Bicycling is popular in Cook County, as well as the greater Chicago area, as many people seek to enjoy the exercise and other benefits cycling provides. As well, an increasing number of people are using their bicycles to ride to work.
While there have been efforts to increase the safety of cycling, such as the addition of bike lanes in highly-trafficked areas within Chicago and elsewhere, bicyclists are subject to a variety of risks.
Illinois Bicycle Accident Statistics
As seen on page 20 of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) “2012 Illinois Crash Facts And Statistics,” in the year 2012 there were 3453 total “pedalcycle,” crashes, of which 3,233 involved injuries and 29 involved fatalities.
A Chicago Tribune article of October 27, 2014, titled “Illinois fifth in nation for bicycle deaths” also provides statistics and commentary regarding fatal Illinois bicycle accidents. An excerpt:
In its annual Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety report, the Governors Highway Safety Association found that Illinois rounded out the five states with highest rates of bicyclist fatalities.
The number of bicyclist deaths is rising, the report said. The total increased 16 percent from 2010 to 2012. The association said data from 2012 is the most recent available.
The article also points out that a high percentage (more than two-thirds) of fatal bicycle accidents involve bicyclists who are not wearing helmets.
Other notable facets are, as seen in the underlying report on page 7:
From 1975 to 2012, the percentage of fatally injured bicyclists younger than 20 decreased from 79 percent of the total to 16 percent, while the percentage of adults 20 and older increased from 21 percent to 84 percent.
Bicyclist deaths are also increasingly likely to occur in urban areas, with the proportion increasing from 50 percent in 1975 to 69 percent in 2012. In 2012, 37 percent of the deaths occurred at intersections.
Reasons For Bicycling Accidents
There are many reasons for these numerous bicycle accidents. Many Chicago-area streets are busy with traffic, which can increase the risk posed to bicyclists. As well, motorists can be impaired by alcohol or drugs, which can present great risks to other rode users such as bicyclists. Other issues may impair motorists’ driving ability, such as distracted driving, which can be caused by a number of factors.
Another common accident involving cyclists, especially in Chicago and other urban areas, are dooring accidents.
Risks to bicyclists are also presented by various road hazards. Whereas cars and trucks can absorb the impact of hitting potholes without losing control of the vehicle, the same pothole, if hit by a bicyclist, may severely impact the bicycle’s stability. Instability and loss of control often leads to crashes and injuries.
Other road hazards, such as roadway deformities and other factors such as gravel on the roadway, may (severely) impact a bicyclist’s ability to control the bicycle.
While some bicycling accident injuries are minor, such as scrapes, “road rash” and bruises, many accidents can be serious. Bike accidents can entail many types of injuries, including bone fractures, back injuries, brain injuries, and paralysis. Many serious bicycle accidents end in the death of the bicyclist.
Should You Be Injured In An Illinois Bicycle Accident
Should you be injured in a Chicago area bicycle accident or an accident elsewhere in Illinois, there are a variety of steps you should take to both protect your health and your legal rights, including your rights to monetary recovery. It is very important that you get a thorough medical check after a bicycle accident, even if you think you are not injured. There are many reasons for this, including that many injuries – including some that are potentially life-threatening – may not be apparent after the accident.
From a legal perspective, it is likely highly beneficial that you talk to an Illinois personal injury lawyer soon after an accident. There are various steps you should take to protect your legal rights and otherwise help you to maximize your potential compensation for your accident injuries, as well as attaining compensation for other harm that may have occurred because of the accident.
Should you be injured in an accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Attorney at the Elman Joseph Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the accident and its legal issues. This consultation is free, is confidential in nature, and does not come with further obligation.
As well, another issue to consider is that Elman Joseph 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.
Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for over 20 years. During this time we built a reputation for our court trial capabilities. These trial attorney capabilities may well prove valuable if an attractive settlement is not offered.