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Auto / Cyclist Accidents

There’s been a movement in recent years toward encouraging people to use bicycles as a means of transportation to save on gas and promote good health. As new streets are built or old ones are repaved, bike lanes often are included in the designs these days. That means more bicycles sharing the roads with cars — which also means more possibility for cars and bicycles to collide.

A report published in 2013 by the Chicago Department of Transportation said the city now has 170 miles of on-street bike facilities and off-street bike paths and 13,000 bike racks, leading to a “bike renaissance” in the city with 150 percent more Chicagoans biking to work between 2000 and 2010.

The safety of bicyclists remains a concern, however. Between 2005 and 2010 there were almost 9,000 crashes in Chicago involving bicyclists that resulted in injuries — and 32 bicyclist fatalities. And as a percentage of all crashes, bicycle crashes were on the rise, from 6.7 percent in 2005 to 9.8 percent in 2010, the report said.

More than half of those crashes happened at intersections, and the most injury crashes happened during rush hour. Fatalities tended to happen more at night between 8 p.m. and midnight.

Common Injuries in Cyclist Accidents

When a car, van or truck hits a person on a bicycle, the resulting injuries can be very serious. Compared to the person in the vehicle, a bicyclist has little protection. Helmets can help reduce the severity of injuries, but even a cyclist wearing the proper safety gear can be seriously hurt.

bicycle accidentCommon injuries include:

  • Head injuries or concussions
  • Spinal cord injuries or paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains or strains
  • Dislocated joints or limbs
  • Herniated disc in the neck or back
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Cuts, scrapes and bruises

Common Causes of Bicycle Crashes

The Chicago Department of Transportation found that the most common ways that automobiles and bicycles collide are through either the driver failing to yield or the bicyclist riding against traffic. Chicago motorists are supposed to yield to bicycles when turning left at an intersection, and aren’t supposed to turn right in front of a bike. Disregarding control devices such as stop signs or red lights also is a common way that drivers cause crashes with bikes.

Sometimes the bicyclist may bear some of the fault for the accident if he or she was riding against traffic or crossing against a signal. Bicyclists generally are required to obey the same rules of the road as cars or other motor vehicles, such as obeying traffic lights and stop signs.

Another way bicyclists can be injured in a crash is through “dooring” — when a person inside a parked car opens the door and the cyclist hits the door. Usually the cyclist has no opportunity to stop before slamming into the door. A cyclist often may fly off of the bike and hit the pavement, which can cause serious injury. It’s illegal in Chicago and the state of Illinois to open a car door in the path of a bicyclist.

Recovering Damages

If you were hit by a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle, you may be able to have your medical bills and other costs paid by the driver’s insurance policy. Among the types of costs you can recover are the expense of treatment and therapy for your injuries and lost wages if you lost time at work. You also may be able to get compensation for future medical care you’ll need because of the injuries and future lost wages.

As the person making the claim, it’s your responsibility to prove your case. An experienced bicycle accident attorney can help you gather the evidence to support your claim, negotiate with insurance companies, and file a lawsuit if necessary. Contact us at for a free legal case evaluation of your accident.