Friday, June 21, 2019

Scooter Manufactuer's Own Instruction Show E-Scooters Not Suitable For Chicago's Streets

Ten different vendors are participating in Chicago's e-scooter pilot program. Included in these ten are the companies Bird and Spin who were earlier entrants into the marketplace. The phrase “a Bird” is often used as a general term for an e-scooter, even those that aren't the Bird brand. Both Bird and Spin use the same Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooters for their fleets of e-scooters. Remarkably, the "Mi Electric Scooter User Manual" makes several recommendations and identifies limitations that are incompatible with use on the often imperfect streets of Chicago. Since e-scooters are also operated amongst traffic, this puts not only the rider of the scooter at risk, but also other persons on the roadways and pedestrians.

E-Scooters Not To Be Ridden In The Rain Or Over 6 MPH On "Bumpy Roads"

The instructions specifically state that e-scooters are not to be ridden in the rain. The City of Chicago's Scooter Pilot Program calls for the scooters to be removed by the vendors from the city's streets every night at 10 p.m., but there are no requirements that the scooters be removed due to rain.

The instruction also specifically state that riders should only ride between 3.1 and 6.2 miles per hour on bumpy road or uneven surfaces. This is particularly concerning given the number of potholes and rough roadways in Chicago. 


E-Scooters Not To Be Ridden On Streets 

Perhaps the most befuddling of all of the e-scooter instructions is that they are not to be ridden in "traffic lanes" or residential areas where there is both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This is essentially each and every Chicago street. And note the title of the page, "Do not try following dangerous actions." 


E-Scooters Not To Be "Lent" To Persons 
Who Don't Know How To Ride

This instruction from the user's manual really contradicts the business model of the e-scooter business. That business model is simple: in exchange for money let anyone rent one of the scooters. The issue is that there is no verification process of screening for who rents the scooters. 

Another notable instruction is that e-scooter riders are to give pedestrians the right-of-way. 

E-Scooters Not To Be Left Outside

The City of Chicago's pilot program calls for the e-scooters to be left outside on the city's streets from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. when the vendors are supposed to retrieve them. This means that the scooters are left outside for 17 out of the 24 hours in the day for each and every day. This is despite the fact that right on Page 13 the instructions explicitly state that the scooter are to be stored indoors and not left outside for long periods of time. 

Chicago, Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys

Keating Law Offices founder and principal attorney Mike Keating has been at the forefront of advocating for safety from e-scooter companies. Mike was invited by the American Association for Justice to speak to the attendees of the 2019 AAJ Winter Convention in Miami. Mike's subject was Bike Share and the emerging threats posed by E-Scooters. The speech was entitled "Looking Beyond Automobiles: Bicycles and Electric Scooters." Mike also objected to the City of Chicago's plans to allow e-scooters in bike lanes and predicted that this was to allow for-profit companies to rent e-scooters on Chicago's streets. It is the mission of Keating Law Offices to help protect Chicagoans and to prevent companies from placing profits over people. 

The attorneys at Keating Law Offices are available for free legal consultations with anyone who has been injured while riding an e-scooter or as a result of the use of an e-scooter. All consultations are without any obligation and are 100% confidential. The firm can be reached at 312-239-6787 with operators available around the clock outside of normal business hours. You can also email the firm at Info@KeatingLegal.com


The Problems With Chicago's E-Scooter Pilot Program

“Public transportation” has traditionally consisted of buses, subways and light rail systems. Just as every other aspect of modern life has been affected by technological advancements with smart phones and apps, access to transportation options has expanded. New types of “alternative transportation” allows for the rental of different types of vehicles. What began with rental bicycles that could only be accessed from a fixed dock has expanded into other forms of bicycle share programs (bikeshare) that do not utilize a dock and also the emergence of electric assist bikes (e-bikes) and now standing electric scooters (e-scooters). 

Standing Electric Scooters

Standing electric scooters (e-scooters) have seen explosive growth. The companies Bird and Lime were earlier entrants into the marketplace and the phrase “a Bird” is often used as a general term for an e-scooter. Bird and Spin use the same Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter for their fleets. E-scooters are not only dockless but due to a size differential to a bicycle they can be more easily moved. And they are relatively quick with speeds of approximately 15 miles per hour which is five times the average walking speed of three miles per hour. 

By design, electric scooter rentals allow anyone to rent a scooter, ride the two-wheeled vehicle for a short trip and then leave it wherever the renter decides to leave it. There are no docks for electric scooters. Just about anyone can rent one of the vehicles. There is absolutely zero screening or training for riders. There is also no direct supervision as to how the vehicles are ridden. This leads to a wide array of skill and experience levels on rented bicycles and e-scooters in Chicago's streets and bike lanes.

