Thursday, September 21, 2017

Bicyclist Killed In Crash With Van In Belvidere, Illinois


An Illinois bicyclist was killed Tuesday evening as a result of severe injuries sustained in a crash with a Dodge Ram van in Belvidere, Illinois. According to reports, 53-year old James Day of Belvidere suffered blunt trauma to the chest as the result of a bicycle accident at 6:40 p.m. in the evening on Squaw Prairie Road. Mr. Day was pronounced dead at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center after he was transported from the scene of the crash via ambulance. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Day's family and all those affected by this tragedy. 

The bicycle crash occurred approximately a half mile west of Poplar Grove Road on Squaw Prairie. Belvidere, Illinois is in Winnebago County just east of Rockford. The location of the crash is near Belvidere North High School and north of Belvidere's town center. 

The 3-Foot Rule Is An Illinois Bike Law Designed To Protect Bicyclists

Both the bicyclist and the driver of the van were proceeding westbound on Poplar Grove Road at the time of the crash. While no other details were provided, it is worth noting that Illinois law requires the operators of motor vehicles to provide at least 3-feet when passing a bicyclist while travelling in the same direction. The "three foot rule" is provided by Section 11-703 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. 
Overtaking a vehicle on the left. The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules otherwise stated in this Chapter: (d) The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.

New Illinois Bike Laws Designed To Provided Additional Legal Protection To Bicyclists

In addition, a new law that will go into effect in 2018 is designed to provide additional protections to bicyclists that may face passing vehicles. Illinois Public Act 100-0359 which was signed into law last month gives bicyclists added protection in No Passing Zones and allows bicyclists to legally ride on the shoulder. 

The new bike law amends Section 11-703, "Overtaking A Vehicle On The Left," to allow for a motor vehicle to pass a bicycle in a "no passing" zone as long as three conditions are met. First, the bicyclist is going less than half of the posted speed limit. Second, the motor vehicle does not have to speed in order to pass the bicyclists. Third, that the motor vehicles adheres to Illinois' "3-Foot Rule" and gives the bicyclist at least three feet when passing. 
Prior to this change a motorist could face a traffic ticket for passing a bicycle (a vehicle) in a no passing zone. This change alleviates the risk of a driver claiming that the bicycle was causing a "back up" because faster moving motor vehicles could not legally go around the bicyclist. 

The new law also provides that a bicycle may drive on the shoulder. According to the prior version of Section 11-709.1, "Driving On the Shoulder," only emergency vehicles, authorized transit buses, some farm equipment, and service vehicles could legally ride on the shoulder. This change clarifies that bicycles can do what may be the most safe thing in some situations which is to ride on the shoulder as opposed to directly on the roadway.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Illinois Bicyclist Killed By Driver On Cell Phone

An Illinois bicyclist has lost his life as a result of a teenage driver being distracted by her cell phone. According to reports, David P. Weber of Venedy, Illinois was riding his Specialized Roubaix bicycle eastbound on Illinois 15 when he was rear ended by a teenage motorist traveling in the same direction. Mr. Weber was thrown from his bicycle and later died of the injuries he sustained in the crash. The crash occurred just after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, 2017.

The Illinois State Police charged the driver with failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash, improper passing of a bicycle and illegal cell phone usage. Illinois law requires drivers to give at least 3-feet when passing a bicyclist. The "three foot rule" provides the following:
(625 ILCS 5/11‑703) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑703)
Sec. 11‑703. Overtaking a vehicle on the left. The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules otherwise stated in this Chapter:
 
(d) The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.
Illinois law also prohibits talking on a cell phone unless using a "hands free" mode and any texting or dissemination of electronic information. Ironically, this very law came into existence when another Illinois bicyclist was killed by a driver who was distracted while downloading a song on her cell phone. The Illinois law banning "texting while driving" went into effect on January 1, 2010 and is set forth in Illinois Vehicle Code at 625 ILCS 5/12-610.2.
(625 ILCS 5/12-610.2) Sec. 12-610.2. Electronic communication devices.
(a) As used in this Section:
"Electronic communication device" means an electronic device, including but not limited to a hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or a portable or mobile computer, but does not include a global positioning system or navigation system or a device that is physically or electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.
 
(b) A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a roadway while using an electronic communication device. 
(b-5) A person commits aggravated use of an electronic communication device when he or she violates subsection (b) and in committing the violation he or she was involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, disfigurement, or death to another and the violation was a proximate cause of the injury or death.
This crash is a tragic reminder of the incredible dangers Illinois bicyclists face on the state's roadways and how vulnerable we are when motorists do not obey the laws put in place to protect bicyclists. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of David Weber. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

New Illinois Bicycle Laws Further Help Protect Bicyclists

Illinois Public Act 100-0359

On August 25, 2017, House Bill 1784 was signed into law as Illinois Public Act 100-0359. This new legislation, which was successfully advocated by Ride Illinois, further advances the rights of bicyclists and the role of bicycles in a modern transportation scheme in Illinois. This was a particularly impressive result by Ride Illinois in that the bill received a unanimous "Yes" vote from every voting member of the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor. The new law makes the several changes in Illinois bicycle laws within the Illinois Vehicle Code

Providing Bicyclists Enhanced Safety In No Passing Zones

Amends Section 11-703, "Overtaking A Vehicle On The Left," to allow for a motor vehicle to pass a bicycle in a "no passing" zone as long as three conditions are met. First, the bicyclist is going less than half of the posted speed limit. Second, the motor vehicle does not have to speed in order to pass the bicyclists. Third, that the motor vehicles adheres to Illinois' "3-Foot Rule" and gives the bicyclist at least three feet when passing. 

