More and more people are discovering the freedom that comes with cycling as a primary mode of transportation. Not only is it a great way to incorporate exercise into a normal day, but cycling can also allow for freedom of movement that isn’t available to motorized vehicles as riders squeeze through gridlock to get city destinations faster than possible on public transportation or in cars.
Because of this, many communities in and around Chicago have added bike lanes and bike paths to accommodate the growing number of commuter and recreational cyclists. Unfortunately, many motorists are not accustomed to looking out for cyclists and don’t reliably adjust their driving styles to accommodate cyclists.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that involved a vehicle, you need to know what your legal rights and options. You must get legal advice from a lawyer who is experienced in representing victims of bicycle accidents in Chicago. An experienced lawyer can tell you if you have a valid case for an injury claim or lawsuit, or if you should initiate such a claim.
It’s Not Your Fault
It doesn’t matter how cautious and diligent cyclists are, distracted drivers, reckless drivers, and drivers who simply are ignorant as to how they’re supposed to drive near and around cyclists can create situations that put cyclists in danger. Cyclists, whose bodies are not protected against the devastating impact of a collision, often suffer much greater injuries than the drivers who hit them. Common injuries that occur as a result of accidents between cyclists and drivers include everything from cuts, bruises, sprains, and bone fractures to the loss of limbs, head and brain injuries, internal injuries, and spinal cord damage.
Bicycle trips account for only about one percent of all trips in the U.S., yet bicyclists still face a higher risk of crash injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles.
Bicycle Accident Facts
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 8,000 bicycle fatalities, and more than 700,000 bicycle injuries related to traffic accidents occurred in the last decade. In 2015 alone there were over 467,000 bicycle-related injuries and 1,000 bicyclists died. Emergency rooms across the nation treat an average of 500,000 people involved in bicycle accidents every year, and the majority of bicycle accident fatalities happen in urban areas. In 18% of the bicycle accidents that involved a car, negligent drivers failed to see the cyclist. In 22% of car-related bicycle accidents, a driver or passenger opened a car door into an oncoming cyclist.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, the six most common causes of injury to cyclists are:
- · 30% Hit by a Car
- · 17% Fell from Bike
- · 13% Poorly Maintained Roads
- · 13% Bicyclist Error
- · 7% Collision with a Fixed Object
Cyclists and drivers collide for many reasons: driver negligence, drivers who fail to see or grant space to cyclists, inattentive or distracted drivers, excessive traffic, drivers whose vision is hampered by sun glare or by objects that obstruct their view, drivers who speed or disobey other traffic laws, and drunk drivers. Bicycle accidents can also occur because of defective bicycles or bicycle parts and because of poor road conditions or defective signage or traffic control devices.
The highest rate of bicycle deaths is among adults between 50 and 59 years old and men involved in bicycle accidents die six times more often than women and are injured four times more often. Because of the concentration of traffic, most bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas. When cyclists are involved in accidents with drivers, the most common reasons for cyclist deaths are:
- · Drivers Who are Distracted
- · Drivers Who are Speeding
- · Drivers Who Fail to Yield
- · Drivers Who Do Not Leave Space When Passing
- · Drivers Who Cut Off a Cyclist
- · Drivers Who Open a Door in a Cyclist’s Path
- · Aggressive Drivers
- · Defective Bicycles
We’re Here to Help
A skilled and experienced lawyer can help you identify all the parties who may be responsible for contributing to your injuries in a bicycle accident. The Culotta Bravo Law Group is experienced in handling bicycle accident cases and can help you file an injury claim after a bicycle accident in or around the Chicago area.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is very important that you get competent, experienced legal advice as soon as possible, as there may be statutes of limitations that can limit the window of time you have in which to bring legal action. Getting the help of a skilled attorney can be vital in helping you to make informed decisions. Let us help you. Contact the Culotta Bravo Law Group today at 630.898.7800.