Chicago Tribune released a saddening article detailing the death of a 4-year old boy after he fell off his bicycle and was fatally struck by a semi-trailer truck. The report states the boy was riding his new two-wheeler down his driveway and onto East Oakton Street in the northwest suburbs near Des Plaines when he fell. His aunt told reporters, “It just happened really fast. I think his pants were stuck to the bike, and he couldn’t get back up.” He was hit by the rear axle of the semi and was declared dead at the scene after suffering from multiple blunt force injuries. The boy’s mother, who had been pushing a stroller alongside of him, rushed to her son after the collision. The driver of the truck and his passenger also stopped and attempted to help. According to a spokeswoman for the Cook County sheriff’s police, the truck driver was not ticketed.
Our wrongful death attorneys also learned that a 41-year old man from Champaign was killed when the bicycle he was riding swerved into the path of a pickup truck. Illinois State Police told Herald Review he was riding north alongside U.S. 45 near Arcola, just south of Douglass County Road, when a 28-year old pickup truck driver moved to the left to pass him. As he passed, the bicyclist appeared to lose control and “began riding/falling to the left into the northbound lane,” according to state police. The pickup truck struck the bicycle and threw the bicyclist into the highway’s northbound lane. He was pronounced dead at the scene, while the pickup truck driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.
Bicycling is a popular pastime for many families and children, especially during the summer and autumn when the weather is nice. While the activity is generally safe, many Illinois accidents unfortunately involve bicyclists. Semi trucks, tractor-trailers, and pickup trucks are vehicles that are commonly involved in bicycle collisions because of their large weight, height, and number of blind spots present, in combination with extreme vulnerability of the bicyclist. Oftentimes, driver negligence is at play if motorists fail to yield to bicyclists, do not give them the space they need while riding on roadways, do not follow the rules of the road, or are distracted while driving. Other times, accidents can be caused when the bicyclist loses control and falls into the pathway of another vehicle, as seen in the above reports.
After reading these reports, we thought it would be helpful to remind our readers of the steps they can take to avoid serious injury when biking or sharing the road with bicyclists. Being sure your bike fits you properly in relation to your height, weight, and age should come first. Also check that all equipment, including tires, brakes, chains, and seat connection, is working correctly before riding. Wearing a helmet and reflective clothing is advised in order to allow motorists to see you while riding on public roadways. Bicyclists should stay alert, ride so drivers and other cyclists can see you, and ride with the flow of traffic. Motorists should always be sure to pass bicyclists at a safe distance, drive with extra caution through intersections, and turn and yield properly. In general, everyone should always know and follow the rules of the road.
While not every accident or injury can be prevented, remembering these safety tips will help to avoid accidents and prevent serious injury to both motorists and bicyclists. Although the reports do not confirm whether the bicyclists’ families planned to seek legal action against the truck drivers, when bicyclists do suffer serious injuries as a result of careless or negligent motorists, they have the right to take action. Through the legal representation of one of our lawyers, the victims’ families may be able to file a claim in civil court against the motorist. If you have been seriously injured, or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident, you can contact our team of lawyers to learn about what rights may be available to you.