In a busy city like Chicago, it’s not always practical to drive to every destination. Many choose to travel by bike. About 1.3. percent of people in Chicago bike to work. But many of these people have to compete for space in the streets with cars and buses. When someone isn’t paying attention or is driving dangerously, bicyclists are the ones who end up getting hurt.
It’s important to have a dependable bicycle accident attorney because accidents can often involve multiple parties that make determining fault a difficult task. The Chicago bicycle accident attorneys at the Krzak Rundio Law Group are experienced and ready to help you with your case. You can potentially recover for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses and more.
Chicago Bicycle Accident Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collected 2015 Traffic Safety Facts looking at bicycle accidents and fatalities. They define a traffic crash as an incident that involves one or more motor vehicles on public roadways.
- 2015 had 818 bicyclist fatalities from motor vehicle traffic crashes and about 45,000 injuries.
- 70 percent of bicyclist fatalities occurred in urban areas.
- Most accidents happened between 6 and 9 p.m.
- 61 percent of bicyclist fatalities at non-intersections.
- Illinois had 26 bicyclist fatalities and Chicago had 7.
Chicago took place in case study directed by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The case study called, “The Road Diet,” focused on certain urban areas where crashes are more likely to occur because there’s a higher traffic volume. The road diet switches up how the traffic flows. They remove vehicle lanes and make space specifically for bicyclists and pedestrians. The main goal is to increase safety and quality of the roadways for all users.
The roads in the case study were:
- 55th Street, which they experimented with parking separated bicycle lanes.
- Franklin Boulevard, where they added more bicycle connectivity.
- Wabash Avenue, which had more road capacity.
After these solutions were implemented, the results were positive. Overall, cars reduced their tendency to speed through these areas and bicyclists had their own lanes so they weren’t competing with traffic. This shows that cars and bikes can safely share the road if everyone follows the rules. Not every area can change the way traffic flows, but what can change is driving safety behaviors. When drivers are aggressive or negligent, they can cause harm to others and themselves.
Common Bicycle Accident Causes and Injuries
Many drivers may get annoyed when they have to share a lane with a bicyclist. While bicyclists have the same rights as drivers by law, some drivers may believe that they have more of a right to the road than the bicyclist. This can lead to aggressive forms of driving to avoid being stuck behind a bicyclist, or not yielding to bicyclists when they’re turning. Drivers need to leave about three feet of clearance when sharing the road with a bicyclist.
- Aggressive Driving. When a driver is frustrated, they may choose to speed or tailgate a bicyclist. In severe cases, they could try to drive too close to the bicyclist to intimidate them or try and run them off the road.
- Distracted Driving. Many drivers could be negligent and cause an accident with a bicyclist because they’re not paying attention to the road. One of the biggest distractions is the cell phone. When they give in to the impulse and check social media or text, the driver has one hand on the wheel and none of their focus is on the road. Fiddling with the radio or trying to eat and drive simultaneously also reduce their control of the vehicle.
A driver’s negligent actions could have dire consequences for the bicyclist next to them. They have next to nothing protecting them in a crash so any accident could cause severe injuries or a fatality.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Soft Tissue Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Friction Burns
Burns from friction is a more common injury with bicycle accidents and usually need medical treatment to prevent infection. Friction burns can cause scarring and nerve damage, which could limit your feeling and mobility.
What Should Your Bicycle Accident Claim Include?
Your bicycle accident lawyer will be able to help you with your claim. There are certain steps you can take to ensure that your claim is valid and shows how the accident hurt you. In your claim you should do the following:
- Establish Driver Negligence. For your claim you need to prove that the driver’s negligence caused the crash. One of our bicycle accident attorneys will investigate the case and find out exactly what the driver did to cause the accident.
- Provide Evidence of the Accident. If you are able to photograph the scene of the accident, you should take as many photographs as you can. Include your bicycle and the vehicle that hit you. You could also document the injuries that you’ve sustained. Any eyewitnesses who are willing to speak up can help your claim so make sure to get names and contact information.
- Show How the Accident Affected You. Once you’ve established negligence and the crash, now you need to prove how it negatively affected you. Get copies of medical documents explaining your injuries. You should also compile a list of medical expenses from hospitalization, tests ordered, and medication that the doctor prescribed after the accident.
After an accident, it’s vital to get to the doctor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible. The shock of an accident could mask your symptoms and some injuries may not become apparent until a few days after the crash. A doctor will be able to identify the injuries and start treating you. Waiting could make your injuries worse, require a longer recovery time, and this may prevent you from getting full compensation for your injuries.
Why Should You Hire a Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Getting legal assistance after a bicycle accident will help you recover damages for what you’ve gone through. Skilled lawyers will investigate the accident, determine fault, and use the perspectives and knowledge of expert witnesses for your case. In addition to getting compensation for your accident, you may also make aggressive drivers think twice about speeding or tailgating a bicyclist and prevent incidents like this from happening again.
No one should have to go through an accident alone. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact the Krzak Rundio Law Group today at (312)735-1111. You will be paired with a Chicago bicycle accident lawyer who can discuss your case in a free consultation. We’re always ready to help the citizens of Chicago and make our city safer for everyone.