Prior to this change a motorist could face a traffic ticket for passing a bicycle (a vehicle) in a no passing zone. This change alleviates the risk of a driver claiming that the bicycle was causing a "back up" because faster moving motor vehicles could not legally go around the bicyclist. 

Allowing Bicyclists To Legally Ride On The Shoulder 

The new changes also provide that a bicycle may drive on the shoulder. According to the prior version of Section 11-709.1, "Driving On the Shoulder," only emergency vehicles, authorized transit buses, some farm equipment, and service vehicles could legally ride on the shoulder. This change clarifies that bicycles can do what may be the most safe thing in some situations which is to ride on the shoulder as opposed to directly on the roadway.

Clarifies That Rear Red Lights May Be Used Instead Of Reflector 

There was what was probably an unintentional error in the prior version of Section 11-1507, "Lights And Other Equipment On Bicycles," that a rear red reflector was required in all situations. Under the prior law, a rear red light could only be used in addition to the rear reflector. A red light on its own, no matter how bright, was technically not sufficient but a lone red reflector could be. This obviously made no sense practically. Going forward, Illinois bicyclists will be able to "ride legal" with a rear red light without having to also have a reflector. It is the experience of most bicyclists that a rear red light, especially modern LED lights, makes the rider much more visible than just a reflector. 

It is important that we recognize our elected officials in the House and Senate who chose to act as sponsors for this legislation. 


House Sponsors: Rep. Tim ButlerAnna MoellerThomas MorrisonFrances Ann Hurley and Dave Severin


Senate Sponsors: Sen. Heather A. Steans - Ira I. SilversteinDale FowlerJim Oberweis and Cristina Castro


The "heavy lifting" of Ride Illinois in successfully advocating for all Illinois bicyclists cannot be overstated. This legislation is an important part of continually advancing the rights of Illinois bicyclists and advocating for safe bicycling in Illinois. These changes will increase the safety for Illinois bicyclists and reduce the risk of injuries and deaths from bicycle accidents and crashes. Please click here for more information on Ride Illinois and supporting the organization's important legislative and advocacy efforts. 

Bicycle Law Attorney Michael S. Keating

Attorney Mike Keating has extensive legislative experience and a history of fighting for the rights of bicyclists in Illinois. In 2016, he helped draft "Dennis' Law," the landmark legislation that clarified Illinois law to mandate that bicyclists receive the same rights to the "right-of-way" as drivers of motor vehicles and that bicycles were "vehicles." Mike Keating is one of the Chairs of the Legislative Committee for the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association where he reviews all legislation that might affect the rights of those injured in a bicycle crash. In addition, he is the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice, the nation's largest trial lawyers organization. Mike previously served as the Assistant Counsel to the Illinois House of Representatives. 

Keating Law Offices

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. Keating Law Offices has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of hundreds of Illinois bicyclists who were injured through no fault of their own while bicycling. The firm is nationally recognized as leaders in bicycle litigation. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Driver Strikes Two Cyclists Riding In The Chicago Triathalon

Two cyclists competing in the bicycle segment of the Chicago Triathalon were seriously injured when the driver of a car went around the cones designating the lanes for the triathalon and struck the cyclists. The crash occurred on North Lake Shore Drive near Irving Park Road around 7:30 a.m. The cones clearly marked the distinction between lanes for motor vehicle traffic and those for the triathletes. According to news reports, the motorist was cited for negligent driving and operating a motor vehicle without insurance. In Illinois, all motorists are required to have insurance. 

There is a possibility that additional charges could be brought when the Chicago Police Department completes their investigation. "Negligent Driving" is covered by Section 9-40-40 of the Chicago Municipal Code and provides as follows: 
§ 9-40-140 Negligent driving 
a. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any vehicle upon a public waynegligently, heedlessly and without due caution in a manner which endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property or to swerve within, between or across lanes of traffic in such a manner. 
b. In addition to the fine prescribed in subsection (a), any person who violates this section where such violation results in the injury or death of a police officer, traffic control aide, fire department official or other authorized officer, while such officer is performing his or her official duties, or a person acting as a school crossing guard in a school safety zone, shall be subject to a term of imprisonment of not more than six months. 
Any person who violates this section shall be fined not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00 for each offense.
No further details have been reported. Our thoughts and prayers are with the cyclists injured in this inexcusable and preventable crash. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Keating Law Offfices Sponsors the Intelligentsia Cup for 5th Straight Year

2017 if the 5th Year that Keating Law Offices has sponsored the Intelligentsia Cup powered by SRAM. The 2017 Intelligentsia Cup has races throughout Chicagoland. 