E-scooters are available for rental in Chicago without any test, any skills screening, and absent any interpersonal interaction before the renter takes it out onto the roadways. The entire transaction happens independently and digitally. The attorneys at Keating Law Offices are concerned that there may be a lack of accountability for injuries from e-scooters. Emerging research has shown that the risk for injuries and death due to the use of these rental vehicles is substantial.

Chicago's Rules for E-Scooters

The City of Chicago claims that this is just a pilot program for e-scooters. You can find the details on the City of Chicago's Pilot Scooter Program here. Here are the general rules for the program: 

  • Scooters will be removed each night after hours of operations (5am to 10pm) by the vendors. There are no details about what will be done in extreme weather conditions or if the scooters will be inspected during the hours of operation. 
  • The pilot will run from June 15 to October 15, 2019.
  • The scooters will only be available in the pilot area and are not allowed downtown. The scooters are purportedly "geofenced" meaning they will stop working if taken outside the area.
  • Scooters are not allowed on Chicago's sidewalks. They are only allowed on streets and bike paths within the pilot area.
  • Scooters must be parked "upright with a minimum of 6 feet clearance between the scooter and all public way obstructions." This appears to mean that the scooters should not be left in the way of traffic. 
  • Scooters cannot be parked "within 10 feet of street corners or intersections, or along building facades or block fire hydrants, bus stops, loading zones of building access points."
  • Each scooter is equipped with warning bells and front and rear lights.
  • Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities (MOPD) will be working with other City departments to monitor the impact of the scooter program on the disability community.
The City of Chicago also wants the public to take a role in policing the e-scooters. The website states that "If you find any scooters not properly parked, blocking the public way, contact the vendor directly. Vendor contact information is found on each scooter.  Vendors are required to remedy any scooter not properly parked within two (2) hours, 24 hours per day, seven (7) days a week." However, there is no information as to how or when any action will be taken to ensure that the e-scooters are in fact remedied within two hours. 
10 Vendors Selected To Participate In Pilot Program

Bird 
Bolt 
gruv 
JUMP 
Lime 
Lyft 
Sherpa 
Spin 
VeoRide
Wheels 

E-Scooters Can Be Dangerous

While most Americans learned to ride a bicycle at some point in their life, the experience of riding an e-scooter is entirely new to many riders. The e-scooter is also operated amongst traffic and on roadways not necessarily designed for the use of the two-wheeled device. This puts not only the rider of the scooter at risk, but also other persons on the roadways and pedestrians.

A standing electric scooter poses many similar risks of injury as those bicyclists face. A 2019 Journal of theAmerican Medical Association (JAMA) article analyzed the medical records of 249 patients involved in standing electric scooter at two urban emergency rooms in Southern California between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018. Just as with bicycles, there are specific injury patterns:

  • The riders’ heads were the most often injured body part with 40.2% reporting a head injury. This was consistent with only 4.4% of the riders documented as wearing a helmet.
  • Fractures accounted for nearly a third of the injuries with 31.7% of riders suffering a break.
  • Other injuries such as contusions, sprains and lacerations independent of a fracture or head injury accounted for 27.7% of the documented injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) participated in a study with Austin, Texas to look into the risks of injury for riding an e-scooter. The Austin study found that 58% of the e-scooters riders suffered an injury. The study also found that of those injured 1 in 5 (20%) needed a hospitalization. The study found that of those injured 45% suffered a head injury, 27% an upper extremity fracture, and 12% a lower extremity fracture. The majority (52%) of e-scooter injury incidents occurred in the street, 29% involved first-time riders, 18% involved motor vehicles. Fewer than 1% of e-scooter riders interviewed reported helmet use. The CDC found that based on 130 confirmed injury incidents, the e-scooter related injury incidence rate was 14.3 injured riders per 100,000 3e-scooter trips.

Chicago, Illinois Personal Injury Attorneys

Keating Law Offices founder and principal attorney Mike Keating has been at the forefront of advocating for safety from e-scooter companies. Mike was invited by the American Association for Justice to speak to the attendees of the 2019 AAJ Winter Convention in Miami. Mike's subject was Bike Share and the emerging threats posed by E-Scooters. The speech was entitled "Looking Beyond Automobiles: Bicycles and Electric Scooters." Mike also objected to the City of Chicago's plans to allow e-scooters in bike lanes and predicted that this was to allow for-profit companies to rent e-scooters on Chicago's streets. It is the mission of Keating Law Offices to help protect Chicagoans and to prevent companies from placing profits over people. 

