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. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Can the "Idaho Stop" Improve Cycling in Chicago? DePaul U. Study Says Yes

Every bicyclist in Chicago has their thoughts on what can be done to make cycling in Chicago both safer and faster. The issue for all of us is balancing these two goals. Decreased travel times are not worth it if the risk of a bike accident increases. On the flip side an overabundance of safety rules and regulations can be unrealistic and lead to bicyclists simply opting not to ride. A recent study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University entitled "Policies for Pedaling: Managing the Tradeoff Between Safety and Speed for Bicycling in Chicago" seeks to strike a balance between speed and safety for Chicago bicyclists.

DePaul's research team performed a survey of local bicycling laws in cities and towns throughout Illinois and also went on site to areas of Chicago to observe how bicyclists ride in the "real world." As a result, three policy recommendations are made to municipalities that want to support bicycling. First, they suggest the "Idaho Stop" be utilized at four-way stop intersections. Second, lowering fines for cyclists. Third, increasing signage. Below is the Executive Summary from the DePaul policy paper.
  1. Considering permitting “Idaho Stops” at four-way stop intersections, which would enable cyclists to determine whether to stop or yield based on traffic conditions in order to maintain their momentum. The study shows that only about one cyclist in 25 presently complies with the law to come to a complete stop. A pilot program to allow Idaho Stops at certain traffic signal intersections when traffic volumes are relatively low may also be considered. 
  2. Lowering fines for cyclists who commit minor traffic violations and offering “diversion programs” as an alternative to paying a fine if the cyclist attends an approved traffic safety class. Such programs present a unique opportunity to educate cyclists about traffic laws and how they are enforced. 
  3. Prioritizing incremental, low-cost infrastructure improvements, such as signage, along routes that connect neighborhoods outside of downtown. In the absence of a designated bike lane, these efforts both encourage drivers to share the road and justify cyclists riding in traffic.
The recommendation regarding the "Idaho Stop" has garnered a great deal of media attention. Keating Law Offices attorney Michael Keating was interviewed by the Chaddick Institute research team and also was a featured interview in the Chicago Tribune article on the study. Michael Keating was quoted in the Chicago Tribune in support of Idaho Stops, but also reminding all cyclists that we have equal rights and responsibilities as users of the roadway. 
Michael Keating, a lawyer who specializes in bike accidents, said that the region also has a problem with cars not stopping at stop signs, which creates a greater danger to the public than bikes not stopping. He said police need to take a close look at enforcement for all vehicles. 
Keating said bicyclists also have to remember that they have responsibilities as well as rights, and the recklessness of some creates problems for everyone. He thinks cycling rules and safety should be taught in driver's ed classes.

"You have to give respect to get respect," Keating said. "I'm sometimes concerned that cyclists that act as scofflaws aren't giving the respect, so the ones who do adhere to the rules of the road don't get that respect in return."
Attorney Keating has further added, "Looking at the data it is undeniable that there are traffic patterns emerging for bicyclists in Chicago. As with all things in a society, we need to do what the authors of this study did and look at the data and then turn our attention into how to making our streets better for everyone. To disregard data and fail to recognize changing traffic patterns due to the increase of bicyclists is simply foolish.

For more information on the Chaddick Institute's study, please see the following links: 

Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University: "Policies for Pedaling: Managing the Tradeoff Between Safety and Speed for Bicycling in Chicago

StreetsBlog Chicago: "Idaho Stop In the Name of Love: DePaul Study Endorses Rational Cycling"

Chicago Tribune: "Should bicyclists always halt at stop signs and wait at red lights? Study says no

Chicago Sun-Times: "DePaul Study: Bicyclists have a leg up on some other commuters

TimeOut Chicago: "DePaul study argues that Chicago's cycling laws should be relaxed

Chicagoist: "Cyclists Shouldn't Always Have To Stop At Stop Signs, New Study Argues

Chicago Magazine: "Cyclists often roll through intersections and that may be the safer choice






Monday, November 7, 2016

Shorter Days Are Ahead - Bike Lights Are Required Under Illinois Bike Laws


The unseasonably warm temperatures and brilliant sunlight over the past week are misleading. Daylight Savings time is in effect again and until the Winter Solstice our days in Illinois will get shorter and shorter. It is important to remember that bike lights serve many purposes for the bicyclist - and they are the law in Illinois.