The Prairie State Cycling Series is put together by the same team behind Tour of America's Dairyland (ToAD). The goal of the promoters is that the Intelligentsia Cup would be a premiere event every July to complement the racing of ToAD every June. 

Regarding Keating Law Offices' sponsorship of the Intelligentsia Cup, noted bicycle attorney Michael Keating of Keating Law Offices said:
"The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers of Keating Law Offices are proud to sponsor the Intelligentsia Cup along with our friends at Intelligentsia Coffee and SRAM. Sponsorship is more than just investing in the races. It is an opportunity to give back to the bicycling community in Illinois and showcase bicycling as not just a recreational activity but a pro-level sport. It is incredibly rewarding to see this series continue to grow. As advocates of Illinois bicyclists, we are committed to promoting bicycling in Illinois, whether it be advocating for safer streets, fighting for our clients who were injured in a bike accident, or even supporting pro-level bicycling in Illinois. We look forward to the 2017 series."
Illinois Trial Attorney Mike Keating
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 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email 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.

Uber or Lyft in Bike Lane? City of Chicago Training PROHIBITS Ride Share Cars in Bike Lanes

For a lot of people trying to get around Chicago, rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber have a made a big difference when it comes to the ease and comfort of getting around the city by car. That is why it is ironic that many Uber and Lyft drivers routinely use dedicated bike lanes to pick up or drop off passengers. This repeated pattern by rideshare drivers forces bicyclists out of their dedicated space and into the lanes for motor vehicle traffic. This act is discourteous, dangerous and a great source of frustration for Chicago bicyclists. Most importantly, it is also illegal and against the training for ride share drivers. 

Chicago Ride Share Rules Are Designed to Protect Bicyclists

Section 9-115-150 of the Municipal Code of Chicago requires that all "transportation network drivers" (such as Uber, Lyft, etc.) to successfully complete an online or in-person transportation network driver training program. The program includes guidelines on safely picking-up and dropping-off passengers. Dangerous Driving Behavior No. 6: Safe Pick-Up and Drop-Off gives the following clear rules:
  • Passengers and driver cannot open car doors into traffic.
  • Drivers can NEVER stop, stand, or park in a bike lane. Passengers cannot be dropped off in a bike lane.
  • DOORING is opening a car door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. It is punishable by fines up to $1,000.
  • Pull all the way over to the curb when picking up or dropping off a passenger. DO NOT BLOCK travel lane.
Here are copies of the City of Chicago's "Transportation Network Driver Training Curriculum Components" 

Transportation Network Driver Training Curriculum Components - Page 1 of 2

Transportation Network Driver Training Curriculum Components - Page 2 of 2
Uber's Internal Instructions to Drivers is to Respect Bicyclists

Uber’s own “Where to Drive” webpage also advises drivers to "be cautious of bikers and to avoid driving in the bike lanes." Unfortunately, many Uber/Lyft drivers simply disregard these important instructions and all too often illegally infringe on bicycle lanes. Bicycle lanes were designed to enhance protection for bicyclists and make the road safer for everyone. However, bicyclists are still being injured way too often in their own specifically designated lanes. 



As referenced above, a very common bicycle accident involving Uber/Lyft drivers is a “dooring” because drivers drop off their passengers while being pulled over in the bicycle lane. Drivers are expected to safely cross the bicycle lane and pull over to the curb completely, so they can pick-up and drop-off their passengers safely without disrupting bicycle traffic.

City of Chicago and State of Illinois Laws Prohibit Doorings

In addition to Municipal Code of Chicago, the Illinois Vehicle Code also designates discharging a passenger into the bike lane as illegal. Section 11-1407 of the Illinois Vehicle Code 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.” 
It is extremely important for drivers, and passengers alike, to be alert when they enter and exit vehicles. Bicyclists ride on the road to the right side of motor vehicle traffic, which forces them to ride very closely to the curb, or more often, very close to cars that are parked there. Common sense dictates that if someone suddenly opens their car door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, the chance of them being able to stop in time and avoid colliding with the door is very minimal – and sadly, the injuries can be very catastrophic. By law, it is the driver’s and passenger’s responsibility to only open the car door when it is safe to do so, as the fate of avoiding a “dooring” is essentially in their hands.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Illinois Bicyclist Killed in Crash with SUV in Hoffman Estates

