OFFICE: 312-239-6787 - TOLL FREE: 855-IL-BIKE-LAW - AFTER HOURS: 312-208-7702 - Email: KLO Info

Friday, August 1, 2014

Taxi Involved in Hit-and-Run with Bicyclist in Lakeview - Help Requested to Identify Taxicab

Intersection of Halsted Street and Wellington Avenue near where a Chicago bicyclist was injured in a hit-and-run collision on July 19th in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.
The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have been retained to represent a Chicago bicyclist who was a victim of a hit-and-run with a taxicab on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at approximately 10:15 p.m. The bicycle accident occurred in the Lakeview neighborhood at 3031 North Halsted Street which is just north of the intersection of West Wellington Avenue and North Halsted Street near Illinois Masonic Hospital.

The bicyclist, a local dog walker who was riding home, was traveling northbound in the marked bike lane on Halsted Street when the driver of a taxicab suddenly swerved the motor vehicle into the bike lane and struck the bicyclist. The driver of the taxicab then fled the scene of the bicycle collision northbound on North Halsted Street towards its intersection with North Clark Street. Three eyewitnesses confirmed that the hit-and-run vehicle was a taxicab. However, the witnesses were unable to identify the taxi number or license plate. There is an unconfirmed report that the taxicab may have been black and white in color, but there is some confusion from the scene as to the accuracy of this report. The Chicago Police Department responded to the scene but have since closed their investigation after the responding officer chose to not notify the police department's Major Accidents Investigation Unit (MAIU).

Keating Law Offices has commenced legal action against the "John Doe" driver on behalf of the injured bicyclist and are in the process of securing a protective order from a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County to acquire security footage from nearby businesses. Yet, we are respectfully asking for your help to identify the hit-and-run taxicab driver and to identify any Chicago taxicab companies that operate taxicabs that are black and white in color. If you witnessed the bicycle collision or have any information regarding the hit-and-run taxicab driver please contact Keating Law Offices at (312) 239-6787 or email attorney Mike Keating at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com. Callers may choose to remain anonymous. 

The bicyclist sustained multiple severe injuries, including an open fracture to his left forearm. An open fracture is when the fractured bone breaks through the skin. The bicyclist was transported via ambulance to a local emergency room where he underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery (“ORIF”). ORIF is a two-part surgery in which the broken bone is put back into place and then an internal fixation device (usually screws, plates, rods or pins) is placed on the bone to stabilize and facilitate healing of the fracture. The bicyclist spent four nights at the hospital before being released and has a long road of recovery in front of him.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices Sponsor Prairie State Cycling Series

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices are again sponsoring the Prairie State Cycling Series (PSCC). The PSCC is brought by the same race promoters as the Tour of America's Dairyland (ToAD) an immensely popular race series every June in locations throughout Wisconsin. Now in its second year, the Prairie State Cycling Series continues to experience incredible growth in popularity and number of racers. The goal of the promoters is that the PSCC would be a premiere event every July to complement the racing of ToAD every June.
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. This is the second year we have sponsored the Prairie State Cycling Series, but our sponsorship of races in Illinois with this group goes back years to when we sponsored the Prairie State Criterium in St. Charles in 2012. As advocates of Illinois bicyclists, we are committed to promoting bicycling in Illinois, whether it be advocating for safer streets, fighting for our clients, or even supporting pro-level bicycling in Illinois."
 Here is a listing of all of the races in the Prairie State Cycling Series along with links to each race.
Attorney Mike Keating and other members of Keating Law Offices will be at each race cheering on the riders. Please say hello if you are at the races. 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 Associaiton, 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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chicago Bicyclist Killed in Fatal Crash Near North Branch Trail in Niles is Identified

View of westbound Howard Street at the North Branch Trail.
The identity of a North Side bicyclist killed in a bicycle crash with a Mazda Miata has been identified as 39 year old Jeremy Ghisols of North Mulligan Street in Chicago.  The fatal crash occurred last week in Niles near the intersection of the North Branch Trail and Howard Street. At that location, the North Branch Trail runs in a direct North-South direction and Howard Street is a major East-West arterial street.

According to reports, police are still investigating the exact conditions and actions that may have caused  the fatal bicycle accident on July 9th. Niles police have indicated that the bicyclist may have "veered" off the path and was struck by a westbound Mazda. However, "veered" is an interesting verb choice given that the North Branch Trail path runs directly across Howard Street. Most bicyclists on the path therefore cross directly across the trail in a straight line. "To veer" is to change direction suddenly which would be an unusual action for a bicyclist traveling on the North Branch Trail across Howard Street.

However, no other details are available as of yet and no traffic citations have been issued. As of Monday morning, the investigation into the crash by the Niles police department remained ongoing. Niles itself had previously identified this location as one where improvements such as flashing beacons, signage and striping for a crosswalk could be implemented as a part of its multi-modal traffic plan to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The ability of Niles to implement these improvements is reportedly based on obtaining additional funding from the Regional Transportation Authority.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragic event, especially the family and friends of Jeremy Ghisols.

What Are The Legal Responsibilities Of A Motorist Who Causes A Bike Crash in Illinois?

Unfortunately, many of the cases we handle involve bicyclists who were not only injured, but the driver then fled the scene of the crash. As the old expression goes, this is literally adding "insult to injury." Obviously, the decent, moral thing to do is for a motorist to put aside their legal or other practical concerns and tend to the injured bicyclist. Yet this often isn't the case. Hit-and-run collisions are a very real and very common issue for bicyclists in Illinois and nationwide. The National Highway Traffic Administration reports a 14% increase in fatal hit-and-run crashes between 2009 and 2011. The reality is drivers flee the scene for any number of reasons: legal concerns, fear of being financial responsible, or even basic fear and panic.
 