Bicycle Lights Are Important

Bike lights are critically important for all bicyclists. A headlight in particular provides the rider greater visibility and makes you more visible to motorists.

Illinois Bicycle Laws Require Lights And Reflectors

Lights for bicyclists riding at nighttime are required by Illinois law. According Section 11-1507 of the Illinois Rules of the Road, bicyclists must have the following on their bikes:

A lamp on the front that emits a white light that can be seen for 500 feet; andA red reflector visible from 100 to 600 feet by a car with its headlights on. A rear red light may also be used.
The fact that the law says that a bicyclist may use a rear red light in addition to a rear reflector is probably just due to some less than precise legal drafting. The bottom line is a red reflector AND a rear red light are better than a reflector alone. This is why the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers strongly recommend that all bicyclists use a rear red light in addition to a red reflector and a bright light in the front.

Jason Jenkins of the Active Transportation Alliance has put together a very helpful and informative short video on bike lights and what a difference they can make. Jason's advice regarding buying the most durable and bright light you can afford is solid advice. No one wants unnecessary expenses, but bike lights can make the difference between getting in a bike crash and getting home safely.

Illinois Bike Law Attorneys

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.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Attorney Mike Keating Presents to Illinois Trial Lawyers Association on Bike Law

Bicycle Law Attorney Mike Keating
Attorney Mike Keating of Keating Law Offices was honored to be chosen as a speaker at a recent Continuing Legal Education Seminar provided by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. Mike Keating discussed recent trends in Illinois bicycle law including the recent changes to the Illinois Vehicle Code as a part of "Dennis's Law."

The legals changes in "Dennis's Law" were made in the aftermath of the dismissal of charges against the driver involved in the death of Dennis Jurs because the judge argued that some legal cases in Illinois created a precedent that a bicycle is not a "vehicle" in Illinois and therefore a bicyclist was not entitled to the right of way. In addition, Mike Keating's presentation focused on ridership trends, increases in bicycling injuries and deaths, and what the trial lawyer bar can continue to do to advocate for victims of bicycle accidents in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

Attorney Mike Keating is a member of the Board of Managers for the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He is a leading bicycle litigation attorney and advocate for bicyclists' rights and safe cycling. He currently serves as the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the American Association for Justice, the nation's largest trial lawyers group. 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.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chicago Fire Department Lt. Danny Carbol Dies As A Result of Injuries From Bicycle Crash

Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant Danny Carbol of Chicago's Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the southwest side has died as a result of injuries he sustained in a bicycle crash on September 20th. Lt. Carbol was riding his bicycle home from work when he was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle in an intersection in Evergreen Park. 

According to reports, Ltd. Carbol was riding home through Evergreen Park and had to brake hard and suddenly. This caused him to eject from the bicycle and collide with the motor vehicle. He sustained severe injuries from the collision. After weeks of treatment, Lt. Carbol succumbed to his injuries

Lt. Carbol is remembered for being a regular bicycle commuter and a genuinely kind man. He was the father to four children and the husband to a school teacher at Brother Rice High School. To those in the Chicago Fire Department he was known as an excellent fireman.

Our most sincere thoughts and prayers are with the Carbol family, his family within the Chicago Fire Department, and all those affected by this tragedy. Rest In Peace.



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Attorney Michael Keating Profiled On Channel 2 News Story on Bike Lane Dangers

Chicago, Illinois Bicycle Litigation Attorney Michael Keating
Attorney Michael Keating was profiled in a Channel 2 News Investigation regarding the dangers facing Chicago bicyclists in the city's bike lanes. This special investigative report by report Dave Savini was broadcast in the aftermath of the deaths of Anastasia Kondrasheva and Lisa Kuivinen. Both of these Chicago bicyclists were killed while riding in marked bikeways in the city.

Anastasia Kondrasheva lost her life while riding on the North Damen bikeway and Lisa Kuivinen was killed after a collision on the Milwaukee bike lane. In another tragic similarity, both of these death involved commercial vehicles that were turning at the time of their deaths. These deaths also occurred in the midst of a tragic spate of deaths of bicyclists in Chicago as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.