Southbound Gannon Drive at Golf Road in Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Michael Schoop of Hoffman Estates has died as a result of injuries he sustained on Wednesday when the driver of an SUV did not yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist when the driver exited an access road. According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Michael Schoop was riding his bicycle southbound on Gannon Drive just south of the intersection with Golf Road in Hoffman Estates. As the bicyclist road southbound on Gannon Drive, the driver of an SUV exited what the report refers to as an "access road" and the collision with the bicyclist occurred. 
Images of the location, however, do not show any "access road" and instead depict parking lots to area businesses that have entrances to Gannon Drive. According to Illinois law, the driver of a vehicle exiting a parking lot has the duty to yield to oncoming traffic when exiting. A bicycle, as a "vehicle" under Illinois law, is "traffic." Section 11-1205 of the Illinois Vehicle Code states:
"The driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway within an urban area shall stop such vehicle immediately prior to driving into the sidewalk area extending across such alley, building, entrance, road or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon, and shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian as may be necessary to avoid collision, and upon entering the roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on such roadway." (625 ILCS 5/11-1205)
In January of 2017 "Dennis' Law" went into effect that specifically clarified Illinois law that bicyclists are entitled to all of the "rights," including the right-of-way, as a motor vehicle. Keating Law Offices represented the family of Dennis Jurs in their wrongful death action and were instrumental in the passing of the "Dennis' Law." That fatal crash occurred when a motorist did not stay stopped at a stop sign and instead drover directly into the path of Dennis Jurs who was riding on a road that had no traffic control signals and was supposed to have the right-of-way. 
Mr. Schoop was a resident of Hoffman Estates. He passed away Friday as a result of his injuries in this crash. This is an incredible unfortunate crash that may have been preventable. Instead a bicyclist has lost his life. Our most sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Michael Schoop. May he rest in peace. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Glen Ellyn Police Request Help In Identifying Hit-and-Run Driver Who Injured Bicyclist

On June 15th, a 52-year-old woman was struck in a hit-and-run collision in west suburban Glen Ellyn. The bicyclist was riding near the intersection of Bryant Avenue and Hill Avenue around 8:30 p.m. when the motorist struck her from behind. The driver then fled the scene. Glen Ellyn Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the hit-and-run driver, whose car is described as a gray/silver SUV or van with multiple bumper stickers. 

If anyone knows any information about the collision, you are encouraged to call the Glen Ellyn Police Department at 630-469-1187. Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating is a native of Glen Ellyn where he attended Glenbard West High School and grew up not far from the crash scene. 

Key Steps To Follow If A Victim Of A Hit-and-Run

Based on the facts reported, the driver involved in this bicycle crash violated many of the Illinois Rules of the Road. The fear of knowing they were in the wrong is the motivation behind many drivers fleeing. Regrettably, hit-and-run collisions are a reality and it is important to protect yourself in such a scenario, especially if you are a bicyclist. Bicycle accidents are very sensitive and often more challenging than cases involving just motor vehicles. Therefore, any bicyclist that was hit by a motor vehicle, even one that fled, has rights and should protect them by ensuring a few things:

  • Even if the at-fault driver has fled the scene, it is essential to still file a police report. Police resources will greatly increase your chances of identifying and locating the hit-and-run driver. Additionally, when it comes to filing a claim, an insurance company providing uninsured motorist coverage will almost always require that an investigation was initiated in an effort to identify the at-fault individual.
  • Taking care of yourself and your health is the most important thing after any type of injury. Likewise, it is crucial that you seek medical attention immediately following the collision, as there need to be records and documentation of the injuries, in order to be able to recover later.
  • Lastly, identifying any potential witnesses to the collision and taking down their contact information is key. Individuals who were present at the collision scene might not only be able to help identify the fleeing motorist, but they can also help with identifying what exactly happened during the collision.

Illinois Laws Require Drivers To Give Aid To Injured Bicyclists

It is the law in Illinois for drivers to render aid to an injured bicyclist. Drivers in Illinois who are involved in a crash are legally required to:
  • Stay at the scene of the crash long enough to provide the injured party with their information; and
  • If necessary or if requested to arrange for medical care for the injured bicyclist. 
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."
Beyond the law, there is a fundamental human need for all users of the roadways to assist one another. The act of a hit-and-run is indefensible. The driver involved in this crash should face certain justice.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Illinois Bicyclist Leland DeBord Killed While Biking to Work

27-year old Leland DeBord was riding his bike to work along I-74 in Moline when he was struck by a motor vehicle. This impact propelled him from his bicycle over the railing and onto I-280. Mr. DeBord died as a result of his injuries. The collision happened early Friday morning. 

Mr. DeBord's family members remember him as a hardworking and loving father. In an article by Elizabeth Wadas of WQAD in the Quad Cities family members said that Mr. DeBord's car recently broke down. Undeterred by this and knowing he needed to get to work to help provide for his children, he was bicycling to work at the time of the fatal crash. 