No reasonable person would defend a motorist fleeing the scene. It is wrong. A hit-and-run places the wrongdoer's immediate selfish concerns above the potentially serious injuries sustained by the bicyclist in the crash. But moral issues aside, what are the legal requirements in Illinois for a motorist who causes a bicycle crash?

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."

In summary, any motorist involved in a motor vehicle vs. bicycle collision in Illinois resulting in personal injuries has a legal responsibility 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.

 

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)."
The bottom line is there is no excuse for a motorist to flee the scene of a bicycle crash. At worst, a bicyclist may be literally left to die at the scene of the crash. At a minimum, a person who needs help may ironically need the motorist's assistance in that moment. Even if there is that moment of fear or panic, Illinois law provides a half hour for the motorist to right the wrong without any penalty.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights and Weekends) or via email at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Victim of Hit-and-Run in Chicago Receives Maximum Insurance Settlement

Many bicyclist fear they would be the victim of a hit-and-run bicycle accident and would find themselves not only the victim of the crash, but also without any way to be compensated for injuries that were not their fault. A recent settlement on behalf of an injured bicyclist by the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices shows the critical important of Uninsured Motorist Coverage in preventing this scenario from happening and adding "insult to injury" for an injured bicyclist.

The attorneys were recently able to attain a six-figure settlement on behalf of a Chicago bicyclist who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run accident involving a motor vehicle in downtown Chicago. This settlement reflected the maximum amount of the applicable Uninsured Motorist insurance policy.

This particular case reflects the importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage. Last September, the bicyclist was struck from behind by a motor vehicle that was traveling eastbound on the same street as the bicyclist in Chicago. The impact caused the bicyclist to strike the pavement and land directly on his elbow. As a result, he suffered a compound fracture to his elbow that required immediate surgery on the very same day as the crash. Despite the bicyclist’s serious injuries, the motorist immediately fled the scene, never to be identified by authorities.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is insurance that can be purchased through an insurance company that protects a person even if the other person who caused the accident did not have insurance. Some estimates place the number of uninsured drivers in Illinois at one in five drivers. The exact number is difficult to track due to the fact that some drivers not only do not have insurance, but do not even have licenses. There is a similar and related type of insurance called Underinsured Motorist Coverage which provides additional insurance coverage when the at-fault driver did not have enough insurance.

Due to the fact that the driver in this case fled the scene, it was not difficult to determine that the motorist was "uninsured," simple logic dictates that there can be no insurance for an unknown individual. Fortunately, the bicyclist carried  the Uninsured Motorist Coverage and a claim could be placed with that insurance company. It is important to note that even though the Uninsured Motorist claim is placed with the injured persons own insurance company, there is no guarantee that the insurance company will treat the injured individual any different than any other "claimant." Insurance companies make money by collecting more in premiums than they pay out in claims. "A claim is a claim" to many insurance companies and unfortunately there is a fight to obtain a fair resolution under the terms of the insurance policy.

If you carry auto insurance, you can check the amount of Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage you carry by checking you "Declarations Page" if you have it, by checking an insurance account with online access, or simply calling your broker. If you do not carry auto insurance, you can always ask a friend or family member to add you as an "insured" under their policy for this purpose.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at (312) 239-6787 (Office) or  (312) 208-7702 (Nights or Weekends) or email at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls will be promptly returned, and all initial consultations are confidential and free.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Details Emerge in Barbie Eno Case

Stock Image of Kenworth W900 Cement Truck

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported additional details regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of 28-year old Barbie Eno of the Portage Park neighborhood. According to the report, based on the position of the Kenworth W900 truck and Barbie Eno's bicycle after the collision, both vehicles were traveling northbound on Cicero Avenue towards Belmont Avenue. Other reports indicated that the Kenworth W900 truck was a "concrete truck," meaning that the truck was pulling a concrete mixer as opposed to a trailer.

Northbound Cicero Avenue at Belmont Avenue
The Sun-Times article further indicates that the driver of the truck did not see the bicyclist prior to impact and only stopped when he noticed people waiving at him. A driver of a tractor truck like the Kenworth W900 is required to adhere to all of the applicable rules of the road, such as the Chicago Municipal Code and the Illinois Vehicle Code, and also to Federal requirements.These requirements provide that 1) the driver of a cement truck like this should "keep a proper lookout" for bicycles but 2) to not turn right until it is safe to do so. It is axiomatic that if a vehicle is "clear" to turn, that a bicycle crash cannot occur.

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.
  • Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago specifically provides that a motor vehicle should not turn right across the path of a bicyclist traveling in the same direction until it is "clear" and safe to make the turn. This is known as a "right hook."
DNAInfo Chicago provided a very thoughtful article on Barbie Eno that also contains service information.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with Barbie Eno's family and friends. God bless all of you at this difficult time.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bicyclist Tragically Killed by Turning Truck Identified as Portage Park Native Barbie Eno

Northbound Cicero Avenue approaching Belmont Avenue in Chicago, IL.
On Thursday morning 28-year old Barbie Eno was riding her bicycle on northbound Cicero Avenue on her way back from the Secretary of State's Office where she was issued a new I.D. card. As she was riding along Cicero Avenue towards Belmont Avenue a cement truck was also driving northbound. As both the bicycle and the cement truck approached Belmont, the cement truck turned right onto Belmont Avenue and came across the bicyclist's path and into contact with Barbie on her bicycle. As a result of this collision, Barbie sustained multiple injuries that claimed her life.