The attorneys at Keating Law Offices are available for free legal consultations with anyone who has been injured while riding an e-scooter or as a result of the use of an e-scooter. All consultations are without any obligation and are 100% confidential. The firm can be reached at 312-239-6787 with operators available around the clock outside of normal business hours. You can also email the firm at Info@KeatingLegal.com

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Keating Law Offices Sponsors the 2019 Bike To Work Challenge


Keating Law Offices is once again the presenting sponsor of the Active Transportation Alliance's Bike To Work Challenge. The two-week challenge encourages Chicagoland companies and organizations of all sizes to track their miles commuting by bicycle to see how many car free miles can be logged. Keating Law Offices has long been a supporter of the Active Transportation Alliance and its efforts. 

The firm is committed to supporting initiatives like the Bike To Work Challenge that support cycling and advocate for safe streets. The Bike To Work Challenge is a two week event from June 14th through June 28th with Pit Stops throughout the challenge at a number of exciting locations. 

The first Pit Stop will be held at Keating Law Office's West Town location on Friday, June 14th starting at 5pm. KLO-West Town is conveniently located at 825 North Milwaukee Avenue right on the Milwaukee Avenue bike lane. KLO's Pit Stop is free and open to everyone in Chicago's bike community. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Keating Law Offices Participates in Bike The Drive

Keating Law Offices once again supported the Active Transportation Alliance's annual Bike The Drive by participating in the Post-Ride Festival in Grant Park. Attorney Mike Keating was at the event. The firm handed out free red bicycle lights to riders. These "blinky lights" proved to be very popular. 

Firm founder Mike Keating said, "It's great to see our handout to be so popular, but truly the best part is knowing that each of these lights helps make our bicyclists more visible when riding at night. Knowing that makes it especially rewarding.

Keating Law Offices is a longtime supporter of the Active Transportation Alliance. The firm is also sponsored the Winter Bike to Work rally and the upcoming Bike To Work Challenge.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

What Does Cycling Mean To You? Team behind "Afghan Cycles" doc wants to hear from YOU!


The documentary team behind "Afghan Cycles," a powerful story about women cyclists in Afghanistan, is looking for short videos from Chicago cyclists about what cycling means to you. The documentary is by Sarah Menzies. They are putting together a video segment in advance of the International Day of the Bicycle on June 3rd. Your video wants to hear about your name and your personal affiliation to cycling. 

"Afghan Cycles" is by Sarah Menzies.  The documentary crew is asking you to email any 60 second or less videos to producer Caryn Capotosto at caryncappuccino@gmail.com. Caryn is a Chicago-area native and graduate of Columbia College. She was a producer on the Oscar-winning "20 Feet From Stardom" and the Mr. Rogers documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor." 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Keating Law Offices Co-Hosts Bike Lane Uprising's Day of Service

Bike Lane Uprising, a volunteer effort among Chicago bicyclists to fight for safer bike lanes, held a "Day of Service" last Sunday. The day was a giant succeess. The "Day of Service" involved Chicago bicyclists volunteering to "adopt" a segment of Chicago's bike lanes. The volunteers then documented the bike lane conditions and then submitting their findings to Bike Lane Uprising. All of this data will be presented to the Chicago Department of Transportation for the purpose of helping them identify which bike lanes need improvement. A remarkable 90% of Chicago's bike lanes were adopted by volunteers.

Keating Law Offices co-hosted the event. The "Day of Service" began at the firm's West Town Office located at 825 North Milwaukee Avenue where volunteers had a meet-up prior to hitting the streets. The firm's West Town Office is in addition to the firm's main office in the Loop. The day ended with an after-party at Logan Square's Rocking Horse where the volunteers met to recap the day and celebrate the success of the "Day of Service."

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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ride of Silence - Chicago is TONIGHT May 15, 2019 at 6pm at Daley Plaza

The Ride of Silence - Chicago is tonight, Wednesday May 15th. Riders should gather at the Picasso at Daley Plaza in advance of leaving around 6:30 p.m. The ride moves silently and slowly as a group through Chicago. It stops along the way at Ghost Bikes to honor Chicagoans who lost their lives while cycling. 

In addition to honoring the lives of these Chicago cyclists, the ride also serves to send a message to all Chicagoans that our city's streets need to be safe for cyclists. The ride serves as a reminder that we can always work to improve the safety of Chicago streets and bicycle infrastructure. 

Keating Law Offices is hosting the post-ride event at our West Town location at 825 North Milwaukee Avenue. The event is free and will include pizza and beverages. Everyone is welcome to attend. Vision Zero Chicago will also be at the post-ride event to promote its mission of eliminating injuries and deaths on Chicago's streets. 