Illinois bicycle laws provide that all bicyclists in Illinois have the same rights as motorists to the roadway. In addition, they are entitled to certain protections from motor vehicles. Illinois law requires motorists to provide at least three feet of room between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing the bicyclist. The "3-Foot Rule" comes from sub-paragraph (d) of Section 11-703 of the Illinois Rules of the Road. This law states:
(625 ILCS 5/11‑703) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑703) Sec. 11‑703. Overtaking a vehicle on the left. The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules otherwise stated in this Chapter:(d) The operator of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle or individual proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle or individual and shall maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle or individual.
In Illinois, the family of a person who dies as the result of an accident can pursue legal actions against the parties responsible. Under Illinois law, the family of a person who dies as a result of alleged negligence can bring a case under the Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Act. The Wrongful Death Act allows the family to make a claim for the loss of the family member and everything that family member provided to them, including the loss of their presence in their lives. Under the Survival Act the family may make a claim for the material losses such as medical bills and the pain and suffering the family member experienced prior to their death. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Leland DeBord, but most especially his children at this time. This is another tragic reminder of the dangers that Illinois bicyclists face when using the roadways in Illinois. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Caledonia, Illinois Bicyclist Killed in Crash with Pick-Up Truck Operated by a 16-year Old Driver

A Caledonia, Illinois woman lost her life when she was struck by a pickup truck while riding her bicycle earlier this week. Deborah Wright, 49 years old, was riding her bicycle eastbound on Harlem Road near Keeneland Place, in the far right side of the lane, when a 16-year old pickup driver struck her. Mrs. Wright was making her way to Rock Cut State Park, a trail that she biked to three to four times each week, according to her husband. The teen driver has not been charged or ticketed regarding this collision as of yet; however, the accident remains under investigation. Mrs. Wright was married with a husband and three daughters. Our sincere prayers and thoughts are with the Wright family.

As of January 1st of this year, “Dennis’ Law” went into effect, which provides ALL bicyclists with greater protection under Illinois traffic laws. Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating represented the Jurs family in their wrongful death lawsuit and was instrumental in the passing of the legislation. Dennis’ Law makes it clear that bicycles are considered vehicles, which means that all traffic laws using the term “vehicle(s),” apply to bicycles as well. One of the most important aspects of this new law is the clarification that motor vehicles and bicycles receive the same rights on the road in right-of-way situations. A very common collision scenario involves motor vehicles that collide with bicyclists at intersections because they do not yield to the bicyclists right-of-way, even though they should. Therefore, this law will help make the roads safer for bicyclists, in addition to holding motor vehicle drivers accountable for failing to yield to bicyclists who have the right-of-way. 

Illinois has an average of 20-30 bicyclist deaths per year, so Dennis’ Law is an important and positive step toward improving protection offered to bicyclists. Another example of a law that helps to protect bicyclists is Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. This section provides, in part, that “every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian, or any person operating a bicycle.” The broad intent of this law is to recognize that bicyclists are vulnerable users of the roadway and are at great risk if involved in a collision. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Chicago Bicyclist Killed In Crash With Car on West Side

100 Block of North Homan Avenue
Louis Smith, a 56-year-old Chicago bicyclist, was killed in a bicycle vs. motor vehicle crash late Monday evening in East Garfield Park. According to reportsMr. Smith was riding north on Homan Avenue while the car, a Chrysler 200, was traveling the opposite direction on the same street.

According to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office, Mr. Smith swerved his bicycle into the vehicle, whereby he was fatally injured. Mr. Smith was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital following the collision, but unfortunately, he was pronounced dead within the hour. The crash remains under investigation by the City of Chicago Police Department Major Accidents Investigation Unit. Investigations by MAIU can take days or even weeks before their findings are released. 

Although no citations have been issued, it is essential to keep in mind the responsibility that all drivers have regarding road safety. The Municipal Code of Chicago has established many laws to protect bicyclists. Specifically, Section 9-40-160 of the Municipal Code of Chicago provides:
9-40-160 Drivers to exercise due care - Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian, or any person operating a bicycle or other device propelled by human or animal power, upon any roadway, and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precautions upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.
Click here for additional provisions of the Municipal Code of Chicago that encourage bicyclist safety. The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers often rely on the Municipal Code of Chicago as well as the Illinois Vehicle Code to obtain favorable settlements and verdicts for injured bicyclists. Road safety is important for everyone, but it is especially important for bicyclists, as bicycles do not possess all of the same protections that a motor vehicle does. Bicycle vs. motor vehicle crashes are an unfortunate reoccurring reality, so it is important to ensure that all riders and drivers are aware of the rules of the road and their rights for when such an unfortunate event occurs. Our thoughts are with Mr. Smith’s family; may he rest in peace. If you have any questions regarding bicyclist’s rights, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

This is the second death of a Chicago bicyclist in 2017. Early this year, 34-year old Chicago bicyclist Jezniah Smith, was killed while bicycling on Division Street in Humboldt Park. Keating Law Offices represents the family of Jezniah Smith in a wrongful death action against the driver involved in that crash.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chicago Bicyclist Receives $295,000.00 Settlement for Personal Injury Claim After Right Hook by Taxicab Caught on Tape

CDOT Footage Showed Bicyclist Struck By Turning Taxi

A Chicago bicyclist suffered a broken collarbone and a fractured rib when he was "right hooked" by the driver of a taxicab in 2015. The bicycle crash occurred at the intersection of Kinzie Street and LaSalle Street in the River North neighborhood. At the time of the crash the bicyclist was riding westbound in the bike lane on Kinzie Street. At the same time, the cab driver was driving west on Kinzie and attempting to make a right-hand turn onto northbound LaSalle Street.