DNAInfo Chicago has published an excellent article about Barbie Eno. In a tragic twist of irony, this bicycle accident took place just feet from the apartment in Portage Park where Barbie lived as a child. Barbie lived nearby on Addison Street near its intersection with Cicero Avenue and was known for her colorful tattoos, love of her cats, her devotion to her sister's three children, and her joy riding her bike. The article quotes Barbie's sister, Chrissy, as saying that she loved to ride her bike and rode it everywhere in the city.

Details regarding the Chicago Police Department's investigation into this matter remain unclear. Nonetheless, based on the positions of the cement truck and the bicycle prior to the collision, and the report that the truck was turning right onto Belmont, it would appear that this collision is what is known as a "right hook" bicycle crash. 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.” 
Tragically Chicago has lost another bicyclist due to a collision with a motor vehicle. As a result a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a friend to many is lost. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Barbie Eno's family and friends. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Chicago Bicyclist Killed in "Right Hook" Crash with Truck on Northwest Side

Intersection of North Cicero Avenue approaching Belmont Avenue where a 28-year old Chicago bicyclist was killed in a collision with a truck on Thursday morning.
 A 28-year old Chicago bicyclist was killed after a industrial truck "clipped" her bicycle while she was riding north on Cicero Avenue near Belmont Avenue. The bicyclist has been identified as 28-year old Barbara Eno who lived on Addison Street not far from the site of the collision. According to reports the truck, described as a large semi-tractor trailer or dump truck, was also traveling northbound on Cicero and was attempting to turn east onto Belmont when the truck came into contact with the bicyclist and she was severely injured. The bicyclist was taken by ambulance where she was pronounced dead at 11:31 a.m. Thursday morning.

As of the time of the publishing of the DNAInfo article, no tickets had been issued to the driver and the article suggests that an investigation was ongoing. However, based on the information from the report the collision occurred when the bicyclist was riding to the right of the truck and was struck by the truck as the driver turned to the right across the path of the oncoming bicyclist. This type of collision is known as a “right hook” bicycle accident.

Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago specifically prohibits right turns in front of bicycles. 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.” 
Given that this was a fatal accident, Chicago Police Department policy is that the Major Accidents Investigation Unit are to conduct a full investigation. More information and details are certain to emerge soon. In the meantime, the family of Barbara Eno have lost a young lady in the prime of her youth. This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Evanston Librarian Killed in Crash With Motorcycle


Media outlets are reporting that 55-year old bicyclist Gigi Galich has died as a result of injuries sustained in a collision with a motorcycle on Monday morning in downtown Evanston. According to reports, the bicyclist was riding eastbound in the bike lane on Church Street at the same time that the motorcyclist was riding eastbound on Church Street. The collision occurred when the bicyclist turned out of the bike lane towards the Evanston Public Library where she worked.

The bike lane on Church Street in Evanston at this juncture is a standard bike lane with white painted stripes. The Evanston library is located right in downtown Evanston just south of Northwestern University. Ms. Galich was remembered as a warm and caring librarian who worked with childrens' programs at the library.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Gigi Galich's family and friends as well as everyone affected by this tragic and unfortunate incident.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Scott USA Bikes Recalls Speedster Bicycles Due to Potentially Defective Front Forks

As a result of front bicycle forks that may unexpectedly fail and cause a rider to crash, Scott USA of Ketchum, Idaho has announced a recall of 2014 models of its Speedster bicycles due to fall hazards. It was found that the steerer tube in the front fork can break, posing a fall hazard to its users. The hazard came to Scott USA’s attention after one customer reported a fork breaking. Fortunately, no injuries resulted.

The models at issue were sold at authorized Scott dealers nationwide between August 2013 and May 2014, retailing from $1,000 to $1,300. If you are the owner of one of the included bikes, immediately stop using your bicycle and contact your local Scott dealer for a free replacement fork and complimentary installation.

Scott is recalling the following models:

  • Men’s 2014 Speedster 30 
  •  Men’s 2014 Speedster 40
  • Women’s 2014 Contessa Speedster 25
  • Women’s 2014 Contessa Speedster 35
Roughly 2,000 bicycles have been affected by this recall. These bikes come in black or white with blue, green, purple, or teal accents. The words “SCOTT” and “Speedster” are printed on the bike frame. To see if your bike is included in the recall, check the serial number printed on either a white sticker on the bicycle or embossed on the underside of the frame near the pedals. The following serial number ranges have been recalled: 
  • AS30500001— AS30504930 
  •  AS30700001—AS30704651
  • AS30900001—AS30903278
  • AS31100001—AS31103744
  • AS40101604—AS40105463
The Illinois Bicycle Attorneys at the Keating Law Offices strongly encourage Illinois bicyclists to stay informed about recalls on bicycles, their parts and related equipment. Recalls are a reminder that product defects posing risks to cyclists can be first discovered after the product is already on the market. Scott USA’s latest recall also serves as a reminder that even the newest bike models on the market can still have problems. It is important to monitor the safety of your bicycle and equipment even after a purchase.

Under Illinois law, a manufacturer of a product can be held liable when their product fails while the person using it was doing so in a reasonably foreseeable manner. This means that if a bicycle crash occurs because a part of the bicycle failed during normal use, the manufacturer of the product can be responsible for any injuries or damage suffered by the rider as a result of the crash.