Click here to go to the Ride of Silence - Chicago website for more information. The Ride of Silence - Chicago is always the third Wednesday in May.

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle crashes in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The firm is proud to support the efforts of Ride of Silence - Chicago and Vision Zero Chicago. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Keating Law Offices to Co-Host Bike Lane Uprising’s Day of Service

Bike Lane Uprising Day of Service - 5/19/19
Keating Law Offices is proud to co-host Bike Lane Uprising’s Day of Service. The Day of Service is an effort to document the conditions of bike lanes throughout the city and report the conditions to the City of Chicago. This effort will provide the City of Chicago legal notice as to any dangerous defects or conditions. The effect of the day of service will help the City of Chicago prioritize its efforts in maintaining bike lanes and lead to fewer dangerous conditions in Chicago's bike lanes.

The date for the Bike Lane Uprising Day of Service is May 19, 2019. While the mission is service, the Day of Service will be a fun day. We will meet at Keating Law Offices’ West Town Office for donuts and coffee. We will then head out for a few hours to inspect and document bike lanes. We will then re-group for drinks and eats at a post-event party.

Please help spread the word. You can find more information by visiting Bike Lane Uprising’s website here. And please help promote the Day of Service by using #BLUDayofService on social media.

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm has two locations in Chicago. The Loop office is located on the Washington Street bike lane at 111 West Washington Street. And the West Town office is located right on the Milwaukee Avenue bike lane at 825 North Milwaukee Avenue. The firm is committed to Chicago’s cycling community and advocating for safe cycling.

Monday, April 8, 2019

IN THE NEWS: Attorney Mike Keating Quoted in Chicago Tribune on Dangers of Distracted Driving


IN THE NEWS: Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating was quoted in the Chicago Tribune about the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving is an increasingly dangerous habit among many drivers. The dangers posted by distracted driving are particularly dangerous to vulnerable users of the roadway such as pedestrians and bicyclists. 
Here's the quote from the Chicago Tribune:
"Mike Keating, a personal injury attorney who often represents injured bicyclists, said that if any police agency does not enforce the laws against distracted driving, it defeats the purpose." 
“These laws have to act as a deterrent to keep people from texting on their phones,” Keating said. “They have to be punished for behavior that is literally deadly.”

Keating said that like drunk driving, distracted driving involves a choice. “These things don’t happen by accident,” Keating said. “If they choose to have their phones out and look at social media or text, that’s a choice that puts them in a more dangerous mind-set than they otherwise would be. That’s unfortunately not that far off from someone who consumes too many drinks.”
The Chicago Tribune article was written by long-time transportation reporter Mary Wisniewski. 

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle crashes in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois.

Monday, March 25, 2019

E-bikes and E-Scooters Are Coming: CDOT Pushes for Electric Powered Transit

March 2019 Chicago Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting
The Chicago Department of Transportation is pushing the City of Chicago to implement changes that will allow for more e-bikes and e-scooters on the city's streets and in our bike lanes. This is no doubt in large part due to the City of Chicago agreeing with Lyft for the ride share giant to take over the city's successful Divvy bike share program. 

At the March 2019 Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council meeting, CDOT officials and Lyft representatives discussed how Lyft will incorporate e-bikes into the Divvy fleet. Lyft has also played a role in pushing e-scooters onto Chicago's streets. Theses proposed CDOT changes will also allow for privately owned e-bikes and e-scooters to take the streets - and to Chicago's bike lanes. 


Lyft To Provide Divvy E-Bikes

The changes to the City of Chicago ordinance regarding "low speed electric bicycles" creates different classes of e-bikes. There will be three different classes based on whether the rider assists by pedaling and the overall speed of the bicycle. 

CDOT proposed the following: 
"Low-speed electric bicycle" means a bicycle, except equipped with an electric motor of less than 750 watts that meets the requirements of one of the following classes:  
"Class 1 low-speed electric bicycle" means a low-speed electric bicycle that weighs less than 125 pounds and is equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.  
"Class 2 low-speed electric bicycle" means a low-speed electric bicycle equipped with a motor that can be used as the sole means to propel the bicycle and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.  
"Class 3 low-speed electric bicycle" means a low-speed electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour, or is a Class 1 low-speed electric bicycle that weighs 125 pounds or more. 
A "low speed electric bicycle" is not a moped or a motor-driven cycle."
We are of the opinion that low-speed electric bicycles can be an asset to Chicago's bicyclists. They are particularly beneficial to those riders whose ability levels and functional levels might otherwise be limited by a pedal only bicycle. These e-bikes, if properly regulated, should integrate into Chicago bicycle system and provide greater access to everyone. 

