Saturday, November 17, 2012

71-Year Old Bicyclist Killed in Rear End Bike Accident

The State Journal-Register is reporting that 71-year old Grover Everett was killed when a 22-year old motorist drifted off of the roadway and onto the shoulder where Mr. Grover was riding. This tragic bicycle accident occurred downstate on State Highway 104 just west of Auburn, Illinois. Auburn is located southwest of Springfield near I-55. 

Mr. Everett was an epic bicyclist. According to the State Journal-Register article, the retired corrections officer planned to log 20,000 miles on his bicycle this year and in past years rode as many as 18,000 miles. In 1989 Mr. Everett rode 3,357 miles from Seattle to Atlantic City as part of the TransAmerica Bicycle Trek. 

The motorist received a ticket for improper lane usage. Section 11-709 of the Illinois Rules of the Road controls "proper" lane usage. The statute is as follows:
 (625 ILCS 5/11-709) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-709)
    Sec. 11-709. Driving on roadways laned for traffic. Whenever any roadway has been divided into 2 or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to all others consistent herewith shall apply.
    (a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
Obviously, the ticketed motorist did not drive within the lane and moved from the lane when it was clearly unsafe to do so. This appears to be a particularly senseless bicycle accident. Mr. Everett was reportedly riding on the shoulder of Highway 104. I rode on this highway when I lived in Springfield and it is wide and not particularly busy. Given this, it appears that the motorist neglected Mr. Everett altogether and let his vehicle veer onto the shoulder. At this time no further details have been reported. I would expect there to be a major accident investigation by the Illinois State Police. 

This is a very sad story that involves two extremes. The first extreme is the fact that this bicycle accident was totally avoidable. The second extreme is the remarkable life lived by Mr. Everett and his commitment to bicycling. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. 

If you have any questions regarding this post, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.