The Illinois Bicycle Attorneys at the Keating Law Offices have handled numerous product liability cases. If you have any questions regarding a product liability case or other personal injury matter, please contact them at (312) 239-676 or contact attorney Mike Keating at MKeating@KeatingLegal.com.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bicyclist Hit in Crosswalk and Dragged 50 Feet Receives Settlement of Insurance Policy Maximum

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices recently attained a six-figure settlement on behalf of a Bolingbrook bicyclist who was seriously injured when he was hit while riding across the street in a marked crosswalk. This serious collision occurred when the driver of a Chrysler 300 made a quick right-hand turn across the crosswalk of a busy intersection without properly checking for bicyclists or pedestrians first.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Boughton Road and Whitewater in Bolingbrook. Boughton Road is a major street in Bolingbrook with two lanes of traffic and turn lanes in each direction at its intersection with Whitewater. Two crosswalks cross Boughton at this intersection; one at the north end and one at the south. Both crosswalks are enclosed by bold, solid white stripes to attract the attention of passing motorists and clearly define the area for crossings.

On the early morning of September 21, 2013, the bicyclist was crossing the intersection of Boughton Road and Whitewater Drive. The bicyclist, a very experienced and avid rider, was riding across the northern crosswalk with the "Walk" signal clearly illuminated. As the bicyclist crossed the intersection, a white Chrysler 300 sedan driving in the opposite direction attempted to make a right-hand turn across the crosswalk onto westbound Boughton. Shockingly, the motorist failed to immediately notice that she hit the bicyclist, and dragged him along the pavement of Boughton Road for a staggering distance of 50 feet before finally coming to a stop. The motorist told the police officer that she never saw the bicyclist when making the right-hand turn. The bicyclist sustained a leg injury that required hospitalization and surgery.

The official police report for this crash indicates that both the motorist and the bicyclist technically had a green light travelling on Boughton in opposite directions. But having a “green light” alone does not automatically give someone the right-of-way. For example, even if a motorist has a green light, they still are required by Illinois law to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, since pedestrians and bicyclists using a crosswalk actually have the right-of-way. The logic and policy behind this Illinois bicycle law is that it gives people - whether they be pedestrians or bicyclists - using a crosswalk enough time to safely cross without interference from cars trying to turn on or off of the street.

Illinois law is very clear regarding the protections provided to bicyclists crossing in crosswalks. Multiple provisions of the Illinois Vehicle Code require motorists to yield to bicyclists within crosswalks. Section 5/11-1002(e) states in part: “Whenever stop signs or flashing red signals are in place at an intersection or at a plainly marked crosswalk between intersections, drivers shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians as set forth in Section 11-904 of this Chapter.” The referenced Section 11-904(b) requires drivers approaching a stop sign to come to a complete stop before entering a crosswalk at an intersection and to yield to the right-of-way of any vehicle that has entered the intersection.

The legal implication of these laws in the case of the injured Bolingbrook bicyclist is that it does not matter that the motorist had a green light. The motorist had a responsibility under Illinois law not only to look out for pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk, but to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist no matter what. The bicyclist had the right-of-way and the motorist was supposed to "share the road" with the bicyclist.

The harsh reality in this case is that the motorist failed on two fronts. First, the motorist failed to see the bicyclist in the first place. This is known as the "failure to keep a proper lookout." Second, the motorist failed to adhere to the Illinois Rules of the Road and yield to the bicyclist. These two failures combined to create a collision that severely injured the bicyclist.

In the end the matter was settled for the six-figure policy limits of the driver's automobile insurance coverage. In simple terms, this means that the insurance company paid every penny it was obligated to pay under the terms of its insurance policy. The bicyclist has also been able to make a claim for his totaled road bike, cycling gear, and kit. This settlement will allow the bicyclist to move forward and get back on his bike after he is now emerging from a long period of rehabilitation.




Friday, June 6, 2014

Garbage Truck Injures Chicago Bicyclist in "Left Cross" Bicycle Crash

View of bicycle sharrows on northbound Lincoln Avenue at its intersection with Melrose Street on the North Side of Chicago.
Last Wednesday, on May 28th, a regular Chicago bicycle commuter was riding down Lincoln Avenue and approaching Belmont. It was a regular route for the bicyclist and one commonly used by Chicago bicyclists due to the fact that it is a designated bike route and "bicycle sharrows" are painted on Lincoln Avenue. 

As the bicyclist was riding southbound, a garbage truck was traveling northbound in the opposite direction. Immediately prior to the crosswalk at Melrose Street, there is a bicycle sharrow in clear view of vehicles traveling northbound on Lincoln Avenue. The purpose of bicycle sharrows is 1) to serve as a sign for bicyclists to know that this roadway is intended for bicycle traffic; and 2) to warn the drivers of motor vehicles that bicycles are present. 

As the two vehicles - the garbage truck and the bicycle - were traveling on Lincoln Avenue  the garbage truck turned left across southbound traffic in an attempt to cross the southbound lanes and proceed west onto Melrose Street. Even though it was morning and the sun was shining, the driver of the garbage truck apparently failed to see the rider and directly struck the bicyclist with the front of the garbage truck. 

The impact was so immediate and direct that the garbage truck literally left a perfectly linear indentation in the bicyclist's helmet from the truck itself. Even worse, the impact fractured five ribs along the bicyclist's side and caused related internal injuries. An ambulance came to the scene and took the injured bicyclist to Illinois Masonic Hospital where the bicyclist remained for three days while undergoing evaluation and treatment.

The failure of the garbage truck to yield to oncoming traffic is a violation of the Illinois Vehicle Code. Chicago law is clear on a motorist’s duty to yield the right of way when making a left turn across traffic. Section 11-902 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code states:
"The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection . . . shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard."
This type of bicycle vs. motor vehicle collision is known as a "left cross" or "left hook" crash. These types of bicycle accidents are a direct result of motorists failing to yield the right of way and to keep a proper lookout for oncoming traffic. It is unfortunately one of the most common types of collisions that result in a bicycle crash. 