Attorney Michael Keating of Keating Law Offices is a national leader in the area of bicycle litigation. The firm has successfully represented hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Illinois. He serves as the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the national trial lawyers association, the American Association for Justice.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Chicago Bicyclist Killed in Right-Hook Crash on Damen at Addison

According to reports, a Chicago bicyclist was killed in a crash with a commercial vehicle during rush hour this morning. The crash occurred as the bicyclist was riding northbound on Damen Avenue and approaching Addison Street. At the same time, what has been described as a "small, flatbed" truck was also travelling northbound on Damen Avenue and was in the process of turning right onto Addison Street. The collision apparently occurred at the intersection of Damen and Addison. 

Damen Avenue is marked with "sharrows" and is part of the City of Chicago's bikeways system. The image above shows the "sharrows" just south of Addison on Damen as well as signage that shows the direction and distance for bicycles to travel to four local locations.

Right Hook Crashes Are Prohibited by Chicago Bicycle Laws

Early indications are that this is a "right hook" crash where the driver was travelling in the same direction and then turned right across the path of the bicyclist. Chicago bike laws explicitly prohibits "right hooks" by turning vehicles and is addressed in Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. The bicycle ordinance 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.” 
Certain State and Federal Laws Address Duties of Truck Drivers

Since the vehicle involved was a commercial truck, there are also specific rules and regulations that may apply to the driver. The drivers of commercial trucks are expected to be professionals and drive with the utmost care. These drivers are typically required to carry a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). These rules and regulations exist not just in state and local laws, but also in federal regulations. Here are some of the key laws that apply to a bicycle crash of this nature:
  • 49 C.F.R. Section 383.111 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires a professional driver to recognize and avoid potential hazards at all times around a turning tractor truck. 
  •  Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code states that every driver of a vehicle must 1) always exercise care to avoid colliding with pedestrians and bicyclists, and 2) sound their horn to provide warning of an impending impact.
A Loss of A Young Life

Chicago has seen a tragic number of deaths of bicyclists in 2016. It is important to remember that each of these incidents is more than a news story and certainly more than a statistic. Each of these bicyclists were a family member and friend to many. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young lady who lost her life in this crash. May she rest in peace. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chicago Bicyclist Injured By Commercial Truck Driver Receives $75,000.00 Settlement

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have settled a substantial personal injury claim of $75,000.00 on behalf of a bicyclist injured in 2014. The crash occurred when the bicyclist, an 18-year-old student, was riding his bicycle southbound in the designated bicycle lane on Halsted Street, approaching its intersection with Division Street. At the same time the driver of a commercial van erratically swerved into the bicycle lane and into the bicyclist’s path. The driver of the van illegally struck the bicycle by sideswiping him. The force of this collision forced the young man off his bike and as result he suffered a fractured wrist and lacerations to his scalp.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices Serve Cyclists Throughout Chicago and the State of Illinois

This bicyclist’s injuries were so serious that an ambulance was called to the scene to evaluate him and transport him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The emergency medical technicians ordered x-rays which revealed a fracture of the ulnar styloid process. In addition, the emergency room physicians applied three surgical staples to address the lacerations to the bicyclist’s skull. Upon leaving the hospital this bicyclist knew he needed help and reached out to the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices. Attorneys Mike Keating and Kevin Horan aggressively pursued this young man’s claim and were able to recover a settlement of $75,000.00 for this injured Chicago bicyclist.

This is a substantial settlement for an injury that fortunately did not require surgery and the bicyclist's recovery was without any complications. The settlement was also reached without having to resort to filing a lawsuit and will fully compensate the young man and his family for his medical bills, time away from school and work, and his pain and suffering.

City of Chicago Laws Provide Protection to Bicyclists

In this case, the motorist violated a Chicago Municipal Code statute that protect bicyclists throughout the city. Section 9-40-060 of the Chicago Municipal Code states that:
“The driver of a vehicle shall not drive, unless entering or exiting a legal parking space, or stand, or park the vehicle upon any on street path or lane designated by official signs or markings for the use of bicycles, or otherwise drive or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such path or lane.”
It was very important for the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices to recover as much money as possible from the motorist’s insurance company based on the injuries to this rider’s wrist and lacerations to his skull and we are proud to have done so.

Contact Keating Law Offices at Any Time

If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Keating Law Offices at 312-239-6787. 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.

