Thursday, February 4, 2021

Chicago Bicyclist Injured In Hit And Run Receives Settlement from Chicago Transit Authority

Attorneys Catelyn Viggiano and Michael Keating of Keating Law Offices recently obtained a favorable settlement for a Chicago bicyclist that was injured in a collision with a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus. On July 20, 2017, our client was struck by a negligent CTA bus operator who improperly tried to pass her on her left. The crash occurred on Clark Street near its intersection with Webster Avenue in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The CTA bus came from behind the cyclist and attempted to pass her on her left, and in doing so, the CTA bus contacted her left side. 

The bus operator apparently was not even aware he struck the cyclist and drove away from the scene. The cyclist was able to locate surveillance footage from nearby and the bus route and unique CTA bus number were then used to identify the bus operator. 

As a result of the contact from the CTA bus, the cyclist was thrown from her bicycle and struck her head on the pavement. The cyclist sustained a concussion and suffered from post-concussion syndrome. She underwent months of neurological treatment. The settlement reached with the CTA compensates her for the damages she suffered such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of normal life.

All Chicagoans are intimately familiar with the presence of CTA buses on the roadway which serve as a valuable transportation resource. The large volume of people that rely on CTA bus transportation for their everyday commute, requires the actual size of the CTA bus to be substantial when compared to other vehicles on the roadway. While CTA busses provide an essential service to the community and combat other societal concerns such as roadway congestion and pollution, they do pose substantial threats to other users of the roadways, such as bicyclists. The main concern is the disparity between the size and weight of a bus compared to a bicycle, which can lead to serious bodily injuries.

Over and above the general expectation that CTA bus operators will operate the busses in a safe manner for all users of the roadway, there are other protections in place to prevent instances like the one here, involving our client which resulted in serious bodily injuries. For example, 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). Similarly, 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. 

The CTA requires its bus operators to obtain a special driver’s license and undergo extensive training before being eligible to operate a CTA bus. Part of the CTA's training and standard operating procedures focuses on safe vehicle maneuvering when cyclists are present. Unfortunately, despite all these safeguards serious collisions continue to occur with CTA busses and cyclists.

Keating Law Offices has handled numerous cases for clients who were injured in a collision with the CTA. This includes not only settlements but taking the CTA to trial and successfully obtaining a verdict in favor of our client in a case where the CTA offered nothing to settle the case prior to trial. 

If you were hurt in a crash involving a CTA bus or other motor vehicle contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We can review the details of your case, answer your questions and go over your legal options. Consultations are always absolutely free and with zero obligation.