Keating Law Offices, P.C. has been retained as the exclusive law firm to represent the injured bicyclist.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Driver in Fatal Hit-and-Run in Bridgeport Charged With Felony

Gabriel Herrera and Suai Xie lived near each other in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. On Thursday, Suai Xie was killed while riding her bicycle after she was struck by the van driven by Gabriel Herrera. According to the charges filed against Herrera, he was driving to the Home Depot when he struck Xie and then fled the scene. Witnesses were able to identify Herrera's vehicle and the license plate and called police. Herrera was arrested at his home within hours. 

Herrera was charged with the felony of leaving the scene of an accident that led to the death of Suai Xie and a misdemeanor count of failing to render aid as well as failing to reduce speed to avoid a collision. 

The death of Suai Xie is particularly senseless as it happened in the middle of the day on a residential street. According to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, there were no alcohol or drugs in Herrera's system at the time of the collision. In the end, there is just the loss of a loving family member. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Suai Xie at this very difficult time. 

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

Charges Filed in Fatal Hit-and-Run of Bicyclist in Forest Park

According to media reports, 21-year old Joel Mendoza of Berwyn has been charged with the fatal hit-and-run of bicyclist, Jeffery Schultz. Jeffery was riding his bicycle on Harlem Avenue near its intersection with 14th Street late on Saturday night when he was struck by a speeding car. The driver of the car, believed to be Joel Mendoza, then fled the scene and the car was later found abandoned. 

Joel Mendoza has been charged by the state with the criminal violations of 1) leaving the scene of a fatal accident; and 2) failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision. The state may later amend the charges to include of charges against Mendoza as evidence develops. Mendoza was due for a bond hearing at the Maywood Courthouse today. At this hearing the judge will have decided either to hold Mendoza without bond or set a bond amount which, if posted, would allow Mendoza to be free on bond while the criminal case proceeds against him. 

The family of Jeffery Schultz also has the legal right to proceed with a civil action against Joel Mendoza. A civil lawsuit could include claims under the Illinois Survival Act and the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. The Survival Act allows the family of deceased person to recover for the losses such as pain and suffering that the loved one experienced prior to their death. The Wrongful Death Act allows for the family to make a claim for the loss of that person in their lives and the void that exists with them gone. 

Regardless of what the law provides, the reality is that an innocent man died while doing the simple act of riding his bicycle because it appears a driver was behaving recklessly. The is truly a tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Jeffery Schultz.

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

Evanston Bicyclist Injured When Driver Violates the "3-Foot Rule" Receives Insurance Settlement

On April 12th of last year an Evanston bicyclist was injured when the driver of a car was more interested in finding a good parking spot than he was in ensuring the safety of the operator of another vehicle legally on the road - a bicyclist.

The collision occurred during the early evening of April 12, 2013, when the car driver suddenly turned off the road in an attempt to enter a curbside parking spot along Chicago Avenue. The driver took a sharp angle past the bicyclist and towards the curbside parking. But in doing so, the hurried driver struck the bicyclist and knocked him off of his bicycle and onto the the pavement of Chicago Avenue. The bicyclist suffered a fractured left thumb as a result of the collision.

Illinois Bicycle Lawyers Michael S. Keating and Joseph T. Vietri recently settled the insurance claim against the driver's insurance company on behalf of the bicyclist. The bicyclist was an employee of a well known Evanston bicycle shop who led a very active lifestyle—he was an avid biker who often worked out and valued his active lifestyle. However, due to the fractured thumb he was not able to work out like he did before for almost three entire months while the thumb healed.

The "3-Foot Rule" in Illinois law is very clear on a motorist’s responsibilities when driving alongside a bicyclist. Motorists are required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with a person operating a bicycle, and must leave a safe distance between their car and any bicyclists nearby. Section 11-703(d) of the Illinois Vehicle Code states:
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.
As has been discussed on this blog before, the "3-Foot Rule" does not require 3 feet when passing a bicycle, the law requires at least 3 feet meaning the law actually provides that more than 3 feet should be provided by drivers passing bicyclists.

In this case, in addition to his multiple violations of the Illinois Vehicle Code, the police officer responding to the accident noted that the car driver had been driving “in an erratic, reckless, careless, negligent, or aggressive manner” at the time of the accident. It is unusual that a police officer adds his or her own conclusions in the narrative of the police report, but this was apparently a case that warranted this officer's statements.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers filed a claim with the driver's insurance carrier to compensate the injured bicyclist for his injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of normal life. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at (312) 208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls will be promptly returned, and all initial consultations are confidential and free.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why Do So Many Bicyclists Fracture Their Collarbone In A Bike Crash?

As a personal injury attorney, one of the first topics we discuss with a client is "What are your injuries?" As attorneys who concentrate our practice on representing victims of bicycle accidents, time and time again we see broken collarbones as the main injury from a bike crash. The reality is that one of the most common injuries for bicyclists hurt in an accident or crash is a fractured collarbone. Even now scrutinized, but once heralded, pro riders like Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton famously suffered broken collarbones.

Attorney Mike Keating was recently consulted by an out-of-state attorney who was handling a bicycle accident case. The attorney was in a difficult predicament because his client was knocked unconscious in a crash and wasn't sure as to what happened. The bicyclist had broken ribs on his right side, but a fractured collarbone on his left. The attorney was trying to figure out how there could be two injuries to two sides from the same crash. Attorney Keating knew what the most probably scenario was: the bicyclist was hit by the car on his right side, and then knocked onto the pavement onto his left side where his clavicle broke.
 
The collarbone, or clavicle, is probably the most susceptible bone on the body of a cyclist but not for the reason most people think. Many cyclists break their collarbone not by the bone itself hitting the pavement, but from the fall off their bike. When a cyclist is thrown from a bicycle, their immediate and instinctive reaction is to put their hands out to break their fall. However, when their hands hit the pavement the jarring force causes the collarbone to buckle under pressure. This event is known as the "mechanism of injury."
 
