Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Illinois Bicycle Lawyers to Represent Victim of Hit-and-Run with Taxicab Tied to Long History of Legal Problems

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at the Keating Law Offices have been retained to represent a Chicago bicyclist who was injured in a hit-and-run bicycle accident with a taxi cab in River North. 

The bicyclist was in the left-turn lane on eastbound West Kinsie Street at its intersection with North LaSalle Street, waiting for the light to turn green in order to make a left onto northbound North LaSalle. This section of Kinzie Street includes marked "bicycle sharrows" and is just east of the protected bike lane. 

When the light turned green, a taxi cab behind the bicyclist attempted to beat oncoming traffic by passing the bicyclist and making a left turn onto northbound North LaSalle. As it turned onto LaSalle Street, the taxi cab driver hit the bicyclist with the passenger side of his cab, causing the bicyclist to crash onto the pavement. The taxi cab driver never stopped and instead proceeded to drive away in the northbound lane of North LaSalle. 

Fortunately, an eyewitness was able to take a picture of the taxi cab and identify it by its cab number. Each taxi cab has an individual number assigned to it. The injured bicyclist came to the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices for legal advice. The firm immediately sent out a Freedem of Information Act (FOIA) request to the City of Chicago's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection asking for the City to turn over everything within the public record related to this taxi cab's number. 

Shockingly, this was not the first time this taxi cab was associated with a legal problem. The FOIA request lead to the discovery of many reports to the City of Chicago about reckless driving and dangerous behavior dating all the way back to 2006. A complaint from one set of passengers alleged that the taxi driver ran multiple stop signs, a red light, and almost caused an accident while they were in the cab. The passengers were so fearful that they requested to be let out before reaching their intended destination. Another report from a Chicago motorist driving alongside the cab noted driving so erratic that he wondered whether the taxicab driver’s faculties were impaired at the time. Perhaps most shockingly, a complaint against the taxi driver for physical assault was filed in 2008. One morning, while waiting in the cab area at Union Station, the taxi driver got into a fight with another taxi driver, punching him twice in the face. Most recently, in February of 2013, the City of Chicago impounded the taxi cab in question for twenty days pending an investigation and court proceedings against it in Park Ridge, Illinois. Details of the matter in Park Ridge were not detailed in the City of Chicago's files.

While the extreme allegations against the driver or drivers of this specific taxi cab were unusual, unfortunately hit-and-run collisions with bicyclists are not. According to the City of Chicago’s Bicycle Crash Analysis, 25% of all bicycle crashes in 2012 were classified as hit-and-runs. Further, approximately 55% of bicycle crashes resulting in injury occurred at intersections and approximately 1-in-12 crashes involved taxis. As a result of the collision at issue, this bicyclist sustained injuries to his back and tailbone, as well as damage to his bicycle and helmet. He works as a bike messenger and missed work following the accident. He is now receiving follow-up care.

The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Office not only take our responsibility to our client that was injured in this collision very seriously, but also our responsibility to the public at large. We are ensuring that this most recent event is reported to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and that a bright light is shined on the behavior of the driver or drivers of this taxicab.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please do not hesitate to contact Illinois Bicycle Lawyer Mike Keating at (312) 239-6787 during business hours, or at either (312) 208-7702 or MKeating@KeatingLegal.com at any time. All emails and phone calls are returned promptly. Keating Law Offices offers free, no obligation consultation to injured bicyclists. There are never any attorneys’ fees or expenses unless the firm is able to make a recovery on your behalf. We are here to help.