Thursday, May 30, 2013

UPDATE on Chicago Bicyclist Killed In Collision In Old Town

News outlets are reporting that a 26-year old Chicago bicyclist was killed as a result of a collision with a Mercedes-Benz in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. Sadly, the bicyclist has been identified as 26-year old Bobby Cann, a well known and well liked member of Chicago's bicycling community.

The collision occurred as both the motor vehicle and the bicycle were traveling southbound on Clybourn near Larabee, just north of Division Street near Yojimbo's Garage, a local bike shop. Clybourn is commonly used by bicyclists as it travels on an angle southwest from Belmont through Lakeview and Lincoln Park towards the Loop.

The motorist, Ryne San Hamel, of Park Ridge has been charged with reckless homicide and aggravated drunken driving in the death of Bobby Cann.

Initial reports stated that both the motorist and bicyclist were traveling southbound. Recent information indicates that the bicyclist was going from his work in River North to his home in Lakeview.

If both the bicyclist and the motorist were traveling in the same direction at the time of the collision then this raises the question of whether the three feet separation required by the law existed if the motorist was passing the bicyclist. In simple terms, if a motorist is passing a bicycle while traveling in the same direction then the motorist must leave at least three feet between the bicyclist and the motor vehicle. Here is the text of the "Three Foot Law" in Illinois:
(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.
This is another extremely sad and tragic event where a bicyclist in Chicago has lost their life as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle. Making matters worse, is the fact that the motorist may have been under the influence at the time of the collision. This shows that no matter how many bike lanes or laws the City of Chicago implements, that a bicyclist will always be vulnerable when in the immediate presence of a motor vehicle.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bobby Cann's friends and family. This is another great loss to all of us.

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