The Leading Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Illinois

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 successfully obtained compensation for hundreds of bicycle injury victims across Illinois. The firm's bicycle accident attorneys are always available to review your case with absolutely no risk or obligation to you. The firm's mission is to do everything possible to obtain you the maximum amount for the injuries you sustained. In the event that no recovery can be made for you, our legal services are absolutely free.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Attorney Michael Keating Appears On WGN News To Discuss Dennis's Law And Illinois Bicycle Laws

Attorney Michael Keating of Keating Law Offices discussed the recent change to Illinois bicycle laws with the signing of "Dennis's Law." He appeared live on WGN Morning News in a segment to discuss why this bicycle law is important to all Illinois bicyclists. 

On August 12, 2015 Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law House Bill 5912 that clarifies that bicycles are “vehicles” under the Illinois Vehicle Code and that motorists must provide the right-of-way to bicyclists in the same manner as motor vehicles. The is known as “Dennis’s Law” after Illinois bicyclist Dennis Jurs who was killed in a collision with a motor vehicle on May 18, 2015 in Hampshire, Illinois. 

"Dennis's Law" was also the subject of news articles by WTTW, the Chicagoist and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin in which Michael Keating was interviewed regarding the new law and his role in drafting the legislation. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why The New Illinois Bicycle Law, "Dennis's Law," Is Important For All Bicyclists

Dennis Jurs
On Friday, August 12, 2015 a new Illinois law was signed into law that clarified that Illinois bicyclists are to receive all the same rights in traffic situations involving the right-of-way as the drivers of motor vehicles. Previous to this change, there was a conflict as to whether a bicycle was considered a “vehicle” under Illinois law and was therefore entitled to the right-of-way between vehicles. Since the prior right-of-way laws in Illinois referenced “vehicles” there was an issue as to whether the right-of-way laws explicitly applied to bicyclists. 

New Bicycle Law Provides Clarity To Existing Laws

This change in Illinois bicycle law makes it absolutely clear that bicycles are “vehicles” as defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code and that motorists must provide the right-of-way to bicycles when the bicyclist is entitled to the right-of-way. The new bicycle law will go into effect on January 1, 2017.  

New Law Sought After Traffic Ticket Dismissed

This change was sought after an October of 2015 ruling in which a Kane County judge dismissed a traffic citation against a driver 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 citation at issue was related to 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 then 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 State Representative Anna Moeller. Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois, who represents the Estate of Dennis E. Jurs in the civil case related to the crash along with co-counsel F. John Steffen of Steffen & Kelly, P.C. in Elgin, Illinois, helped draft the legislation. State Representative Moeller sponsored “Dennis’s Law” which passed through both the Illinois House of Representative and the Illinois State Senate with only one vote against it and 164 votes in favor of the change.

Dennis's Law Also Honors The Life Of The Late Dennis Jurs

Dennis E. Jurs was an extremely experienced 68-years old bicycle rider at the time of his death. Mr. Jurs was a United States Army veteran who served in Vietnam where he was injured by a land mine. Mr. Jurs thereafter became very active in cycling in Illinois. He took up cycling at 30 years of age as a way to rehabilitate the leg injuries he suffered while serving 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. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Chicago Bicyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run By Cargo Van Driver on West Side

Photo from ChicagoTribune.com
A Chicago bicyclist was killed in a hit-and-run collision in the West Garfield Park neighborhood on Chicago's West Side late Wednesday night. The bicyclist was riding along the 4000 west block of Maypole Avenue when he was struck by a white cargo van. The driver of the cargo van then fled west on Maypole.

Surveillance footage posted by the Chicago Tribune shows a white cargo van with the letter "A" prominently displayed and the phone number 312-763-3191. Anyone with information can contact police at 312-745-4521.

The bicyclist was taken to Stroger Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this bicyclist. This is the second bicyclist killed in a collision with a motor vehicle in Chicago in the past week.

Drivers in Illinois who are involved in a crash are legally required to:
1) Stay at the scene of the crash long enough to provide the injured party with their information; and

2) 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."
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."
Rather interestingly, in 2011 the law regarding hit-and-runs in Illinois was amended to allow the motorist to avoid prosecution for the hit-and-run by notifying the authorities within a half hour of the accident or within a half hour of being discharged from the hospital for an injury or incapacitation suffered in the accident. Section 11-401(b) provides as follows: 
"Any person who has failed to stop or to comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) shall, as soon as possible but in no case later than one-half hour after such motor vehicle accident, or, if hospitalized and incapacitated from reporting at any time during such period, as soon as possible but in no case later than one-half hour after being discharged from the hospital, report the place of the accident, the date, the approximate time, the driver's name and address, the registration number of the vehicle driven, and the names of all other occupants of such vehicle, at a police station or sheriff's office near the place where such accident occurred. No report made as required under this paragraph shall be used, directly or indirectly, as a basis for the prosecution of any violation of (staying at scene requirements)."
There is no reasonable excuse for a hit-and-run. Illinois law provides reasonable requirements for drivers who have been involved in a crash to stay involved. Even in instances where the driver is injured, there is still a window of time to legally report the crash. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Details Emerge In Fatal Bike Crash On Milwaukee Avenue