E-Scooters

E-scooters are an entirely different device and an entirely different story. Keating Law Offices opposes CDOT's efforts to push e-scooters as an alternative to the already existing and successful bike share system. The CDOT proposal lays the groundwork for the entry of electric scooters, commonly called "e-scooters," into Chicago bike lanes. 

At the March 2019 Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, CDOT representatives stressed that initially e-scooters will only be those that are privately owned. But this is just a Trojan Horse plan where ultimately Lyft will be allowed to flood Chicago's streets with rentable e-scooters. 

This is the text of the proposal: 
"Low-speed electric mobility device" means a device which: (i) has no operable pedals (ii) is no more than 26 inches wide: (iii) weighs less than 100 pounds: and (iv) is powered by an electric motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour on a paved level surface."
These e-scooters will allow anyone to ride one of these devices in Chicago's bike lanes and for kids to ride them on the city's sidewalks. But these e-scooters are not toys. The manufacturer of most e-scooters, Xiamo, states that their e-scooters can go up to 15-miles per hour. This is five times (500%) of the average person's walking speed. 

E-Scooters Are Dangerous

E-scooters have proven dangerous. A recent Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article analyzed the medical records of 249 patients involved in standing electric scooter at two urban emergency rooms in Southern California between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018. Just as with bicycles, there are specific injury patterns:

  • The riders’ heads were the most often injured body part with 40.2% reporting a head injury. This was consistent with only 4.4% of the riders documented as wearing a helmet.
  • Fractures accounted for nearly a third of the injuries with 31.7% of riders suffering a break.
  • Other injuries such as contusions, sprains and lacerations independent of a fracture or head injury accounted for 27.7% of the documented injuries. 
Keating Law Offices Opposes E-Scooters in Bike Lanes and on Sidewalks

Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating was invited by the American Association for Justice to speak to trial lawyers from throughout the country at the 2019 AAJ Winter Convention in Miami. Mike's lecture was a part of Continuing Legal Education to update and inform other trial lawyers about emerging risks to our clients. Mike's subject was Bike Share and the emerging threats posed by E-Scooters. The speech was entitled "Looking Beyond Automobiles: Bicycles and Electric Scooters." 

Attorney Mike Keating, who was a vocal opponent of this proposal at the March 2019 MBAC meeting, states:
"Chicago streets are already dangerous enough for bicyclists. We already face distracted drivers, potholes, and often inadequate infrastructure. Adding unlicensed, untrained and uninsured e-scooter riders to the City's streets is a recipe for disaster. The City of Chicago cannot and should not put profits over people and allow for rentable e-scooters. These devices will lead to cluttered sidewalks, clogged bikelanes, and a legitimate public health threat." 
Mike Keating's presentation was one month before the City of Chicago proposed these changes. Keating Law Offices works to remain on the forefront of legal issues related to bicycle and pedestrian safety. The firm will continue to monitor these changes and advocate for safe streets for bicyclists and pedestrians over Lyft's business interests. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Mike Keating Presents Lecture on Legal Issues Surrounding Bike Share and E-Scooters at Trial Lawyer Convention

Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating was invited by the American Association for Justice to speak to the attendees of the 2019 AAJ Winter Convention in Miami. Mike's subject was Bike Share and the emerging threats posed by E-Scooters. The speech was entitled "Looking Beyond Automobiles: Bicycles and Electric Scooters." Chicago's Divvy program is one of the nation's largest bike share systems. 

Mike's presentation was a part of a program of Continuing Legal Education where other trial lawyers from throughout the country learn about different areas of the law. This was a part of the convention's lecture series, "Specialized Track: Keep Your Eyes on the Road: The Latest Strategies in Litigation." 

Mike Keating is considered one of the nation's leading authorities on litigation and insurance claims related to bicycle crashes. This is the second time Mike has been asked to present on bicycle law to the American Association for Justice. The last time was in 2016 at AAJ's Annual Convention. In addition, last year his article "Bike Share Roadblocks" was published in Trial Magazine. Mike Keating has served as the Chair of the American Association for Justice's Bicycle Litigation Committee for the past five years. In addition to his work with AAJ, Mike is also a member of the Illinois Trial Lawyer Association's Board of Managers and one of its Legislative Chairs who works with legislators on legal issues. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

The "Dutch Reach" Becomes Part of Illinois Bicycle Laws

Illinois Department of Transportation data shows dooring crashes on the rise across the state. In 2015 alone there were more than 300 doorings reported. This number, which only represents those doorings that made it onto a police report, nonetheless represented a 50% increase from 2014. 

