Friday, February 5, 2021

Settlement Obtained for Bicyclist Injured By Construction On Halsted Street Bike Lane

In the summer of 2018 a Chicago bicyclist was riding up the Halsted Street bike lane near her home like she had hundreds of times before. One day she was commuting home from work and was on the Halsted Street bike lane near its intersection with Wellington. Despite the construction in the area the bike lane looked the same as it had on other days. There were no warnings or indications that anything on this stretch was different. 

In reality there was a hidden defect in that some of the contractors working on the bike lane had placed a "patch" that created a large bump that was undetectable because it was almost the same color as the road. It was basically camouflaged. As the front wheel of the cyclist's bike hit this bump the bike became uncontrollable and she crashed to the ground. 

Keating Law Offices went to the scene of the crash and took photographs illustrating that the change in elevation was almost as high as a Coke can that was used for scale. These timely photos ended up being a significant piece of evidence in the case. After investigating, Keating Law Offices filed a lawsuit against multiple defendants, including the City of Chicago which was the owner of the construction project. The City hired a local paving company to act as the project’s General Contractor and a private engineering company to serve as the project’s Resident Engineer.

After the crash, our client fell onto her right shoulder. The force of the bicycle crash fractured her collarbone and required extensive medical intervention. The fracture limited our client’s range of motion and strength in her shoulder. It also limited her ability to ride as she routinely did before her crash. After extensive litigation, the case was settled for $200,000.00 after a Pre-Trial Conference with a judge in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. 

As the City of Chicago expands its bike infrastructure, the importance of safety within construction zones is greater than ever. In this case, we alleged that the change in elevation that caused our client’s injuries was a danger introduced by careless construction work that did not properly create a ramp between the old and new road during the construction. Moreover, there was no appropriate signage or safety warnings to alert oncoming traffic and cyclists of the dangers ahead. 

While Keating Law Offices salutes the efforts by our city to maintain our roadways and further develop bike-friendly infrastructure, safety during construction must be a priority for all involved. When safety measures fail or construction shortcuts lead to dangerous conditions and injuries, hiring an experienced attorney can be the best option for many cyclists.