An Australian doctor who deals primarily with cyclist injuries, Dr. Dominic Briscomb, says that 95% of collarbone injuries can be diagnosed by touch. Most cyclists can feel a noticeable bump in the area and the arm on the side of injury can go numb. Should you feel a bump or sharp pain, you should IMMEDIATELY go to the hospital. Most minor collarbone breaks can be treated by simply placing your arm in a sling for 3-6 weeks, however more serious collarbone breaks can require surgery. The most common surgery is an open reduction - internal fixation surgery (ORIF) where a surgical plate and screws are used to secure the fracture. Finally, after the break has healed, physical therapy is required.

It is important to attempt to regain full range of motion after a collarbone injury and physical therapy is a valuable tool to not only get back on the road, but to get 100% physically. Most avid cyclists will want to get back on the road as soon as possible following a collarbone break, but these cyclists should proceed with caution and wait until they have clearance from their treating physician. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the old expression goes.

Keating Law Offices currently represents numerous cyclists who have suffered broken collarbones after a bicycle accident or crash. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chicago Ride of Silence to leave Daley Plaza at 6:30 p.m. Rides also in Arlington Heights, Downers Grove, Elk Grove, Evanston, Oak Lawn, Joliet

The 11th Anniversary of the Ride of Silence is tonight, Wednesday May 21, 2014. The Ride of Silence honors those that have been injured or killed in a bicycle collision or crash.

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

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

Here is info on Illinois Ride of Silence Rides from the Ride of Silence website:


ILLINOIS ORGANIZED RIDES

Arlington Heights
Distance: 10 miles. Ride at 7PM, Please arrive before 6:45PM. Ride starts/ends at 500 E Miner, Arlington Heights. Contact: Gary Gilbert.


Bloomington
Distance: 2.4 miles. Meet in front of the McLean County Museum of History in Downtown Bloomington at 6:30pm. After a few words from elected officials and cycling advocates, we will ride to Uptown Normal with a police escort. Contact: Michael Gorman.


Chicago
Distance: 10 miles. Gather at Daley Plaza's Eternal Flame beginning at 6pm; ride departs at 6:30pm. Contact: Elizabeth Adamczyk.

Downers Grove
Distance:9 miles. We will meet at the base of the water tower in McCullom Park, Downers Grove, and ride approx 10 miles. Contact: Loni Wiedemann.

Elk Grove
Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove is riding in memory of Rose Waters, and all others that have been injured or killed while cycling. We'll be riding 9.3 miles at a slow page (10mph) in complete silence. There is no fee to participate in this event.

A HELMET IS REQUIRED!! We'll also be obeying the Rules of the Road: stopping at stop lights and stopping at stop signs when there is cross traffic.

This ride is appropriate for ages 10 and up as we do need to keep the group together. The route and details have been determined with input from Rose's family. The route can be found here

Schedule
5:50pm - 6:20pm: Sign-in and bike checks by VCS
6:20pm - 6:40pm: A few words (Paul Rudden (Rose) and Dave Simmons (safety))
6:40pm - 8:00pm: Ride of Silence (9.3 miles)
8:00pm - 8:30pm: Refreshments at Hattendorf Center (tentative)

Evanston
Distance: 11 miles. The ride will start at the Chandler Neuberger Center in Evanston near the Central St. L stop. The ride will end at Tommy Nevins Pub in Evanston. 11 miles. In silence. In solidarity. Please bring lights as if you are riding home in the dark. Contact: David Barish.


Fairview Heights
Distance: 6 miles. Inaugural ride in Fairview Heights. 6 miles is shorter than the recommended, but given that the city is not well laid-out for bicycles, this is about as good as I can do for a first year. Contact: Sara Jo Briese.


Joliet
Distance: 9 miles. In Memory of Jan Briese, killed on May 26, 2005, while leading her Thursday morning Joliet Bicycle Club ride as she had for more than 12 years. Starting at the Memorial Stadium, 3000 W. Jefferson Street (Rt. 52). Line up at 6:45 P.M. Ride rolls promptly at 7 P.M. Contact: Sara Jo Briese.


O'Fallon
Distance: 10 miles. Contact: Robert Norman.


Oak Lawn
Please arrive before 6:45PM. Ride starts/ends at Oak Lawn Patriot Station (Metra Station) 9525 Tulley Ave Oak Lawn, IL 60453 Parking is available and free. Ride rolls promptly at 7PM. Distance: 10 miles. Contact: Deanna Sandei.


Peoria
Organized locally by the Illinois Valley Wheelm'n. We will begin assembling for the ride at 6:30 PM from Glen Oak Park in Peoria off Prospect Road (2218 North Prospect Road). Shortly before 7 PM, we will say a few words about the event and why everyone is there. Once the ride has left promptly at 7 PM on the 8.2 mile course. If you have any further questions, please contact us through the contact form listed on this website OR call 309-696-2591. Distance: 8.2 miles. Contact: Michael Honnold.

Woodstock - McHenry County
Distance: 6.5 miles.7 PM sharp come at 6:45. Meet at the McHenry County Courthouse, (SW corner of parking lot) (2200 N Seminary Ave, Woodstock, IL 60098 (for your GPS)). Contact: Eberhard Veit.

"Denied" Lawsuit Settled for Chicago Bicyclist Injured in Bike Accident at Congested Grand - Halsted - Milwaukee Intersection

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at the Keating Law Offices have successfully settled a lawsuit for a Chicago bicyclist who was seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle at the six-cornered intersection of West Grand Avenue, North Halsted Street and North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. At this intersection, Grand Avenue runs east and west, Halsted Street runs north and south and Milwaukee Avenue cuts through at a 45 degree angle, running southeast and northwest.  This complicated intersection is often congested at all hours of the day with all kinds of traffic, including bicyclists who use the popular bike lane on Milwaukee Avenue. 