As part of an effort to fight the plague of doorings, the Illinois Secretary of State will now be required to include the "Dutch Reach" as a part of the Rules of the Road for Illinois motorists. The "Dutch Reach" is where a motorist opens the car door across their body with their right hand. This movement forces the the driver to turn their body and check over their left shoulder towards oncoming traffic. The goal of the "Dutch Reach" is to teach motorists to always check for bicyclists prior to opening their vehicle door into traffic and to prevent doorings. Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating was recently profiled in a CBS 2 Chicago story on the Dutch Reach.

Doorings Are Illegal

Section 11-1407 of the Illinois Vehicle Code and Section 9-80-035 of Municipal Code of Chicago prohibit opening a car door into traffic. Here's the Illinois dooring law:  
"No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."
Bicyclists Have Equal Right to Illinois Roads

As clarified in the 2017 Illinois bike law known as "Dennis' Law," a bicycle is a vehicle under Illinois law and any reference to a "vehicle" or "traffic" includes a bicyclist. The trend of dooring has gotten worse. According to the available data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, doorings area plague to Chicago cyclists in particular. In 2015 there were 302 cases of doorings. There were 203 in 2014, 270 in 2013, 334 reported in 2012 and 336 in 2011, the first full year IDOT collected data on the number of doorings.

Teaching the "Dutch Reach" is an important step in making watching for bicycles at all times a common practice for all motorists. Just as every motorist is taught to "check their blind spot" when changing lanes, every motorist will be taught to look for bikes when exiting their vehicle. Each time, every time. And with that, we hope to see the number of doorings in Illinois decrease. 

New Illinois Traffic Law to Fight Distracted Driving Epidemic and Protect Bicyclists

Bicyclists are often referred to as "vulnerable users" of the roadways. Even the most experienced bicyclist on the most advanced bicycle is at a disadvantage if there is a crash with even the smallest motor vehicle driven by a non-attentive motorist. Sheer physics are blind and unfortunately do not take into account fairness when a collision occurs and what might be a fender bender on a car can lead to serious or even fatal injuries to the bicyclist. Bicyclists are even more vulnerable in Illinois due to the state's sheer number of citizens and its densely populated urban centers including the metropolis of Chicago. A new 2019 law is designed to combat distracted driving and help reduce crashes and protect bicyclists. 

New Illinois Law To Fight Distracted Driving


The original law in Illinois to fight distracted driving was tragically borne by the death of a downstate bicyclist who was struck and killed by a driver downloading a ringtone on her cellphone. According to the current law in Illinois, distracted driving only get a warning and zero fine the first time they are caught using their phone behind the wheel. 

Starting on July 1, 2019, Illinois drivers that pay more attention to their phones will face stiffer penalties for distracted driving. Any driver caught using a phone while driving (other than talking on the phone with a hands-free connection) will face a fine of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second ticket, $125 for a third ticket and $150 for a fourth or subsequent ticket for distracted driving. 

Studies Confirm Threat of Distracted Driving

The American Automobile Association's (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety recently published a study regarding distracted drivingThe study found that 88% of all drivers believe that distracted driving is a serious problem. Most alarming, the study from the AAA Foundation shows drivers talking on a cellphone are up to four times as likely to crash while those who text are up to eight times as likely to be involved in a crash. Data from the AAA study also showed: 
  • The proportion of drivers who report talking on a cell phone regularly or fairly often when behind the wheel increased 46% in the last five years. 
  • Nearly half (49%) of drivers report recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving.
  • Nearly 35% of drivers have sent a text or email while driving. 
  • Approximately 58% of drivers say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78 percent believe that texting is a significant danger. 
Chicago, Illinois Bicycle Attorneys

Keating Law Offices' trial attorney Mike Keating has been a tireless advocate for cyclists' rights in Illinois. Mike is the author of "Dennis' Law" and worked with the Jurs family and legislators to pass the landmark law that solidified bicyclist's rights in Illinois. Mike also serves as a Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association where he is a also a member of the Board of Governors. Nationally he is the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the American Association for Justice, the nation's largest trial attorney organization fighting for the rights of the injured. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Bike Attorney Mike Keating Appears on "Road Is Dead Podcast" to Discuss Bicycle Law

Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating recently appeared on the "Road is Dead" podcast to discuss legal issues surrounding bicycling. The "Road is Dead" podcast is hosted by Rob Curtis and Anthony Mikos of the Psimet Custom Wheels company and is recorded at their bike and coffee shop in Dundee, Illinois right on the banks of the Fox River. 

"The Law Episode" included fellow bicycle law attorneys Jessica Cutler from Washington state as well as Arley Kemmerer and Joe Piscitello of Piscitello Law in Philadelphia. Topics included what to do when you've been involved in a bike crash, the number of bicycle crashes and actions bicyclists can take to protect themselves when riding.  

