Friday, January 30, 2015

Keating Law Offices Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Chicago Bicyclist Sideswiped by CTA Bus

Western Avenue at Walton - Scene of bicycle accident involving a Chicago bicyclist and CTA bus.
The Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices have filed a lawsuit on behalf of an injured Chicago bicyclist against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and one of its bus drivers. The lawsuit stems from a bicycle crash that occurred on the afternoon of July 18, 2014 near Chicago's Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

Prior to the crash, the bicyclist was riding southbound on North Western Avenue near its intersection with West Walton Street. At the same time, the driver of a CTA bus began passing the bicyclist on the left side of her bicycle. According to the report filed by the responding Chicago police officer, the bicycle rack on the front of the bus first clipped her handlebar and then the aluminum frame of the advertisement on the side of the CTA bus again "clipped" the handlebar a second time. According to the police report, the bicyclist was dragged along the bus before being able to push away from the bus. While she was able to keep from falling underneath the bus, she still crashed onto Western Avenue.

The CTA bus driver continued to drive southbound on North Western Avenue until a passenger alerted the bus driver about the alleged incident. According to reports, there are multiple witnesses to this collision. As a result of this injury, the bicyclist suffered a severe injury to her ulnar nerve near her elbow. This injury required a surgical repair that left the bicyclist with a permanent scar. The bicyclist also continues to suffer from decreased strength and dexterity in her hand and arm from the injury. In addition, the injured bicyclist suffered abrasions that left scars throughout her body.

The lawsuit alleges that the CTA, by and through its employee, was negligent for failing to meet certain laws and requirements related to the handling of a bus around a bicycle. The Illinois Vehicle Code states that a driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle traveling in the same direction shall pass to the left of that bicycle at a safe distance in order to safely clear said bicycle.  625 ILCS 5/11-703(a).

In addition, Section 9-36-010 of the Municipal Code of Chicago requires something known as the “3-Foot Rule.” That is, the operator of a motor vehicle (in this case a bus) that is overtaking a bicycle traveling in the same direction on a highway must leave a safe distance, but not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle. The motor vehicle must then maintain that distance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.

According to the lawsuit filed on January 29, 2015 in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the CTA bus driver allegedly failed to leave the safe distance of at least 3 feet between the bus and the victim bicyclist. The lawsuit also alleges that the driver of the CTA bus allegedly failed to safely clear the victim and her bicycle and these failures caused the bicyclist to lose her balance and fall into the side of the bus.

All Illinois drivers have a duty to keep a proper lookout for bicyclists or other vehicles upon said streets. If a driver were to fail to keep a proper lookout for a bicyclist and then struck said bicyclist, that driver would be liable for the injuries the bicyclist suffered. All Illinois drivers also have a duty to make sure that their vehicles move into a lane of traffic safely and that they exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person operating a bicycle. Bicyclists have a right to obtain compensation for injuries caused by a driver who does not exercise due care while operating his or her vehicle. 
Keating Law Offices are national leaders in the field of bicycle litigation. The firm has successfully handled hundreds of cases on behalf of injured bicyclists throughout Illinois. Attorney Michael Keating is the Chair of the National Bicycle Litigation Committee for the national trial lawyers' organization, the American Association for Justice. 
If you have any questions regarding this post, an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, or about a bicycle accident, 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 absolutely confidential and free.