protected bike lane extends from Polk Street to Kinzie Street. Then in 2013, Chicago installed the Milwaukee barrier protected bike lane, which is used by more than a thousand cyclists each day. This protected bike lane extends from Desplaines Street to Elston Avenue, and it too provides a direct route in and out of Chicago’s Loop. In total, the City of Chicago has 12 miles of barrier protected bike lanes.

So the next question you may be asking yourself: Is that enough? With more than 4,000 miles of streets in the City of Chicago, the answer is no.

Not only do these barrier protected bike lanes make bicyclists feel safer and provide a blockade from passing vehicles, these lanes also protect pedestrians from motorists. The protected bike lanes decrease the amount of roadway a pedestrian has to walk across, which means the pedestrian is walking across fewer lanes of vehicular traffic and has a higher likelihood of getting to the other side of the street safely. Also, protected bike lanes act as a signal to pedestrians as to which way traffic is traveling, that way pedestrians know when a vehicle is approaching and when it is safe to walk across a street. These barrier protected bike lanes also act as an additional walk signal for pedestrians—when bicyclists are given the green light to proceed in their protected bike lane, that gives pedestrians the “green light” to walk across Chicago streets safely. Barrier protected bike lanes also create an additional obstacle for those motorists who are always in a hurry. The protected lanes minimize the amount of swerving motorists are inclined to do to get around a stopped vehicle.

Barrier protected bike lanes, if increased throughout the City of Chicago, could begin reducing the amount of bicyclist vs. motorist and pedestrian vs. motorist collisions and decreasing the number of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities. The City of Chicago has made great strides in building its bicycle infrastructure, and has great plans, but it is of critical importance for the safety of bicyclists - and pedestrians - that these plans are continued. Lives depend on it.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chicago Bicyclist Receives $190,000.00 Settlement For Personal Injuries In Crash on Montrose

A long journey began for a Chicago bicyclist back in April of 2011. However, the journey he embarked on that day only started by bicycle. The journey itself was primarily made up of three years of medical care including a surgery. As is often unfortunately the case for many bicyclists who would much rather have their journeys only be by bicyclist, this journey started when a motorist, driving a company car, did not stop at a stop sign.

On that April day in 2011 the bicyclist was riding westbound on West Montrose Avenue. The bicyclist was traveling at a normal pace down a relatively busy Chicago street when he approached North Troy Street. At the same time as the bicyclist was approaching North Troy Street, the motorist was traveling southbound on Troy. North Troy Street is a one-way street flowing southbound with a stop sign at its intersection with Montrose Avenue. The stop sign at this intersection is in plain view. In contrast, vehicles (both motor and human powered) traveling on Montrose do not have a stop sign or a stop light at the intersection with Troy.

The motorist rolled through the stop sign and directly into the path of the bicyclist. This caused the bicyclist and his bicycle to collide into the driver’s door of the motorist’s vehicle. It may seem obvious, but what the motorist should have done was make a complete stop at the stop sign and then look both ways before continuing through the intersection. Had the motorist done the simple act of "looking", this bicycle accident could have been easily prevented.

Instead, the motorist failed to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist. This failure to yield was a clear violation of the Illinois Rules of the Road. Section 11-902 states, that “the driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection” is required to yield the right-of-way to any bicyclist approaching from the opposite direction “which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

As a direct result of the motorist’s failure to yield, the bicyclist suffered severe pain in his left shoulder that radiated down his arm. The injury also resulted in a severely limited range of motion, intense and constant pain, and difficulty sleeping in the days following his injury. He was diagnosed with left shoulder separation and shoulder bursitis. The bicyclist tried to treat the injury with rest and later physical therapy. But the pain did not go away and the shoulder was not getting better. Ultimately he was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery and later received a cortisone shot, both unsuccessful in long-term alleviation of his pain levels.
 

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices were ultimately able to negotiate a $190,000.00 settlement on behalf of the injured bicyclist. This was a particularly successful settlement as it was 50% more than what the bicyclist was offered to settle his case by the insurance company for the motorist. It was only after being represented by Attorney Michael Keating, who litigated the case on behalf of the injured bicyclist, that the insurance company was forced to fully compensate the bicyclist.

Friday, October 31, 2014

What Can Be Done To Reduce Bicycle Crashes in Illinois?

Attorney Michael Keating of Keating Law Offices being interviewed by FOX Chicago.
Last Friday, Attorney Michael S. Keating of the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices was interviewed by FOX News Chicago regarding new video technology that can record a bicycle crash in real time. The thrust of the segment was whether technology like this could help bicyclists by keeping motorists (and bicyclists) accountable because they know of the the possible presence of video surveillance. In the segment, Attorney Keating noted that a video of a collision could be very beneficial in proving in court who caused a bicycle accident. Keating noted that in most cases where there isn't an independent witness, there is the bicyclist's version of events and the motorist's version of events. The possibility of video footage, especially in cases involving a hit and run,would increase the chances that the offender could be held accountable.

As technology advances and the financial costs associated with it decrease, there will soon be a day where a camera strapped to a bicycle is very commonplace. While this will greatly assist law enforcement agencies and attorneys that litigate bicycle crashes, the threat of video surveillance alone may not have a direct effect on reducing the number of bicycle crashes. After all, most bicycle accidents occur when a motorist makes some unintentional mistake. Unlike a criminal action where a criminal intends to harm another person, most bicycle accidents stem from a "human error," not some malicious intent.

In fact, far too often the refrain from a motorist who hits a bicyclist is "I didn't even see" the bicyclist. This raises the questions of what CAN be done to reduce the number of bicycle crashes in Illinois? Yesterday we posted a lengthy post on the Governors Highway Safety Association's excellent report on the growing number of fatalities nationwide that stem from bicycle accidents. Between 2010 and 2012 the study found that nationwide there was a 16% increase in the number of fatal bicycle crashes.

The report of the GHSA concluded that the following actions, in their professional opinion, would reduce the number of collisions and injuries:
  • Implementation or amendment of existing bicycle-related laws and enforcement of those laws;
  • Increased education of both motorists and bicyclists;
  • Increased and improved bicycle infrastructure and road sharing;
  • Efforts to to increase use of helmets and the visibility of bicycles and bicyclists;
  • Reduce speeds of motor vehicles;
  • Reduce drunk bicycling.
As bicycle attorneys in Illinois, we see first hand the devastation that can occur when a bicyclist is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. We applaud the efforts of the GHSA to give due attention to the very real issues surrounding safe bicycling. The findings of this will ideal serve as crucial information available to legislators to help increase these efforts.

In particular, federal funding that can lead to increased bicycle infrastructure would create roadways and bike lanes that would permanently be more conducive to safe bicycling. Particularly in congested urban areas, the presence of protected or buffered bike lanes can create a "safe zone" between bicycles and motor vehicles that would lead to fewer bicycle collisions. With more funding for these initiatives, the goal of safer bicycling could become a reality.