Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Victim of Right Hook in Des Plaines Bike Lane Receives $405,000.00 Settlement

A Chicago bicyclist received a $405,000.00 settlement for injuries he sustained in June of 2018 when he was injured in a "right hook" crash. The driver involved in the crash claimed that she never struck the cyclist and that the cyclist was in large part to blame for the crash. However, an investigation and legal analysis by Keating Law Offices showed that the cyclist was in no way at fault and responsibility for this crash was 100% on the driver and her insurance company. 

Just before the crash the bicyclist was riding his bicycle in the designated shared bike lane northbound on North Des Plaines Street. The cyclist is a very experienced cyclist who was very familiar with the area. The photo above shows the green bike lane and sharrow on Des Plaines as it approaches the intersection of Des Plaines, Milwaukee and Kinzie. At the same time the driver was moving northbound on North Des Plaines Street near its intersection with West Kinzie Street. 

As the driver approached Kinzie she quickly turned right across the green bike lane. The driver never checked for the cyclist and turned right in from of him and caused him to crash. The cyclist struck the vehicle and then flew over his handlebars and crashed onto the road way. 

The presence of bicyclists in this area could not be more obvious. The Des Plaines bike lane is literally painted green and there was a sharrow next to the bike lane. This location is mere feet from where the bike lane intersects with the Milwaukee Avenue bike lane and the Kinzie Street bike lane. Bicyclists routinely flood this intersection and there is no reason to think that was any different than at the time of this crash in the middle of the day in June.   

The driver also violated provisions of the Municipal Code of Chicago and the Illinois Vehicle Code in making this illegal "right hook" turn into the cyclist. 
  • Section 9-16-020(f) of the Municipal Code of Chicago is the "Right-Hook Law." It states that “When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any street or road, the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking such bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at that intersection until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.” (See also 625 ILCS 5/11-1003.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.)
  • Section 11-804 of the Illinois Vehicle Code also states that, “No person may turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.” (625 ILCS 5/11-804). 
The cyclists suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a fractured vertebrae in his back. The injuries required him to miss several months of work and endure lots of doctors visits and physical therapy. Fortunately, the cyclist is charging forward with his life and his career and this substantial settlement will help him as he moves forward. 

The cyclist originally tried to handle the case on his own until a co-worker recommended bicycle law attorney Mike Keating. Keating Law Offices filed a case in the Circuit Court of Cook County and secured this settlement in a Pre-Trial Conference with a Cook County trial judge. This settlement was completed within months of the case being filed and even with the delays caused by the courthouse being physically closed.