One late night in February of 2013, the bicyclist was headed westbound on Grand Avenue near the six-way intersection on his way home from work at a restaurant near Millenium Park. At the same time the motorist, who was travelling eastbound on West Grand Avenue, attempted to make a left turn onto northbound North Halsted Street. The motorist cut directly in front of the bicyclist and the two collided in the intersection. This type of collision is known as a "left hook" crash. 


The bicyclist immediately experienced intense pain throughout his body and was later diagnosed with multiple injuries. Most significantly the bicyclist learned he had suffered a broken left leg. The motorist, despite the well lit intersection, claims not to have seen the bicyclist. After taking both parties’ statements and reviewing physical evidence at the crash scene, the responding Chicago police officer determined that the motorist was at fault for failing to yield to the bicyclist. 

Chicago law is clear on a motorist’s duty to yield the right of way when making a left turn across traffic. Section 11-902 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code states:

"The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection . . . shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard."
In simple terms, even though both the bicyclist and motorist had a green light, since the motorist was attempting to make a left turn across the westbound lanes of traffic and the bicyclist was headed straight through the intersection, the bicyclist had the right of way.  The motorist should have yielded to the bicyclist and when she didn't, the crash occurred and the bicyclist was injured.

Furthermore, the Chicago Municipal Code also makes it clear that a motorist’s claim not to have seen a bicyclist is not a valid excuse. The Code specifically offers legal protection the bicyclists by requiring motorists to utilize "due care" in driving around bicyclists. 
The requirement to exercise “due care” basically means that all motorists are required to operate their vehicles in a careful, reasonable and safe manner. This requirement varies case by case, depending on things such as traffic conditions, weather conditions and time of day. In this case, the “due care” requirement for a motorist driving through this particular six-way intersection late at night necessarily included the responsibility to look out for the numerous bicyclists that utilize Milwaukee Avenue's bike lane. 


The injured bicyclist came to the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at the Keating Law Offices for legal advice. Despite the facts of the case and the early determination by the police officer, the claim had been initially denied by the insurance company and its lawyers. The insurance company argued that the motorist did nothing wrong and it was not her fault she couldn't see the bicyclist at night. 


However,  we felt that the argument was superficial at best. After filing a lawsuit and litigating the case, Attorneys Mike Keating and Joseph Vietri were able to settle the lawsuit and compensate the injured bicyclist for his medical bills, pain and suffering and loss of a normal life. “Loss of a normal life” is defined as “the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life,” and is a type of “damage” that can be compensated for under Illinois law. It “includes a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.” 

Unfortunately for this bicyclist, his serious injuries greatly limited his daily life. An avid bicyclist and father to a young child, the bicyclist was unable to ride his bicycle or care for his young child for some time following the crash.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

State of Illinois to Invest Millions in Bicycle Infrastructure. But Who Gets What?

The State of Illinois has announced that it will invest $52.7 million in community transportation projects, including substantial funding for bicycle infrastructure throughout the state. Cook County alone will receive over $10 million in funding for projects that directly relate to constructing and improving bicycle infrastructure within the county. This is a massive public works project with projects throughout the Chicagoland area. 

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices are supporters of public works projects in general and massive supporters of projects that include advancements or improvements to the bicycle infrastructure in Illinois. There are two key reasons why public works projects involving bicycle infrastructure are important. 

The first reason is that "if you build it, they will come." Studies show that outside of hardcore bicyclists, that most recreational bicyclists are most comfortable riding on a bicycle path or on a protected bike lane. The more bike paths and bike lanes Illinois has, the more bicycle ridership will increase. The second reason is that infrastructure specific to bicycles reduces the number of bike accidents. Bicycle attorney Mike Keating explains how bicycle infrastructure reduces the number of bike accidents:
"I call it the separation factor." The more separated bicycle traffic is from motor vehicle traffic the better. Painted bike lanes are good because they provide a clear designation between the lane for bikes and the lane for cars. Signage can also play an important role in this regard. Barrier bike lanes protected with bollards are better because the bollards provide an even clear visual designation and an audible warning if the cars stray into the bike lane. Bike lanes that are truly protected - meaning totally separated from traffic - are best because there is a literal, physical impenetrable barrier between motor vehicle traffic and bicycles."
Below is an itemization of notable bicycle infrastructure projects in Illinois:

Riverdale: Over $2 million to build a 26-mile long, 10-foot wide segment of the Cal-Sag Trail, stretching from Lemont to the Burnham Greenway Trail at the Illinois/Indiana border.

Evanston: Almost $1.4 million to build two-way bike paths off of Sheridan Road from Lincoln Street to Chicago Avenue, and on Chicago between Sheridan and the Central Business District. The goal is to connect these two-way paths with existing protected bike paths.

Des Plaines:
Over $1.2 million to build a path for bicycles and pedestrians along the south side of US Route 12, from Central Road to Elk Boulevard. This will close a major gap in the sidewalk network and create a continuous bicycle corridor throughout Des Plaines, which should greatly reduce bicycle accidents.

Glenview: Over $1 million to build a 2-mile, off-road path segment as a new addition to bike trail systems within Glenview.

Countryside: Almost $1 million to build a multi-use bike path on the east side of Brainard Avenue from Joliet Road to 55th Street.

Hillside: Over $800,000 to build a multi-use pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists on Mannheim Road, over the Interstate 290 interchange. This change will increase bicycle safety and reduce bicycle accidents in a high-traffic area.

