A briefcase icon

free case review

All of our consultations are 100% FREE & confidential.

Bicycle Accidents

Hopping on a bicycle is something that most people first do as a child, but it is an activity that many people continue enjoying well into old age. There are many who only go for a leisurely ride while others rely on their bicycles for daily transportation. Historically, Chicago has enjoyed the reputation of being bike friendly and the number of bicyclists on Chicago’s streets has increased significantly in the past decade. Although the city is working on creating better and safer biking infrastructure, Chicago can still be a very dangerous place for bicyclists when they share the road with motor vehicles. In fact, Illinois ranks fifth nationwide for most bicycle accident fatalities and the number of bicyclist fatalities are on the rise.

Bicycle accidents often result in serious injuries because of the difference in size and weight of vehicles. The consequences can be devastating and life-altering in some circumstances.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

There are an infinite number of ways that a bicycle accident could occur, but statistically speaking most accidents happen for similar reasons. Finding out exactly the cause of accidents can be difficult, but common contributors include:

  1. Actions by Motorists. Approximately 40 percent of bicycle accident in Chicago are caused because of motorist actions. This includes failing to yield to bicycles, making improper turns, and disregarding control devices, such as running a red light. Many times, motorists simply do not see bicyclists who are much smaller and less expected on the road.
  2. Actions by Bicyclists. Cyclists also commit errors while on the road that frequently lead to accidents, including riding against traffic, crossing against traffic signals, and using unsafe speeds.
  3. Car Doors Opening. Many cyclists are injured in dooring crashes. These occur when cyclists are riding in the legal zone along the street and are hit by the opening doors of stationary vehicles.
  4. Alcohol/Drugs. Drinking and bicycling can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. According to Chicago’s 2012 study of bicycle accidents, 14.8 percent of fatal bicycle accidents involved cyclists had measurable alcohol in their system.

While these accidents may happen anywhere, the most dangerous areas for bicycles are intersections where cyclists can easily be unnoticed by turning cars.

What To Do After a Bicycle/Car Collision

If a cyclist is involved in an accident with a car they should always take the proper measures in the immediate aftermath. This includes:

  1. Reporting the accident. Call the police and wait for them to arrive on the scene. Make sure the report is accurate and identifies the at-fault driver. Have the officer take a statement from you as well as the driver.
  2. Do not negotiate with the at-fault driver. Many times drivers will admit fault when speaking to the cyclist and then later deny it once they have thought about the possible ramifications. Take their information down and be weary of them giving you inaccurate information.
  3. Document the accident scene. Just as with a vehicle accident, it is important to properly investigate the scene, take photos of damages, and document any pertinent information.
  4. Seek medical attention. Even if you do not think you are seriously hurt, it is essential to have a medical evaluation. Understanding the full extent of your injuries is the only way to properly assess how much compensation you should receive.
  5. Consult with an attorney before speaking with the insurance company. Insurance companies frequently try to build a case that the accident was caused by the negligence of the cyclist. To prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you, it is best to have an attorney on your side before attempting any settlement negotiations.

Legal Issues Pertaining to Bicycle Accidents

When a cyclist is in an accident, whether it is with a vehicle or a solo act, there is almost some form of negligence involved. The crash may be the fault of the driver, regardless of whether there was a collision, the cyclist, both the driver and the cyclist, or even the local government for poorly maintaining roads.

For accidents involving a negligent driver, the injured cyclist has the right to seek compensation for their injuries as well as damages to their bicycle. Most often the cyclist will have to discuss a settlement with the driver and the insurance company after agreeing that the driver was negligent. If there is a dispute regarding the negligence, the issue can be decided in court. Typically, it is best for cyclists to consult with an attorney regarding their accident unless the injuries sustained were very minor.

Motorcycle Accidents

get started on your claim

let our injury lawyers focus on fighting the insurance company so that you can focus on getting better.