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.