Bicycling Accidents In Cook County

Bicycling Accidents In Cook County

Bicycle accidents have been discussed in various places on this site.  The “Chicago Bicycle Accidents” page discusses various aspects of Chicago-area bicycle accidents, including accident statistics.  Individual Cook County bicycle accidents that have been summarized are seen in posts listed under the “Bicycling Accidents” category.  These posts have summarized Cook County bicycle accidents that have happened in various cities including Chicago, Glencoe, Skokie, Evanston, Des Plaines, Chicago Heights, Franklin Park, Evanston, Schaumburg, Forest Park, Roselle, Northbrook, Mount Prospect, and Niles.  For those accidents that happened in Chicago, the neighborhoods in which these bicycle accidents have happened include:

  • Gold Coast
  • Lawndale
  • Englewood
  • Logan Square
  • South Loop
  • West Humboldt Park
  • Lake View
  • McKinley Park
  • Bridgeport
  • Albany Park
  • Douglas Park
  • Lincoln Park
  • Portage Park

As seen in these posts, many of the bicycle accidents have resulted in the bicyclist sustaining serious injuries, and many of the accidents have resulted in the death of the bicyclist.

Popular Bicycling Routes In Cook County

Due to its size, population, and many streets and paths, Cook County has many streets and paths that are popular to bicyclists.  Many people, particularly in the downtown Chicago area, use the streets for riding to work.

Sheridan Road continues to be one street that remains popular among bicyclists.  As well, another relatively nearby street – Green Bay Road – remains popular among bicyclists.

Among paths, two popular paths include the Lakefront bike path (also called the Lakefront Trail) as well as the North Branch Trail.

Reasons For Cook County Bicycling Accidents

Bicycling accidents happen in Cook County for various reasons.  Bicycling has become more popular both as a recreational activity as well as a means for transportation, such as commuting to work.  With this increase in the use of bicycles, there is an increased likelihood of bicycle accidents.

In a general sense, when a bicycling accident happens, the fault of the accident is either attributed to another road user (such as a motorist) or another third party, or is the fault of the bicyclist.  An accident investigation is sometimes conducted to determine the causes of a bicycle accident, and these investigation results can be used to determine who was at fault for the accident, which is important as far as legal ramifications and the potential for filing a personal injury (or in the case of a fatal accident, a wrongful death) lawsuit.

Types Of Bicycling Accidents

For those accidents that are the fault of the bicyclist, there are numerous potential origins.  Common reasons that people crash while riding their bicycle when it is their fault include:

  • Loss of control of the bicycle
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices, including stop lights and stop signs
  • Bicycle rider error, which can include any number of errors
  • Riding too fast given the conditions (which often leads to a loss of control)
  • Poor bike handling skills (which often leads to a loss of control)
  • Poorly maintained bicycles that can lead to mechanical problems
  • When the rider collides with another bicycle
  • When the rider collides with a pedestrian
  • Dooring accidents” (more likely to occur in urban areas) which are the fault of the bicyclist

The crashes that result from the above-listed reasons can cause serious injury, and in some cases, can lead to the death of the bicycle rider.

Accidents that are the fault of the motorist (or another third party) can also happen for various reasons.  The injuries that occur when a vehicle collides with a bike are often severe, as bicycles fail to provide the type of structural impact protection that an enclosed vehicle, such as a car, provides to its occupants.

Common reasons that bike riders crash, when it is the fault of another party, include:

car-bike collisions:

  • Motorists that “fail to see bicycles” and hit them.  This often happens as the driver makes a left-hand turn immediately in front of the oncoming bicycle.  Some people refer to this as a “left cross” accident.
  • Motorists that cross into the opposing lane, and strike an oncoming bike rider.
  • Motorists that pass a bicyclist “too closely,” thereby striking the bicyclist.
  • Motorists that strike a bicyclist because they are driving while “distracted.”  This distracted driving is often due to “texting” or other type of mobile device usage.
  • Drivers that fail to stop in accordance with traffic control devices, such as stop signs and stop lights, and hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that are driving while intoxicated on alcohol (DUI) and hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that are driving while impaired on drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine or heroin) or chemical fumes (e.g. “huffing”) and strike a bicyclist.
  • When a vehicle crosses into a designated “bike lane” and strikes a bicyclist in that lane.

other types of collisions:

  • Accidents that happen when a bicyclist collides with another bicyclist.
  • When a pedestrian walks into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, causing a collision.
  • Dooring accidents” which are the fault of the motorist.

