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.