Rolling Meadows: Almost $700,000 to build a 10-ft wide asphalt path along Euclid Avenue, running from Rohlwing Road until it connects with the bike path on Salt Creek Trail.

Skokie: Over $600,000 to build an asphalt, bituminous bike path as a part of the Village Corridor Plan to link all of the pedestrian-heavy areas in the heart of Skokie.

Itasca: Over $500,000 to build 0.67 miles of bike paths and sidewalks throughout the Hamilton Lakes Business Park.

Olympia Fields:
Almost $500,000 to build a 1.25 mile-long, multi-use trail and bike path on Vollmer Road. It will connect to existing trails in the area.

University Park: Almost $500,000 to build a 2-mile long, 10 foot wide, asphalt bike path and trail to link residential neighborhoods with a retail district at Western Avenue and Exchange Street.

Western Springs: Almost $500,000 is to build a bike path to connect with the Salt Creek Trail system, affording bicyclists and pedestrians from La Grange, Western Springs, and Hinsdale easy access to the trail system and the pedestrian bridge over I-294 on Maple Street.

Carol Stream: Almost $300,000 to build additions to the Bloomingdale Trail, including a 0.71-mile, off-street bikeway along Kuhn Road from Army Trail Road to Lies Road, and a 1.01-mile, off-street bikeway along Lies from Gary Avenue to Schmale Road.

Calumet City: Almost $200,000 to build a 0.78 mile-long trail and bike path on Torrence Avenue, which will connect at the intersection of Torrence and 159th Street with another bike path in the works.

Berwyn: Almost $100,000 to build sidewalks and install bike route signage throughout the city, which should help tremendously in reducing bicycle accidents in Berwyn. Signage plays a key role in "human factors" by alerting motorists of the presence of bicyclists and giving direction to bicyclists.

Northbrook: Over $50,000 to install pavement markings and street signs for bicycle routes, which will make the suburb safer for bicyclists and reduce bicycle accidents.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers are excited about these extensive improvements because we strongly believe that the new infrastructure will substantially reduce bicycle accidents throughout Cook County and make streets safer for Illinois bicyclists.
 

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

Monday, May 12, 2014

Claim Settled for Bicyclist Injured in Bicycle Crash with Taxi Cab


Eastbound Lake Street approaching Michigan Avenue: Scene of bicycle accident with taxi cab.
Illinois Bicycle Lawyers Michael S. Keating and Joseph T. Vietri have secured a substantial settlement for a bicycle commuter who was struck by a taxi cab near the busy intersection of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street in Chicago in September of 2011. The collision occurred in the middle of the day on September 13, 2011 as both the bicyclist and the taxi cab were headed eastbound on Lake Street.

The bicyclist was riding her bicycle along Lake Street when the taxi driver unexpectedly and without warning crossed over into her path, striking the bicyclist and knocking her to the street. This action was in violation of the City of Chicago and State of Illinois bicycle laws that are very clear on the responsibility of motorists who drive near bicyclists. 

Eastbound Lake Street is clearly marked as a a bicycle route by the Chicago Department of Transportation as indicated by the signage in this photograph. Signage serves the purpose of not only identifying a route for bicyclists, but also serves as notice to motorists that this is a roadway where bicycles are most likely going to be part of the traffic pattern.

CDOT Sign One Block Before Bicycle Accident Indicating that Eastbound Lake Street is a Bicycle Route to the Lakefront.
Generally speaking, all motorists have the duty to exercise due care when driving on the streets of Chicago. 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. The precise language of the statute as it applies to this bicycle accident is as follows:
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 power and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary.
Specifically, the taxi cab driver did not give the bicyclist the legally mandated "3 Feet" between the bicyclist and the motor vehicle. It is important to note that the law does not require "3 Feet" between the bicycle and motor vehicle, but a "safe distance" that the statute provides is a minimum of three feet. In other words, the law essentially provides that there should be more than three feet between the human powered vehicle and the motor vehicle. Section 11-703 of the Illinois Vehicle Code provides as follows: 
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.

The bicyclist sustained multiple injuries as a result of the impact. She was taken to the emergency room, complaining of pain throughout her entire body, intense tingling in her right arm, and severe pain in her right ankle and left hand. She suffered numerous abrasions and contusions all over her body, most severely on her right ankle and left hand.

Shortly thereafter, the bicyclist began to suffer excruciating pain in her upper back and neck. The bicyclist continued to experience aches and pains throughout her back for over a month following the collision, as well as pain radiating down her left arm.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers made a claim with the taxi cab’s insurance carrier for the bicyclist’s injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of a normal life. “Loss of a normal life” is defined as “the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life,” and is a "damage" that can be compensated for under Illinois laws. Loss of a normal life “includes a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.” Unfortunately for this rider, her injuries also meant time off of her bike while she recuperated.


Here, the bicyclist sustained a temporary diminished ability to ride her bike and engage in the daily activities to which she was generally accustomed. Her sleep patterns were constantly interrupted by pain and she was unable to engage in daily activities. Even something as simple as sitting down was a painful experience. This compromised the bicyclist’s ability to enjoy her life the way she wanted. “Loss of a normal life” varies from person to person and from case to case. Under Illinois law, anyone injured in a bicycle crash caused by someone else is eligible for compensation for their “loss of a normal life.”

After literally years of litigating and negotiating with the cab company and the cab company's insurance carriers, the claim was ultimately settled very favorably in favor of the bicyclist. The bicyclist has since gotten back on the bike and continues to enjoy bicycling in Chicago.

Keating Law Offices is the premiere law firm that concentrates its practice on representing victims of bicycle accidents and bicycle crashes in Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.