Biking is an extremely healthy activity that is enjoyed by many Chicagoans. Whether it is riding along the miles of lakeshores or comminuting to work, bicycling is an affordable and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation. More than ever with the implementation of the bike sharing system, the Divvy program, bicycling has become an accessible and preferred means of transporting around the City. In fact, since 2000 the number of bicycle commuters in Chicago has increased by 150%!
Unfortunately, bicyclists are at an inherent disadvantage when involved in collisions with motor vehicles. In 2013, 743 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents. Another startling statistic is that among the bicyclists who are killed each year due to motor vehicle accidents – 75% die of head injuries.
According to the Center for Head Injury Services, 85% of head injuries in bicycle accidents can be prevented by wearing a helmet. For that reason alone, it is paramount that persons of all ages who ride bicycles wear a helmet. It is not worth the risk. One bicycle accident could change you and your family’s lives forever. If you are amount the lucky 25% who survivor a head injury, you are still faced lifelong medical treatment and rehabilitation and astronomical medical bills and may never fully recover. Statistic reveal that people who sustain a brain injury are 3 times as likely to sustain a second brain injury and those who sustain a second brain injury at 8 times as likely to sustain a third brain injury.
Illinois does not have a universal helmet law. In fact only a few states have enacted bicycle helmet. Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have a helmet law for bicyclist below a certain again (usually below 16). That leaves twenty-nine states that have no bicycle helmet law. However, just because helmets are not required by law that does not mean you should not wear one.
Like other motor vehicle accidents, victims of a bicycle accident can seek damages from insurance companies. If you were injured while riding a bike due to the negligence of a motor vehicle driver, you need to treat the accident just as if you were driving a car. First assess the scene and if anyone is hurt call for medical help immediately. Next, call the police and have a report generated of the of the facts of the accident. Take photos of the scene of the accident, your bike, the other vehicle involved and the parts of your body that show visible injuries. Makes sure to exchange insurance information with the driver that struck you and contact information of any person that was a witness to the accident.
The Chicago bicycle accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC have over forty-years of experience representing bicycle accident victims. If you were involved in a bike accident, call our office today and for NO CHARGE you can discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. They can advise you on your rights and how best to proceed with your case. Call our office today at (312) 422-0506.