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Chicago May Outlaw Cell Phone Use while Bicycling

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were intrigued by an article in the Chicago Tribune earlier this month that claimed that using a cell phone while bicycling may soon become a ticketable offense. This proposed legislation would hopefully protect both bicyclists and motorists, and help to reduce the number of traffic accidents caused by distracted individuals.

The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee has proposed a city ordinance that would allow Chicago police officers to issue citations to cyclists who use their cell phone to either call or text while bicycling. Riders would be required to use a hands-free device, if they wanted to use their phone while riding their bike.

This new legislation comes in the wake of laws enacted banning automobile drivers from using cell phones while driving. Several states and municipalities – including the City of Chicago – have enacted ordinances preventing drivers from using phone to talk or text while driving, and this would streamline the laws to include cyclists who share the roadway. Because bicyclists have the same privilege and duty of care as motor vehicle operators in using the roadway, there is no reason that the laws shouldn’t apply equally.

As a result of thousands of fatal car accidents across the country resulting from drivers who were distracted by their cell phones, countrywide awareness has been raised about the problem of what has been termed ‘Distracted Driving.’ Driving while unfocused by a call or text is not only dangerous to the driver who is preoccupied, it’s unsafe for everyone else on the roadway, including other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Distracted bikers have the same propensity to cause collisions, and this law is aimed at keeping everyone safe. Consequently, a number of pro-cyclist advocacy groups have publicly championed the proposed law, stating that they are in favor of prohibiting behavior that is dangerous to cyclists and motorists alike.

As per the report by the Chicago Tribune, if the law is in fact enacted, the distracted cyclist’s first offense would result in a fine between $20 and $50, and subsequent offenses would result in greater fines. If a biker is found to have been liable for causing an accident while texting or talking without a hands-free device, the fine could potentially be as much as $500.

Nevertheless, whether the proposed legislation is passed or not, our Chicago personal injury attorneys want bicyclists to be aware of the dangers of using a cell phone while biking. The potential danger is enormous, and the cyclists risks injuring or killing him- or herself and others. No call or text is worth a person’s life, especially when safer options – such as hands-free devices, or better yet, pulling over to answer a call or text – are available.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have successfully handled nearly every type of motor vehicle negligence case and recovered millions of dollars in accident lawsuit verdicts and settlements for victims and their families. Our attorneys have both the experience and knowledge to handle even the most complex car accident lawsuits.

If you or someone you love have been injured in an automobile accident, contact an attorney to better understand your rights under the law.