The young bicyclist involved in the fatal crash on Milwaukee Avenue has been identified as Lisa Kuivinen, a native of Rolling Meadows who was studying fine arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Journalist Kelly Bauer of DNAInfo.com has written a beautiful article honoring the vibrant life of Lisa Kuivinen. Please take the time to read about this young life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friend of Lisa. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, charges have been filed against the driver of the semi-truck that struck and killed 20-year old Lisa Kuivinen while Lisa was riding in the bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue has been issued two citations. The 37-year old driver of the truck was issued traffic citations for driving in the bike and for failure to use due care while driving near a bicycle in the roadway.

Both of these violations are based on the Chicago Municipal Code. Section 9-40-060 of the Code states:
"Driving, standing or parking on bicycle paths or lanes prohibited -The driver of a vehicle shall not drive, unless entering or exiting a legal parking space, or stand, or park the vehicle upon any on street path or lane designated by official signs or markings for the use of bicycles, or otherwise drive or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such path or lane. The driver of a vehicle shall not stand or park the vehicle upon any lane designated by pavement markings for the shared use of motor vehicles and bicycles, or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such lane."
Section 9-40-160 of the Code explicitly addresses the need for all motorists to use due care in the vicinity of bicyclists. Similar language is found in Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code. The Code states:
"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."
According to reports, a court date is set for September. At the court date the driver will have the option of pleading guilty or not guilty and deciding whether or not to proceed with a trial. There have been no reports of any additional charges other than these two moving violations. 

Attorney Michael Keating Addresses National Trial Lawyer's Meeting On State of Bicycle Law

Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices
Keating Law Offices, P.C. attorney Michael Keating was a featured speaker at this summer's annual convention of the American Association for Justice (AAJ). AAJ is the nation's largest trial lawyers organization. Formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, AAJ is one of the most prominent advocacy organizations in the United States. Mr. Keating has also served as the Chair of the AAJ Bicycle Litigation Committee for the three years.

Faculty for National Trial Lawyers Convention

Mr. Keating's presentation was a part of the Continuing Legal Education programs offered by AAJ at its annual conventions. As a member of the AAJ Faculty, Mr. Keating presenting a program entitled, "Why Bike Crash Cases Are Different Than Motor Vehicle Cases." The program focused on how bicycle crash cases must be treated differently because of the differences in laws and how bicycles are used. Not only are there specific laws that only apply to bicycles, but in many instances bicycles are used on bicycle-specific infrastructures such as bike lanes and bike paths. The goal of the program was to educate fellow trial lawyers throughout the United States regarding the emerging issues related to bicycle crash cases. 

National Leaders in Bicycle Crash Litigation

This presentation was a part of the firm's commitment to advocating for the recognition of bicycle specific litigation as a common and necessary part of the law. Earlier this year Mr. Keating had two legal journal articles published regarding bicycle law. The article "Bicycling In An Automobile's World" was published in Trial magazine. The second article entitled "The Wheels of Change Keep Turning: Why the Popularity of Bicycling In Illinois Has Rendered Illinois Law Irrelevant" was published in the Summer 2016 edition of Trial Journal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Chicago Bicyclist Dies After Collision With Semi-Truck In Milwaukee Bike Lane

Milwaukee Avenue at Racine

A 20-year old Chicago bicyclist has lost their life as a result of a collision with a semi-truck that took place on the Milwaukee Avenue bike lane. According to reports, the collision took place in the southbound lane of Milwaukee Avenue near its intersection with Racine. The collision occurred at approximately 8:15 a.m., in the middle of rush hour. 

This intersection is in Chicago's River West neighborhood and is passed by thousands of bicyclists every day. This section of the Milwaukee bike lane is not part of the protected Milwaukee bike lane where there are bollards and space between the bike lane and the southbound lane for motor vehicle traffic. At this location both motor vehicle and bicycle traffic run parallel to one another. 


