The Chicago Tribune reported that the latest Chicago bicycle collision fatality occurred roughly a month ago on Chicago’s North Side. The deceased, an attorney, was on his way to work around 9 a.m. when a driver opened his car door on Wells Street just north of Oak. The bicyclist swerved to avoid being hit by the door, and sadly was caught under the wheels of a passing semi truck, killing him.
The bicyclist was an experienced rider, who rode to work daily in all types of weather. The driver who opened his door was merely cited for violating an ordinance intended to protect bicyclists. This accident highlights the major problem that Chicago faces in terms of bicycle safety. The mayor has attempted to ameliorate this problem with plans of adding 100 miles of protected bicycle lanes. Protected bicycle lanes differ from standard lanes in that they physically separate the lanes with flexposts, raised medians, or parking. These protected lanes will help reducing “dooring” or bicyclists being injured by car doors, which are one of the most dangerous and unpredictable perils of bicycle riding in Chicago. Unfortunately it is the most common cause of bicycle accidents in our city.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, last year, 337 dooring crashes occurred in Chicago and 117 have already been reported through June of this year. Bicycle advocates argue that to decrease dooring accidents, Chicago needs more protected bicycle lanes and wider lanes for bikers. Additionally, motorists need to be aware of bicyclists and need to learn that dooring is entirely preventable by merely being aware of your surroundings. Further, bicyclists and motorists alike must be aware of the laws surrounding bicycles.
Our Chicago attorneys understand how perilous biking in our city can be, and we work hard to provide representation to those wrongly injured by dooring or other bicycle accident related injuries. We also understand how life changing a bicycle accident can be. Often, victims are faced with steep medical bills and may lose their ability to work or earn income. Personal injury lawsuits help victim right these wrongs by compensating them for the harms caused. They also draw public attention to safety issues such as dooring, and thereby may help to decrease the occurrence of these mistakes. If you or someone you love has been affected by a bicycle accident, please contact our offices to find out your legal options.