Another type of hazard to bicyclists is that of road hazards.  These road hazards can take many forms.  One of the most common types of road hazards are potholes and other road deformities.  Potholes can present a significant potential risk to bicycle riders, as they can (depending on their size and other attributes) cause bicycle instability and a potential crash when they are hit by a bicycle.

Other road hazards include sewer grates.  In the past, there have been accidents regarding bicyclists who have been thrown from their bicycles after their front wheel got stuck in a sewer grate that was parallel to the roadway.  While most, if not all, of this type of accident has been eliminated through municipalities’ use of updated sewer grate designs, this is one example of infrastructure that can cause a bicycle accident.

There are various other types of defective or damaged infrastructure that poses a risk to bicyclists.  For instance, one such hazard is discussed in the March 20, 2012 Chicago Tribune article titled “Suit:  Grooves in River North Bridge caused bicyclist to fall.”  As further discussed in the article, this personal injury lawsuit against the City of Chicago involved a bicycle accident in which the bridge’s grooved metal decking was allegedly unsafe for bicycle travel, which caused a bicycle accident that injured the bicyclist.

Bicycle Accident Injuries

The types of potential bicycling accident injuries is extensive, and largely depends upon the specific nature of the bike crash.  Many bicycle accident injuries are relatively minor.  These injuries would include such things as scrapes and other minor abrasions, low-level “road rash,” and minor bruises.

Accident injuries that are more significant – including those that can cause permanent impairments – include the following:

  • broken collarbone
  • broken arms
  • broken legs
  • broken wrists
  • neck injuries
  • spinal cord injuries
  • back injuries
  • face trauma
  • various types of internal bleeding
  • chest trauma, often including broken ribs
  • head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries

Some of these injuries can prove to be fatal, especially if they are not properly and promptly treated.  There are many reasons as to why a bicycle rider who has been injured in an accident should undergo a thorough medical exam.

Should You Be Hurt In A Bicycle Accident

Should you be injured in a Cook County bicycle accident – or an accident elsewhere in Illinois– there are various recommended steps you should take in order to protect your legal rights, as well as maximize your potential for injury compensation.

A few of these steps include:

  • Stop after the accident.
  • Report the bicycle accident.
  • Get relevant information concerning the accident –  this includes obtaining information as to the other party’s (for instance, the driver of the car that struck you) name, address, phone number, date of birth, driver’s license number, insurance company name, car make and model, and license plate number.  Furthermore, if there are any witnesses to the accident, collect their names and full contact information.  Also – only if it safe to do so – take pictures of the entire accident scene, including the damaged bicycle and all vehicles that were involved in the bicycle accident.
  • Get a medical exam (as mentioned above.)
  • Speak with a personal injury attorney.

While it may be inconvenient to speak with a personal injury lawyer very soon after the accident, there are many reasons why such a timely discussion can be very important.  The personal injury lawyer will be able to give you advice that will protect your legal rights and maximize your potential injury compensation.

In the case of a fatal bicycle accident, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate if the bicycle crash was caused by the negligence (or, in some cases, intentional actions) of another party.

Should you be injured in an accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the accident and its legal issues.  This consultation is free, is confidential in nature, and is provided without further obligation.

Elman Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for over 25 years, and during this time has handled over 10,000 personal injury cases.  Through this extensive experience we have built a reputation for our court trial performance.  As seen in many cases, this successful trial experience may well increase your potential accident injury compensation.

Elman Law Group handles personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means that you will not be charged legal fees unless and until there is a monetary recovery.