It is no surprise to hear that bike accidents between vehicles and cyclists often result in the cyclist suffering serious personal injuries or death. In and around the Chicago area we have thousands of people each day taking to the streets on bikes to travel to and from work or other destinations and also for exercise or leisure. As a result of the high volume of bikes on our roads and streets, our attorneys frequently read or hear news of accidents involving cyclists. Unfortunately, this week was no exception.
According to an article by the NWI Times, and bicyclist from Bartlett was killed in a collision with a tanker truck while biking in Lansing. Illinois State Police said the bicyclist was traveling on the ramp to eastbound Interstate 80/94 when he was struck by the tanker. The bicyclist died at the scene of the accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stresses that by law, bicycles are vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. That is why it is so important that all users of the road, bicyclists and drivers of motor vehicles, are educated on the laws, respect one another on the road, employ safe and vigilant behavior, and abide by their legal duty to not cause injury to others. Bicycle accidents take too many lives and account for a significant number of deaths in traffic accidents. Unfortunately this number has been on the rise since 2003, also according to the NHTSA. In the year 2003, there were 42,884 fatalities overall from traffic crashes, and 629 of these were cyclist fatalities. In the year 2012 though, there were 33,561 fatalities overall from traffic crashes, and 726 of these were cyclist fatalities. Of the deaths in 2012, 69% of the cyclist deaths occurred in urban areas, and almost half occurred from 4 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. The location of these deaths may convey that motorists and cyclists are not sharing the road well and doing what they can to respect one another and keep each other safe.
The NHTSA also provides advice on how bicyclists can protect themselves from harm. All bicyclists need to wear a properly fitted helmet every time they ride. This is the most effective way to prevent a head injury during a bicycle crash. As you know, the head is a vital area of the body, and an injury to it can be fatal, which is why it is so important to protect your head from injury.
Additionally, cyclists must remember that since they are considered a vehicle by law, they must obey the same rules of the road as other vehicles by following traffic signs, signals, lane markings, and riding in the same direction as traffic. Bicyclists can also help increase their visibility to drivers by wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing. At night, bicyclists should also use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, as well having reflective tape on their equipment and clothing.
It is imperative that drivers of motor vehicles respect bicyclists and share the road. Drivers should allow at least three feet of clearance when passing a cyclist on the road. Also, always look for cyclists when opening your car door as to not hit a passing cyclist off of their bike. Always watch for a cyclist when pulling out of a parking space as well by utilizing your mirrors and looking behind you. Furthermore, be sure to yield to those on bicycles at intersections, and be vigilant of them when making turns.
Our attorneys care about the safety and well-being of cyclists on our roads. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, our attorneys understand that you may not know where to turn for help and answers. You are probably concerned about how and when you will pay off mounting medical bills while coping with lost wages from missing work, and wondering how you can hold any and all wrongdoers accountable for your injuries and suffering. If you call us for a free consultation, our attorneys can discuss your legal options with you. Contact us today, and we would be happy to speak with you.