Chicago Bicycle Law Prohibits Driving Motor Vehicles on Bike Lane

However, the bicycle lane is clearly marked in bright green and is clearly marked for bicycle traffic only. Chicago law provides that the operators of motor vehicles may not drive on a bike lane. The purpose of this law is to provide safe and reliable routes of travel for bicyclists. In Chicago, the Milwaukee bike lane is well known and immediately recognized as a key route for bicyclists. Here is the section of the Chicago Municipal Code providing that bike lanes are only for bicyclists: 

9-40-060- Driving, standing or parking on bicycle paths or lanes prohibited -The driver of a vehicle shall not drive, unless entering or exiting a legal parking space, or stand, or park the vehicle upon any on street path or lane designated by official signs or markings for the use of bicycles, or otherwise drive or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such path or lane. The driver of a vehicle shall not stand or park the vehicle upon any lane designated by pavement markings for the shared use of motor vehicles and bicycles, or place the vehicle in such a manner as to impede bicycle traffic on such lane. 
Certain State and Federal Laws Address Duties of Truck Drivers

Since the vehicle involved was a semi-truck, there are specific rules and regulation that apply to the drivers of these vehicles. The drivers of these trucks are expected to be professionals and drive with the utmost care. These rules and regulations exist not just in state and local laws, but also in federal regulations. Here are some of the key laws that apply to a bicycle crash of this nature:
  • 49 C.F.R. Section 383.111 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires a professional driver to recognize and avoid potential hazards at all times around a turning tractor truck. 
  •  Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code states that every driver of a vehicle must 1) always exercise care to avoid colliding with pedestrians and bicyclists, and 2) sound their horn to provide warning of an impending impact.
Right Hook Crashes Are Prohibited by Chicago Bicycle Laws

The report from ABC 7 implies that this may have been a "right hook" crash where the driver turned right across the path of the bicyclist. A "right hook" crash occurs when a turning vehicle travels directly across the path of a bicyclist and causes a collision between the turning motor vehicle and the bicycle. Chicago law explicitly prohibits "right hooks" by turning vehicles. Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago specifically addresses "right hooks." The ordinance 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.” 
According to Alisa Hauser of DNAInfo.com, there are charges pending against the driver of the semi-truck involved in the collision. A witness to the crash relayed to the journalist that the bicyclist and the road bicycle were under the cab of the truck. This would tend to indicate that the bicyclist was run over given the placement of the two vehicles. It is unclear, however, exactly what direction the semi-truck was travelling at the moment of impact. 

In the end, another Chicago bicyclist has lost their life in a crash with a motor vehicle. This is a tragic loss of a young life. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the cyclist. 


Edit: The victim of the crash, Lisa Kuivinan identified as non-binary and preferred gender-neutral pronouns. This post has been edited. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Keating Law Offices Sponsors Ride Illinois' Grand Illinois Tour


Photo Courtesy of Ride Illinois. GIT Riders Receive Free Keating Law Offices water bottles for the 14th Annual Ride. 
Keating Law Offices was a proud sponsor of the 14th Annual Grand Illinois Trail and Parks Bike Tour. The "GIT" as it is commonly called is a 300-mile tour of Illinois that took over 200 bicyclists from the start in Coal City then with stops in Oglesby, Washington, Bloomington-Normal and finally in Pontiac. Click here for an article from the Pontiac Daily Leader on the ride.

The GIT helps promote the work of Ride Illinois. Ride Illinois, formerly the League of Illinois Bicyclists, is dedicated to "improving bicycling conditions throughout the state. We are the advocate for all Illinois bicyclists, promoting bicycle access, education, and safety." To learn more about Ride Illinois, visit them on the web at www.RideIllinois.org.

