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Bicycle Lanes And Accidents

Bicycle accidents often lead to serious injuries.  Due to the forces involved, the physical trauma to the bicyclist can lead to a broad range of injuries.  These injuries range both in type and severity.  Some of these injuries can be life-threatening in nature, and each year a number of bicyclists pass because of their injuries.

Various reasons for such crashes are discussed on the "Bicycle Accidents" page.  In an effort to make urban riding safer in Chicago, the city has installed - and plans to install - more bicycle lanes.  These lanes are intended to create a safe environment for riders so that bicycling can coexist with vehicular traffic on Chicago streets.

On September 22, 2021 the City of Chicago announced expansion of the bike lanes and other projects to enhance bicycling safety.  100 miles of new and improved bike lanes are planned over the next two years.  The announcement mentioned that since the coronavirus pandemic interest in bicycling has steadily increased, and that the number of people riding a bicycle to work has doubled.

While bicycle lanes can provide various safety benefits, there can be problematical aspects in the installation and usage of these lanes.

First, the amount of dedicated bicycle lanes remains limited.

Second, while bicycle lanes can be valuable, if a vehicle fully or partially parks in the lane it can present various safety hazards to the bicyclist.  Cars in bike lanes has been a problem for years.  The "Cars In Bike Lanes In Chicago" post discussed this issue in 2016.

One such accident occurred in Chicago in Lincoln Park near  Lincoln Avenue and Wisconsin Street.  In this September 2021 accident, a car stopped in a bike lane and the passenger opened the right passenger door.  A bicyclist riding in the bike lane hit the opened door and was thrown from his bike into a parked vehicle.  The bicyclist was seriously injured and has undergone multiple surgeries as part of the medical treatment.

As well, there are various other reasons that riders in bike lanes can be hit by vehicles.  If a vehicle suddenly veers into the bike lane, the rider can be hit.

There is also an issue with regard to the type of bike lanes that are installed.  Some bike lanes are simply marked by street markings (painted lines) and signs.  Others are "protected" by separating the bike lane with concrete curbs or barriers; or the installation of plastic poles.

Some recent proposals highlight the benefits of the bike lane being elevated (raised bike lanes) relative to the regular roadway.

For those who have been injured in a bicycle accident, there are various steps that should be taken as soon as possible.  These steps are particularly important for bicyclists who have been involved in accidents.  As mentioned above, bicycle accident injuries tend to be of a serious nature, and can require significant, if not substantial medical care.

First, it is important for the injured bicyclist to get medical attention as soon as possible.  This medical attention should include getting a thorough medical exam.  This medical exam serves various purposes.  Among the most important benefit is that it should identify all accident injuries.  There may be injuries - potentially serious in nature - that may not be immediately apparent to the injured person.  If all injuries are not promptly and properly treated, the lack of treatment may lead to a (more) adverse medical condition.  Depending upon the type and severity of injuries, a life-threatening situation may arise.

As well, legal issues should be addressed.  If the bicycle accident was not the fault of the rider (i.e. someone else's fault) the rider may be entitled to injury compensation.  There may be a pressing need for injury compensation especially if the injuries require a substantial amount of medical care.  
Depending upon various factors, this medical care can include emergency care, hospitalization, medications, testing, one or more surgeries, and rehabilitation.

Most people choose to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to pursue the highest amount of injury compensation.  This injury compensation can include payments for various reasons, including that for past, present and future medical bills.  As well, compensation may be available for lost wages; pain & suffering; loss of function; ambulance charges; and other issues.

In instances where a crash leads to a fatality, relevant parties can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the person who has died.

Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group, offers a free legal consultation for those who have been injured during an accident.  He can also answer questions regarding wrongful death lawsuits.  He can be reached at any time at (773) 392-8182 as well as via email at tony@elmanlaw.com  

Client Reviews
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I hired Tony after a car accident in 2014. This entire experience has been handled with the utmost care and attention. One of the most valuable aspects of the working relationship was Tony's ability to explain this complicated legal process and set realistic expectations. I'm very happy with my settlement! Karen Becker
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Mr. Elman represented my wife and me after a car accident. A driver ran a red light hitting us, causing us to collide with 2 other cars. The Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC was very professional, courteous, thorough, and caring. The net result was 2 very fair settlements for my wife and me. Thanks Tony!!! Walt and Paula
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I hired Anthony (Tony) Elman after the car I was riding in was hit by a driver that fell asleep, crossed the median and flipped over onto our car. That driver was underinsured. Tony was responsive and his follow-through exemplary, resulting in two settlements. Cindy