A few years ago, a 53-year old Loveland Colorado bicyclist was critically injured in a collision with a car as she was navigating her way across the intersection of College Avenue and Conifer Street. She had successfully crossed the southbound lanes when she was hit by a northbound driver. The impact of the crash threw the bike rider onto the vehicle’s windshield, breaking the windshield and causing the roof to cave in. The car driver was uninjured, but the bike rider was unresponsive and rushed to the hospital. The northbound lanes of College were closed for approximately four hours while investigators did their work and the damaged car and bicycle were cleared from the roadway.
Catastrophic Bicycle Injuries
In one brief moment, the lives of both the bicycle rider and the driver were changed forever. The rider, if she lives, will no doubt have a long and difficult recovery. The driver, if found negligent, will be responsible for paying for the injured woman’s damages. Hopefully, the driver has adequate liability insurance coverage. Fault has not been determined in this case and the cause of the crash is under investigation. Unfortunately, this was only one of many accidents between Chicago cyclists and motorists that occur every year. Cases like this can be complicated and it is important to hire a competent bicycle accident lawyer to help you navigate the legal system.
Bicycle Injury Statistics
According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA), in 2019, approximately 45,000 people were seriously injured nationwide and 857 people were killed in crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles. Illinois was the site of 23 of those deaths making it the state with the fourteenth highest bicycle crash fatality rate in the nation.
According to the IDOT's (Illinois DOT) most recent report, which covers the year 2019, the majority of bicyclist fatalities in Illinois occurred as a result of crashes with motor vehicles.
More specifically, the report shows that 20 out of the 23 bicyclist fatalities in Illinois in 2019 occurred in crashes with motor vehicles. Of these 20 fatalities, 15 involved collisions with cars, 3 involved collisions with trucks, and 2 involved collisions with buses.
The remaining 3 bicyclist fatalities in Illinois in 2019 occurred in crashes that did not involve motor vehicles. The causes of these crashes were not specified in the IDOT report.
Most Common Causes of Vehicle - Bicycle Accidents
Even when bicyclists obey the law and ride to the side of the road, they are still at risk of being injured when motorists:
- Exit their car and open their door into the cyclist or the path of the cyclist. This is almost always the fault of the driver since the door is only to be opened when it is safe to do so. That means looking out for bicyclists.
- Make a right hand turn in front of the bike lane.
- Suddenly change lanes into the path of a bicyclist.
- Distracted driving, which is a major cause of all vehicular accidents.
Bicycle - Crash Statistics
Illinois is an attractive place for bicyclists. It provides every type of ride for the novice to the experienced riders. But, be careful out there. Illinois is the fifth most dangerous state for bicyclists.
In addition to fatalities, another 45,000 are injured every year. Because of the vulnerability of bicyclists, injuries are often very serious and to make sure you get the most for your injuries, it’s best to work with an experienced bicycle attorney.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has compiled statistics relevant to bicycle accidents.
- 88 percent of all bicyclist fatalities are male riders.
- 71 percent of fatal bicycle accidents occur in urban areas.
- 20 percent of fatal bicycle accidents occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Nearly 20 percent of killed bicyclists had a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit.
- Nearly one-third of all injuries to bicyclists are due to them being hit by cars.
- In 25 percent of all fatalities, the front of a vehicle hits the rear of the bicycle.
Common Types of Bicycle Injuries
Cyclists are vulnerable to serious injury when in a collision with a vehicle no matter how much protective gear they wear. They can be struck and thrown and tend to suffer far more serious injuries than do vehicle passengers in accidents between two vehicles. For example, more than 50 percent of all fatal injuries are to the head. When not fatal, the head injuries are life-threatening and life-altering. Statistically, helmets provide protection, but are not required to be worn under Illinois law. Broken bones of all types are common. Some injuries are so severe, the injured person’s life is changed and will never again be the same.
Crashes between motorists and bicyclists could be prevented if drivers would more carefully watch for bicyclists. Three top reasons for vehicle – car crashes include:
Doorings: When a vehicle occupant fails to check for a bicyclist before opening the car door to exit the vehicle causing the bicyclist to ram into the door.
Left-crosses: A bicyclist is hit by a vehicle that is making a left-hand turn.
Right-hook crash: A driver turns right without checking the side mirror to look for cyclists causing the two to crash into each other.
Proving Fault and Collecting Damages for Bicycling Injuries
Bicycle riders and vehicle drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road. When there is a crash between a bicycle rider and a motorist, the same rules of negligence apply that apply to any personal injury case. In order to prove the driver was at fault, the bicyclist must prove all the elements of negligence, the same as if the accident had been between two vehicles. When the proof shows the driver was negligent, and that the driver's negligence was the cause of the bicyclist’s injuries, the damages to which the bicyclist is entitled include, but are not limited to:
- All current and expected future medical expenses.
- All current and future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering.
- Costs of vocational and physician rehabilitation.
- Long term nursing care when necessary.
Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Scott Blumenshine is an attorney with extensive knowledge and experience of over 35 years in the field of personal injury law. One of his many areas of expertise revolves around cases related to bicycle accidents. Over the years, he has established himself as a skilled and proficient representative, who is committed to providing his clients with the best possible legal representation in the event of an injury while cycling.
What sets Blumenshine apart from his peers is his personal passion for cycling. Being an avid cyclist himself, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the various risks and challenges that cyclists face while on the road. This unique perspective enables him to comprehend the intricate details of such cases with utmost ease, and he leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that his clients receive the compensation that they rightfully deserve.
With his extensive knowledge and experience, Scott Blumenshine has earned a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy advocate for individuals who have suffered injuries in bicycle accidents. He is adept at negotiating with insurance companies and representing clients in court, and his unwavering commitment to securing his clients' rights makes him an invaluable asset for anyone seeking legal representation for bicycle accident cases. We understand the unique challenges and complexities that can arise in bicycle accident cases, and we are committed to providing you with the highest level of legal representation.
Contact the Blumenshine Law Group today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you with your case. Call or text (312)766-1000 or email [email protected].