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. The firm is committed to representing the rights of bicyclists in Illinois through efforts in advocacy, outreach, and litigation. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Keating Law Offices Sponsors the 2016 Prairie State Cycling Series


Keating Law Offices is once again a sponsor of the the Prairie State Cycling Series (PSCC) along with title sponsors Intelligentsia Coffee and SRAM. The race series has grown to be the second largest bicycle race series in the United States. Regarding Keating Law Offices' sponsorship of the PSCC, attorney Michael Keating of Keating Law Offices said:
"The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers of Keating Law Offices are very pleased to sponsor the Prairie State Cycling Series. Our involvement with the Prairie State Cycling Series goes back to 2012. We are very proud to have been apart of the growth of the series and love that we have an opportunity to promote bicycling. It is very rewarding to have played a role in the popularity of the series. As advocates of Illinois bicyclists, we are deeply committed to promoting bicycling in Illinois, whether it be by advocating for safer streets, fighting for our clients in the courtroom, or supporting pro-level bicycling in Illinois."
Attorney Mike Keating and other members of Keating Law Offices will be at each race cheering on the riders. This is a very exciting time for bicycling in Illinois. The popularity of the Prairie State Cycling Series reflects the growth in the popularity of bicycling in Illinois whether it be recreational riding for fun or exercise, commuting by bicycle, or competitive bicycling.

Keating Law Offices is the premiere law firm in Illinois that represents victims of bicycle accidents and crashes. Attorney Michael S. Keating is the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the National Trial Lawyers Association known as the American Association for Justice. The firm is nationally renowned for its experience in handling cases stemming from injuries or wrongful deaths as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Video Details Emerge That Chicago Bicyclist Virginia Murray Was Killed In Right-Hook Crash

Intersection of Sacramento and Belmont in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood.
The death of 25-year old Virginia Murray of Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood has made news headlines in large part because it is the first death of a bicyclist utilizing a bike share bicycle. However, the "right-hook" crash that took her life is unfortunately all too familiar in Chicago. Illinois and Chicago traffic laws that are already in place are designed to protect the bicyclist from this traffic scenario ever occurring. The driver of the flat-bed truck involved apparently did not see the bicyclist and failed to yield the right-of-way when making a right-hand turn. This is known as a "right-hook" crash.  

According to a new report from ABC 7 - Chicago, there is video surveillance footage that depicts the fatal collision between Chicago bicyclist Virginia Murray and the flat-bed tow truck. As reported in the report and previously reported information, the flatbed truck approached the light at Belmont on northbound Sacramento. The truck came to a stop. While stopped, 25-year old Virginia Murray, rode up to the right side of the truck between the curb and the truck itself. In the video it is clear that Ms. Murray was within the field of view of the truck's driver as the flat-bed truck began its turn. Ms. Murray's path was exactly the one that a Chicago bicyclist should follow. 

Illinois law requires bicyclists to ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb in situations like this. Section 11-1505 provides as follows:
Sec. 11-1505. Position of bicycles and motorized pedal cycles on roadways - Riding on roadways and bicycle paths. 
(a) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle 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 under the following situations: 
1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motorized pedal cycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or 
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or 
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, motorized pedal cycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this subsection, a "substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane; or 
4. When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. 
(b) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable. (Source: P.A. 97-813, eff. 7-13-12.)
The collision occurred when the truck turned right across Ms. Murray. This is what is known as a "right-hook" collision. In Chicago, the Chicago Municipal Code addresses this scenario. Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago specifically prohibits right turns in front of bicycles. The infographic below details right-hook and left-hook bicycle crashes. The ordinance 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 an attorney who focuses my practice on representing victims of bicycle crashes, right-hook collisions are unfortunately very common. 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 collision occurs. 

The key words in the ordinance 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 motorist to make absolute certain that the path is clear before turning. In addition, the motor vehicle involved in this situation is the type of truck that is utilized in a professional capacity. Drivers of such vehicles are required to meet a higher duty to make sure they are driving safely at all times.


In Illinois the failure of a motorist to adhere to the Illinois Rules of the Road and the Chicago Municipal Code in a bicycle crash that leads to the death of a bicyclist can be the basis for a wrongful death claim against the driver. In cases where the driving was working at the time of the collision, the legal principle of respondeat superior applies. This legal principal means that the employer is responsible for the acts - including the failures - of its employee.

This is a tragic collision that has cost the life of another Chicago bicyclist. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Virginia Murray. 





Leaders In Bicycle Crash Litigation

Keating Law Offices is the premier law firm in Illinois that represents victims of bicycle accidents and crashes. Attorney Michael S. Keating is the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the National Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice. Keating Law Offices has represented the families of the victims of some of the most high profile cases in Illinois. The firm is nationally renowned for its experience in handling cases stemming from injuries or wrongful deaths as a result of collisions with motor vehicles.


If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Michael S. 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 absolutely free and without any obligation.