Attorney Mike Keating of Keating Law Offices is frequently interviewed regarding legal issues surrounding bicycling. Earlier this year he participated in a CBS News Chicago story on the dangers of being doored in Chicago and the new efforts in Illinois to promote the use of the "Dutch Reach" by motorists. Mike has also appeared live on WGN News and was the focus of a 2016 CBS New Chicago story about the dangers facing cyclists. 

In addition, Mike Keating has written extensively on legal issues facing cyclists. His 2018 article on the risks posed to bicyclists injured using bike share bicycles entitled "Bike Share Roadblocks" was published in Trial Magazine which is a national magazine for trial lawyers. Mike's article "Bicycling In An Automobile's World" about the disparity between bicycle and motor vehicle infrastructure was also in Trial Magazine in 2016. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association's Trial Journal published his article entitled "The Wheels of Change Keep Turning: Why The Popularity of Bicycling in Illinois Has Rendered Illinois Law Irrelevant" about why Illinois needs to take greater efforts to protect the growing number of bicyclists in the state.  

Mike Keating is nationally recognized as a leader in bicycle law litigation. He is the long standing Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the American Association for Justice and serves on the Board of Managers for the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims Honors the Lives of Traffic Crash Victims

Empty Shoes Representing the 132 Victims
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was held today at Federal Plaza in Chicago. The World Day of Remembrance is held every year to remember the millions injured and killed every year on the roadways. The World Day of Remembrance is a joint effort between Vision Zero Chicago, Chicago Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Transportation, AARP, the Active Transportation Alliance, Ride of Silence Chicago and Ghost Bikes Chicago. 

This powerful display at the World Day of Remembrance consists of 132 pairs of empty shoes to represent the 132 victims of fatal traffic crashes in Chicago over the past year. Injuries and deaths from traffic violence are a threat to public health and safety. Every day in Chicago there are five serious injuries from traffic crashes and a person loses their life every three days. Tragically, Chicago's bicyclists are especially vulnerable to traffic crashes. 

Keating Law Offices is honored to have sponsored this event and to work as a voice for Chicago's bicyclists. Keating Law Offices is a law firm in Chicago, Illinois that represents victims of bicycle crashes throughout Illinois. The firm has offices in the Loop and on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago's West Town neighborhood. The firm represents bicyclists injured in crashes as well as families of victims. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Chicago Cyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run


Attorney Michael S. Keating of Keating Law Offices has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Chicago bicyclist who was tragically killed in a hit-and-run crash on September 23, 2018. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Estate of Jesse Rodriguez, the Chicago bicyclist who was riding near the intersection of Devon Avenue and the North Shore Channel trail when a juvenile driver turning from McCormick Boulevard to Devon Avenue jumped the curb and struck the bicyclist. The motorist then ironically struck a "Yield To Bikes" sign before fleeing the scene.

The North Shore Channel trail runs alongside McCormick Boulevard. Devon Avenue is frequently used by bicyclists connecting from the North Shore Channel trail on the west side of the channel to the east side. The trail on the east side of the river then connects to trails alongside the Chicago River.

The driver fled the scene before later turning himself into police after images of the vehicle and license plate were released. The boy was charged with felony counts of reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident. The juvenile case is currently pending under seal in the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. It is notable that authorities charged the motorist with "reckless" driving meaning that the acts were egregious and not just a mistake. The civil case is currently pending in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The lawsuit alleges that this preventable crash occurred because the motorist did not follow even the most basic duties of a motorist. The lawsuit further alleges that the motorist:

  • Drove on a sidewalk contrary to and in direct violation of Section 9-40-070 of the Municipal Code of Chicago;
  • Failed to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person operating a bicycle, contrary to and in direct violation of Section 9-40-160 of the Municipal Code of Chicago;
  • Drove unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist, contrary to and in direct violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-703(e);
  • Carelessly and improperly operated his motor vehicle at a speed greater than was reasonable and proper in regard to traffic conditions, contrary to and in direct violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-601;
  • Failed to apply the brakes of his motor vehicle and reduce speed at such a distance as to control the movement of and stop said vehicle before impact, contrary to and in direct violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-601;
  • Failed to keep a proper lookout for bicycles and other vehicles on the roadway;
  • Failed to keep said motor vehicle under proper and sufficient control; and
  • Failed to stop and remain at the scene contrary to and in violation of Section 11-401(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
Attorney Michael S. Keating said the following about this occurrence, "This is yet another tragic example of the life of a Chicago bicyclist lost in a crash that was entirely preventable. The bicyclist here could not have been more experienced and in a place where he could expect to be protected from motor vehicle traffic. This crash should simply have never occurred and the age of the motorist is no excuse."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Illinois Drivers Now Advised to Use the "Dutch Reach" to Prevent Doorings



The Illinois Secretary of State will now be required to include the "Dutch Reach" as a part of the Rules of the Road for Illinois motorists. The "Dutch Reach" is where a motorist opens the car door with their right hand. This action naturally requires the driver to look over their left shoulder and towards oncoming traffic. The goal of the "Dutch Reach" is to teach motorists to always check for oncoming cyclists prior to opening their vehicle door into traffic and to prevent doorings.