Bicycle Crash Captured on CDOT Surveillance Camera


The driver of the cab, despite the presence of the Kinzie bike lane, never checked for bicycle traffic and turned right immediately across the bicyclist. The bicyclist was thrown from his bicycle onto the roadway as a result of the impact. The attorneys at Keating Law Offices were able to obtain video footage from the City of Chicago by immediately requesting it. Nearby Chicago Department of Transportation cameras captured the incident and this photograph depicts the moment the bicyclist was thrown threw the air after he was ejected from his bicycle. 

Taxicab Driver Violated Chicago Bike Laws With "Right Hook" Turn

The operator of the taxicab violated state and local traffic laws in making this turn. In Chicago the Municipal Code addresses this scenario. Section 9-16-020 specifically prohibits right turns in front of bicycles. The infographic below details right-hook and left-hook bicycle crashes. The Chicago bicycle law states:
When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, street, or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.” 
As a law firm that focuses on representing victims of bicycle crashes, right-hook collisions like this are common, especially in congested areas like River North. The reason that these types of crashes are so common is simple: the motorist does not see the bicyclist even though they have the opportunity to do so. The motorist typically makes the turn without ever checking for other traffic - including bicycles - when making the turn and the right-hook collision ensues.

The key words in Section 9-16-020 of the Chicago Municipal Code are "until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle." The weight of these words are that it is incumbent upon the taxi cab driver to be absolutely certain that the path is clear before initiating a right turn. A taxicab driver is also supposed to be a "professional driver" and operating their vehicle to to meet the highest standards. 

The injuries from this crash were very severe and required extensive treatment. The bicyclist's fractured collarbone had to be surgically repaired and the other injuries took a long time to heal. During this time the bicyclist was not able to work and lost wages that he otherwise would have earned. Fortunately, this financial settlement of $295,000.00 does more than compensate the bicyclist for his medical bills and lost wages from when he couldn't work. This settlement takes into account the severity of the injury and provides compensation for the pain and suffering and loss of a normal life he experienced as a result of his injuries. 


Keating Law Offices Has A History Of Prosecuting Taxicab and Rideshare Cases

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm has extensive experience handling cases again taxi cab companies and ride share companies like Uber and Lyft for bicycle accidents caused by their drivers. 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 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email Mike@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. 



Friday, May 12, 2017

Knox County Prosecutors Charge Drunk Driver With Attempted Murder In Violent Assault On Bicyclist

Criminal Defendant Jacqueline Wells
In recent years a great deal of attention has been placed on prosecutors for failing to charge at-fault motorists with serious charges and for judges to appropriately punish those motorists for killing bicyclists. In both of those cases the drivers were charged with Aggravated Driving Under the Influence for causing a fatal collision while intoxicated but more serious charges were not pursued and the drunk drivers received small prison sentences. In Chicago, the drunk driver who struck and killed Bobby Cann received only a ten day sentence and the drunk driver that struck and killed Hector Avalos only received a one hundred day sentence. 

The inexcusable and violent assault on Galesburg bicyclist Andrew Tolle has led to prosecutors filing an appropriate series of charges against the motorist. According to reports, Jacqueline Wells was driving her red Jeep on the same road as Mr. Tolle when she began to harass the bicyclist. She then proceeded to pull behind the bicyclist and ram him twice. This threw the bicyclist off of his bike and she then severely injured him when she drove over the bicyclist. Wells proceeded to continue down the road with Mr. Tolle's bicycle under her Jeep. Evidence later suggested that Wells was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Mr. Tolle was treated at a local hospital and then transferred to Peoria for further medical treatment. 

Unlike other cases where serious charges were not brought, Knox County, Illinois prosecutors filed a series of charges, including attempted murder, against Jacqueline Wells. According to local reports, the drunk driver was charged with: 
  • Driving under the influence
  • Attempted murder
  • Aggravated reckless driving
  • Leaving the scene of a personal injury accident
  • Improper lane usage
  • Aggravated battery causing great bodily harm
  • Failure to notify police
  • Failure to render aid.
These are appropriate charges that reflect not only the seriousness of the personal injuries sustained by the bicyclists, but also reflect the depraved, intentional acts of this motorist. She used her vehicle as a weapon with the full intention of hurting the bicyclist. A Jeep of that size is as harmful as a gun and more dangerous that any other weapon used in street crimes. There is no conceivable justification under the law for what she did. It is a positive development to see the Knox County prosecutors choose to treat this crime with the seriousness that it deserves. 

Most importantly, our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Tolle and his family during this time.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bike Attorney Gives Presentation on Bike Law to Bicycle Club

Attorney Michael Keating of Keating Law Offices recently gave a presentation to Oak Lawn-based bicycle club, the "Bike Psychos," at the Oak Lawn Library. The presentation was focused on the current state of Illinois bicycle laws and the current state of bicycling in the Chicagoland area. The event included an extended question and answer session and a lively discussion of the issues facing bicyclists in Illinois.

