Every day, thousands of cyclists take to Lake County’s streets. Whether they are used to commute to work or enjoy a leisurely ride along Lake Michigan, bicycles are a popular and efficient form of transportation in Illinois. However, drivers pose a significant threat to bicyclists, especially when negligent behavior is involved. It’s not uncommon for distracted or reckless drivers to hit bicyclists and cause injury.
If you were involved in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent motorist in Lake County, you have every right to file a claim and hold that person accountable. Bicycle injuries can leave you struggling to pay for medical bills and can result in weeks of lost wages as you heal from your injuries.
Stein & Shulman, LLC represents bicycle accident victims across Lake County and Chicago. For decades we’ve fought on behalf of personal injury victims to help recover the compensation they deserve. Consult with us today to learn more.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can occur in many ways; however, some situations are more likely to result in collisions and injury. Whether you’re a motorist or a cyclist, it’s important to know the most common types of bicycle crashes and how to avoid them.
Bicycles are far smaller than any other vehicle on Illinois roads. Because of this, drivers in cars and trucks can often fail to see riders. Blind spots, inclement weather, and nighttime riding can all contribute to poor visibility, and intersections are notorious hotspots for crashes.
Rear-end accidents involving bicycles are quite common. When drivers become distracted or engage in speeding, cyclists in front of them can suffer devastating, sometimes fatal, injuries.
Speeds can vary widely between the flow of car traffic and a cyclist. Because Illinois has a “Share the Road” law, bicyclists may use regular traffic lanes as needed. Although this makes for efficient riding, it exposes cyclists to cars and other hazards on the road.
Divers in Illinois must always yield for bikes, but rear-end accidents can still occur and send riders flying off their bicycles and into oncoming traffic.
Some of the most well-known bicycle accidents involve “dooring.” This occurs whenever a driver or passenger opens a door in the path of a cyclist, causing the rider to collide with the open door.
Many bicycle lanes in Lake County feature adjacent parking zones for cars. Although there’s some separation between these two elements, in many cases, parked vehicles can still become potential hazards for cyclists and block their paths. When the timing is right, collisions can occur. The resulting injuries can be devastating.
Illinois Bicycle Laws
In Lake County and across Illinois, bicyclists and cars share the same rights and responsibilities. However, the state also has special traffic laws designed to promote safer bicycle riding conditions.
Share the Road Signs
Illinois traffic laws require cities and counties to feature prevalent “Share the Road” signs. These signs help remind motorists that bicyclists may be nearby and they should proceed cautiously when turning, yielding, and stopping.
Safe Passing Distance
Illinois rules of the road require all drivers (including motorcyclists) to allow at least three feet of space whenever passing a bicyclist. Although most of Lake County’s urban roadways allow for safe passing, special areas like rural highways and one-lane roads can make safe passing difficult. Drivers should be patient and wait for cyclists to move over as needed.
Intersection research shows it’s often safer when bicyclists roll through a stop sign (yield) rather than come to a complete stop. This maneuver, known as the “Idaho Stop,” is legal in Illinois and can be used by riders as needed. Drivers should always be alert and respect riders who choose to roll through an intersection when conditions are safe.
Liability in Illinois
In Illinois, the courts recognize the legal concept of negligence for personal injury cases. If someone’s negligent actions result in a bicycle injury, they may be liable for damages, including hospital bills and lost wages.
Some examples of negligence in bicycle accidents include:
In bicycle crash cases, proving liability can often be complex. Still, a seasoned attorney can prepare strong evidence like police reports, witness statements, and even surveillance footage to hold the responsible party accountable.
Connect with a Lake County Bicycle Accident Lawyer
At Stein & Shulman, LLC, we’re dedicated to holding negligent drivers accountable. For over 15 years, we’ve helped victims and their loved ones recover damages from traffic accidents. If a reckless or negligent driver has injured you, contact us today to learn more about filing a claim.