Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Illinois Bicyclist Killed in Crash with SUV in Hoffman Estates

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illinois Laws Require Drivers To Give Aid To Injured Bicyclists

It is the law in Illinois for drivers to render aid to an injured bicyclist. Drivers in Illinois who are involved in a crash are legally required to:
  • Stay at the scene of the crash long enough to provide the injured party with their information; and
  • If necessary or if requested to arrange for medical care for the injured bicyclist. 
Section 11-401(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code provides the groundwork for the motorist: 
"The driver of any vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury to or death of any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident, or as close thereto as possible and shall then forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until the requirements of Section 11-403 have been fulfilled."
Beyond the law, there is a fundamental human need for all users of the roadways to assist one another. The act of a hit-and-run is indefensible. The driver involved in this crash should face certain justice.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Illinois Bicyclist Leland DeBord Killed While Biking to Work

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Chicago Bicyclist Killed In Crash With Car on West Side

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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

CDOT Footage Showed Bicyclist Struck By Turning Taxi

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

Bicycle Crash Captured on CDOT Surveillance Camera


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

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

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

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

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


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

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



Friday, May 12, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bike Attorney Gives Presentation on Bike Law to Bicycle Club

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

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

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 11, 2017

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


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

Circuit Court of Cook County Bicycle Crash Litigation

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


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

Successful Result for Client 

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

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

Saturday, February 25, 2017

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

CBS News Crew Unexpectedly Records Bike Crash 

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

Video Depicts Exact Moment of Bicycle vs. Cab Crash

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

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



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


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


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


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



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


Video Shows The Dangers Chicago Bicyclists Face

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

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

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

Illinois Bicyclists Have Same Rights As Drivers Of Motor Vehicles

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

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

New Bike Law Reinforces Existing Laws

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

New Law Sought After Traffic Ticket Dismissed

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

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

Dennis' Law Honors The Life And Legacy Of Dennis Jurs

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

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. Attorney Mike Keating 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.