The Bike Psychos are a well known cycling club in the southwest suburbs who put on a popular century ride every summer. For more information of the cycling club and their events, you can visit their website at http://www.bikepsychos.net/.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices regularly give presentations to local bicycle groups, students, and racing teams. If you would like to have on the attorneys give a presentation to your group on Illinois bicycle law, please contact the firm at info@keatinglegal.com or call the firm at 312-239-6787.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Marin Bikes Announces Recall of Mountain Bikes For Risk of Bicycle Accidents

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced the recall of two Marin Mountain Pine Mountain Bicycle models. Approximately 370 Marin Mountain bikes (in addition to 100 that were sold in Canada) are being recalled. CPSC has issued the recall for both Marin Mountain bike models due to faulty rigid front forks that can bend or break during use or while jumping, which causes the rider to lose control and potentially fall or crash while on their bike.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, the two Marin Mountain bike models that have been deemed hazardous are the 2016 Pine Mountain 1 and the 2017 Pine Mountain bicycles. The bikes were sold in five frame sizes and one basic color scheme of a silver painted frame with an orange painted fork. The model name “Pine Mountain 1” (2016) or “Pine Mountain” (2017) is printed on the top tube of the frame and the downtube of the frame has a “MARIN” decal. At least four reports of bent bicycle forks have been reported, including one in the United States and three in other countries. No injuries have been reported, but CPSC recommends consumers should immediately stop using the recalled mountain bikes and contact Marin Bikes at (800) 222-7557 or online at www.marinbikes.com under the “recall/safety” link at the bottom of the page for instructions on receiving a replacement bicycle fork and scheduling a free repair.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to a defective bicycle, you may have a product liability case against the manufacturer of the bicycle or scooter and/or the manufacturer of the components that broke. Please contact Mike Keating at Mike@KeatingLegal.com or (312) 239-6787 (Office) or (312) 208-7702 (Cell) to discuss your case. All initial consultations are done free of charge at your convenience.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Streetsblog Profiles Keating Law Offices' Work On Behalf of Chicago Bicyclist


Lawsuits in Cook County are never easy. But a recent Keating Law Offices' case shows that the legal system can work for someone injured in a bicycle accident. Streetsblog Chicago recently published an article on the successful resolution of a case for one of Keating Law Offices' clients. South Side bicyclist and father Andrew Berg originally filed a lawsuit "pro se" (as his own lawyer) against a motorist who struck him while he was riding in the protected bike lane on 31st Street. After the motorist failed to respond to Andrew's request for information, he filed a case in Cook County's small claims court. At that point, the driver did contact her insurance company who then aggressively moved the case to a bigger court where an arbitration was ordered by the court.

Circuit Court of Cook County Bicycle Crash Litigation

After Streetsblog ran an article on Andrew's legal plight, he contacted Keating Law Offices. We immediately agreed to help Andrew and went right to work on the case. Attorney Mike Keating said, "Handling so many bike crash cases in Chicago we know first hand that the insurance companies have good attorneys who will work aggressively on their case. If we didn't help Andrew, he would have been at a big disadvantage. By our entering the case we immediately leveled the playing field." 


Within months the case was resolved. Keating Law Offices attorney Catelyn Viggiano, who handled the case for Andrew Berg, was able to obtain an arbitration award for Andrew and then successfully settle the case for Andrew. Catelyn said, "If there's one thing I've learned in being a lawyer, no matter the case value, the feeling of obtaining justice and getting positive results for clients is always rewarding. I'm so happy we could do just that for this Chicago cyclist." The attorney for the insurance company was understanding and reasonable and helped to get the case resolved after the successful arbitration. 

Successful Result for Client 

Andrew Berg told Streetsblog about Keating Law Offices that "They said they didn’t want to leave a cyclist behind and were trying to get justice,” he said. “I’m thankful to everyone in the bike community and the attorneys for supporting me.”

The resolution of the case not only compensated Andrew for his medical bills, but also for his pain and suffering he experienced while recovering and the scar he ended up with on his elbow. Most importantly, a Chicago bicyclist was not left behind. Chicago's bicycle community and the bike attorneys at Keating Law Offices were at his side.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

CBS News Footage Shows Cab Driver Had A Red Light At Time of Collision With Chicago Bicyclist

CBS News Crew Unexpectedly Records Bike Crash 

While filming a news story about train delays at Union Station, CBS 2 News in Chicago inadvertently captured a bicycle crash between a cab driver and a Chicago bicyclist at the intersection of Canal Street and West Adams Street on Friday, February 24, 2017. CBS 2 later ran a segment on the ten o'clock news and online entitled "Anatomy Of A Bike Crash: Who's At Fault?" Just prior to the collision, the bicyclist was riding northbound on Canal Street and the cab driver was driving westbound on Adams Street. The segment showed the crash video in real time which, like most crashes, happened unexpectedly and suddenly. Keating Law Offices has been retained by the bicyclist to represent him in this matter.

