Who Is Responsible?
Bicycles are a health-conscious way to travel – not to mention less expensive and more eco-friendly than motor vehicles. Still, cycling comes with certain risks, such as a potential accident with a motor vehicle. As the total number of cyclists has increased, unfortunately, so has the number of accidents and fatalities involving cyclists and motorists.
The law puts a number of responsibilities on the motorist. For instance, the motorist must yield to the bicyclist’s right of way, not follow bicyclists to closely, not park or drive in designated bike lanes, in addition to a number of others.
Bicycle accidents often result in severe injuries. The extent of these injuries can result in expensive medical bills, lost wages, physical impairment, and loss of a normal life.
Who Has the Right of Way in Illinois?
Busy streets and intersections can be very dangerous for cyclists and motorists alike. Accidents that involve cars and bikes – even at slow speeds – usually end in serious injuries. Even a near-collision can cause a bicyclist to fall to the pavement.
One common source of confusion is who has the “right of way.” If an accident happens, the liable party is usually the person who should have yielded.
According to Chicago law, cyclists have the right of way in most situations. Drivers not only must yield to a cyclist’s right of way, but they must also keep their vehicles at least 3 feet away from the cyclist. It is illegal for a vehicle to drive or remain parked in a legally protected bike lane.
If a driver violates these laws and causes an accident, then the bicyclist may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, loss of wages, ongoing physical therapy or reconstructive therapy, pain/suffering, and/or permanent disabilities.
How to Respond to a Bicycle Accident
In any accident involving a motor vehicle or bicycle, the top priority for everyone involved should be seeking medical care. It is also important to contact police right away.
Do not leave the scene of an accident before the police say it is ok – especially if you are the driver. This could lead to hit-and-run charges. If possible, you should exchange contact and insurance information with all parties involved. Be sure to ask witnesses for their contact details, as well. Their testimony may support your claim.
You should also record the details of all vehicles – both the cars and the bikes – such as the year, make, model and color. If possible, take pictures at the scene; these may be valuable evidence to support your claim throughout the process.
As a bicyclist, you should:
- Seek medical care
- Not admit to fault of the accident
- Take photographs of the injuries
- Keep records of doctor visits, time off work and other inactivity due to injuries
The Chicago bicycle injury lawyers from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates invite you for a free telephone or in person consultation to discuss your accident and any questions you may have. Most of our lawyers have more than 30 years of experience and we have an outstanding track record in helping our clients and creating a strong trust relationship, as you can see in our Success Records. Even if you do not wish to retain an attorney, we can set you on the right path for free. Call our office today at (800)-985-1819 to schedule an initial free consultation.