Sunday, December 12, 2021

Chicago Cyclist Killed In Crash With Semi-Truck On Ashland Avenue

The Chicago cycling community is again faced with another tragedy due to the death of a young cyclist on Friday night. According to the Chicago Police Department, the fatal crash occurred at approximately 10:20 a.m. on Friday, December 10th in the 4000 block of South Ashland Avenue. This is a stretch of Ashland Avenue that is heavily trafficked with semi-trucks and other industrial traffic due to the nearby Norfolk Southern Railyard and accompanying rail road tracks.

According to the Illinois Traffic Crash Report, the collision occurred when a truck driver turned a 2017 International tractor and connected trailer right across the bicyclist as the truck turned from Ashland Avenue into the driveway of a business. The truck driver reportedly never saw the cyclist and was only aware of the collision because he heard the sound of the contact. The responding Chicago police officers ultimately ticketed for failure to exercise due care in the presence of a cyclist. The driver has a January court date at the Daley Center in Chicago.

Right Hook Crashes

This turn would put the semi-truck across the path of an oncoming cyclist. This type of crash is what is known as a "right-hook" collision. In Chicago, the Chicago Municipal Code addresses this scenario. Section 9-16-020 of the Municipal Code of Chicago specifically prohibits right turns in front of bicycles. The infographic at the bottom of this post details right-hook and left-hook bicycle crashes.

The City of Chicago's ordinance states:
“When a motor vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction on any highway, 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 or at any alley or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken and is safely clear of the bicycle.”
Illinois and Federal Laws Address Duties of Truck Drivers

There are specific state and national laws that apply to drivers of commercial trucks. The drivers of commercial trucks are expected to be professionals and drive with the utmost care. These drivers are typically required to carry a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). These rules and regulations exist not just in state and local laws, but also in federal regulations. 

Here are some of the key laws that apply to a bicycle crash of this nature:
  • 49 C.F.R. Section 383.111 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires a professional driver to recognize and avoid potential hazards at all times.
  • Section 11-1003.1 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code states that every driver of a vehicle must 1) always exercise care to avoid colliding with pedestrians and bicyclists, and 2) sound their horn to provide warning of an impending impact.
A Loss of A Life

Often lost in the details of news stories is the person who lost their life. Many in the Chicago cycling community have posted heartfelt tributes to the cyclist and planned an upcoming memorial on the 606 trail. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the cyclist. May he rest in peace.

About Keating Law Offices

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle crashes in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois with locations in Chicago's West Town Neighborhood and the Loop. The firm was founded by attorney Mike Keating who is the Chair of the Bicycle Litigation Committee for the American Association for Justice. The firm has successfully represented hundreds of cyclists and their families. Through the years the firm has earned a reputation as trusted and valued member of Chicago's cycling community. 

If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). The firm has staff that also speaks fluent Spanish and Polish. 

Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.