Video Depicts Exact Moment of Bicycle vs. Cab Crash

Initially, the video seemed to suggest that the bicyclist may have entered the intersection on a red light while the westbound cab driver had a green light. However, a closer analysis of the video and a site investigation by Keating Law Offices of the timing sequence of the traffic signals shows that at the moment of the impact the bicyclist had a green light and pedestrians had a "Walk" signal on Adams Street. The video correspondingly demonstrates that at the moment of impact the westbound cab driver had a red light at Canal Street.

The CBS video starts at 00:57 and runs in descending order to 00:00. Below is an image from the CBS footage (00:54) of the bicyclist in the intersection of Canal Street and Adams Street just prior to the impact. The cab is in the background but is obscured by the CBS reporter in the foreground in this image.



The CBS footage (00:53) from moments later depicts the impact between the bicyclist and the taxi cab.


By zooming in on the same moment it is clear that the bright white "Walk" signal was illuminated for the crosswalk on Canal Street just prior to and at the time of the collision.


Here is an even closer look at the white "Walk" signal that was illuminated at the time of impact:


An inspection at the scene by Keating Law Offices discovered that the white "Walk" signal seen in the images above for pedestrians on Canal Street is only illuminated when the westbound traffic on Adams Street, such as the cab in this collision, has a red light.



In addition, Northbound traffic on Canal Street only receives a green light at the same moment that the "Walk" signal is illuminated for pedestrians crossing Adams Street while walking north/south along Canal Street.


Video Shows The Dangers Chicago Bicyclists Face

As noted by the CBS news segment, this crash shows the dangers facing bicyclists in Chicago. And unlike the driver of a motor vehicle, a bicyclist is a vulnerable user of the roadway who is at a tremendous disadvantage when a crash like this occurs.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Illinois Bike Law, "Dennis' Law," Clarifies That Bicycles Get The Right-of-Way

Illinois Bicyclists Have Same Rights As Drivers Of Motor Vehicles

With the start of a new year, Illinois bicyclists will find themselves with greater protection under the Illinois Rules of the Road. Starting January 1, 2017, Illinois law clearly states that bicyclists receive the same rights to the "right-of-way" as drivers of motor vehicles. This law is known as "Dennis' Law" after fallen Illinois bicyclist Dennis Jurs. 

Before Dennis' Law went into effect, there was a conflict in Illinois bicycle laws as to whether a bicycle was considered a “vehicle” under Illinois law and received the same "right" to the right of way as a motor vehicle. Some appellate court cases said that a bicycle did not count as a "vehicle." Since the prior right-of-way laws in Illinois referenced “vehicles” there was an issue as to whether the right-of-way laws equally applied to bicyclists on the roads in Illinois. 

New Bike Law Reinforces Existing Laws

The change provided by "Dennis' Law" to Illinois bicycle law makes the Illinois Rules of the Road absolutely clear that bicycles are, in fact, “vehicles” as defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code. This change to the bike laws means that drivers of motor vehicles must provide the right-of-way to bicycles. This is an important development because it will also require police officers, judges, the insurance industry and attorneys to consider the absolute rights of Illinois bicyclists. No longer can any conflict or confusion in old Illinois laws be used against bicyclists. 

New Law Sought After Traffic Ticket Dismissed

In October of 2015 a Kane County judge dismissed a traffic citation against a motorist for failing to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming bicyclist. The judge ruled that the right-of-way laws in the Illinois Vehicle Code did not apply to bicyclists. The traffic ticket was from the fatal May 18, 2015 collision between the motorist and Dennis E. Jurs of Hampshire. This collision resulted in the death of Mr. Jurs. The judge cited non-traffic related cases that held that a bicycle was not a “vehicle” under certain legal definitions. The judge, relying on old laws, dismissed the charges against the motorist involved in the fatal collision.

The family of Dennis E. Jurs brought the issue of this lack of clarity in the law to the attention of Illinois State Representative Anna Moeller of Elgin. Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois, who represented the Estate of Dennis E. Jurs in the civil case related to the crash along with attorney F. John Steffen of Steffen & Kelly, P.C. in Elgin, Illinois, drafted the legislation and worked with lobbyists and legislators on the language of the law. State Representative Moeller sponsored “Dennis’ Law” which quickly passed through both the Illinois House of Representative and the Illinois State Senate before being signed into law by Governor Rauner in August. Dennis' Law has been the subject of a great deal of attention in the media for the positive effect it will have on Illinois bicyclists. 

Dennis' Law Honors The Life And Legacy Of Dennis Jurs

Mr. Jurs was a United States Army veteran who served in Vietnam where he was injured by a land mine. Mr. Jurs was very active in the cycling scene in Illinois. Dennis Jurs took up cycling at 30 years of age as a way to rehabilitate the leg injuries he suffered in Vietnam. Mr. Jurs was a member of the Illinois-based bicycle racing team, Team MACK, and was an organizer for years of the well-known Four Bridges Bicycle Race in Elgin, Illinois. Dennis E. Jurs was an extremely experienced 68-years old bicycle rider at the time of his death and he embodied the excitement and joy that bicycling provides. Mr. Jurs is survived by his wife and two daughters who continue to honor the life and legacy of Dennis Jurs.