Section 11-1407 of the Illinois Vehicle Code and Section 9-80-035 of Municipal Code of Chicago make it illegal to open a vehicle door into traffic with the same statutory language: 
"No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers."
As clarified in the 2017 Illinois bike law known as "Dennis' Law," a bicycle is a vehicle under Illinois law. According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, doorings area plague to Chicago cyclists in particular. In 2015 there were 302 cases of doorings. There were 203 in 2014, 270 in 2013, 334 reported in 2012 and 336 in 2011, the first full year IDOT collected data on the number of doorings.

It is important to note that from a legal perspective this legal change does not require motorists to utilize the "Dutch Reach." The law essentially requires Illinois drivers to be taught the "Dutch Reach." In other words, Illinois drivers are advised to utilize the "Dutch Reach" in the Illinois Rules of the Road Publication, but are not required to do so by law under the Illinois Vehicle Code.

This new Illinois bike law is nonetheless a giant victory for Ride Illinois and the Active Transportation Alliance who valiantly fought for the promotion of the "Dutch Reach" as a simple safety practice that can reduce the number of doorings in Illinois. The promotion of the utilization of the "Dutch Reach" will help the practice become more commonplace in Illinois and is a further reflection of the commitment by Illinois lawmakers to make cycling safer. 

The inclusion of the "Dutch Reach" in the Rules of the Road will also help establish safety practices for checking for oncoming bicyclists as "ordinary practice" for Illinois motorists. When a bicyclist is doored in Illinois and is injured, we need to establish that the driver was negligent. Establishing negligence is done by showing that they did not follow "ordinary care." While not quite the full effect of a rule under the Rules of the Rode, this advisory position carries some weight in arguing that a driver is acting most safely when they check for an oncoming bicyclist. 

Keating Law Offices' founding attorney Mike Keating has an extensive background in Illinois legislation. He is a former Assistant Counsel to the Illinois House of Representatives where he worked on hundreds of pieces of legislation. Mike is the author of "Dennis' Law" and worked with the Jurs family and legislators to pass the law. Keating Law Offices also represented the Jurs family in the case. In addition, Mike serves as a Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association where he is a also a member of the Board of Governors. 


Friday, August 10, 2018

Chicago Bicyclist Angela Park Tragically Killed In Crash With Turning Truck

News outlets are reporting that the bicyclist who lost her life in a crash in the West Loop was 39-year old Angela Park of Chicago. The crash occurred at the intersection of Halsted Street and Madison Street. Angela was riding northbound on Halsted where the Halsted Street bike lake has existed for decades. The truck involved in the crash was a dump truck owned and operated by Lakeshore Recycling. The truck was turning right from northbound Halsted onto eastbound Madison when the crash occurred. The exact circumstances of the crash are yet to be determined as there is a major construction project on the southeast corner of Madison and Halsted that has led to frequent changes in the traffic patterns at that intersection. 

The crash was what is known as a “right hook” crash where the truck turned right across the path of the bicyclist. Since the Halsted Street bike lane is to the right of the northbound lane, the truck would cross over the bike lane when turning from Halsted onto eastbound Madison Street. The crash occurred at 7:10 a.m. on a weekday when this area of the West Loop is full of commuters on their way into the Loop for the workday. The presence of a bicyclist on the Halsted Street bike lane is not only common it is constant at this time of the day. Chicago law requires the operators of motor vehicles to utilize “due care” in looking for bike traffic. 


In addition, a “right hook” is strictly prohibited by law.  In Chicago the Municipal Code addresses right hooks. 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.” 
Based on the reports, it appears that the operator of the truck also acted contrary to the Illinois Vehicle Code and also 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. 
Legal analysis aside it is important to remember that Angela Park was a member of Chicago’s bicycling community. This is another unfortunate reminder of the need for not only laws and policies that protect bicyclists, but strict enforcement of those laws. This is beyond sad, it is tragic in the scope of the loss against reality that it could have been avoided. Our thoughts and prayers and most sincerely with the family of Angela Park.