Thursday, March 31, 2011

Allegedly Drunk Driver Derails Bicyclist's Peace Corps. Service

Today, we were retained to represent a bicyclist struck by an allegedly intoxicated motorist near the corner of West Diversey Avenue and North Major Avenue on July 5, 2010.  The incident occurred in the early evening, the sun setting but not completely down, as the cyclist rode in the shared bike lane on eastbound Diversey Avenue.  Just after passing North Major a westbound vehicle suddenly attempted to make a left turn into a liquor store parking lot, slamming into the biker.  The motor vehicle's front bumper smashed directly into the rider's left knee causing significant damage.  The driver then attempted to flee the scene, speeding the wrong way down a nearby one way street.  Police arrived quickly to the scene, however, and were able to apprehend him.

The bicyclist was transported via ambulance to Our Lady of the Resurrection Hospital for treatment.  He would be diagnosed with disruption of his left medial collateral ligament and various other injuries.  He would require months of difficult and painful physical therapy to heal.  These injuries came at an especially unfortuitous time, as he had recently completed the lengthy application process to join the Peace Corps.  Cruelly, the day after the incident, he received word that he had been accepted.  He was given an assignment and date of departure.  However, he was unable to complete the necessary medical evaluation.  As a result his entry into the Peace Corps. remains on hold.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicago Bicyclist Doored by Taxicab Discharging Passengers Into Bike Lane

On March 17th a 40 year old Chicago man was struck by a taxicab door while riding his bicycle southbound in the dedicate bike lane along the 2400 block of North Lincoln Avenue.  This was an unusual dooring incident in that the bicyclist was struck by the door from his left.  The taxi had stopped in the street to allow passengers to alight as the cyclist pedaled by.  As he passed along the vehicle's right side the door opened unexpectedly, crashing into the side of the bicycle vaulting the rider into a parked car.

The bicyclist was transported from the scene via ambulance to Illinois Masonic Medical Center where he was treated for a left hand fracture and sprained knee.  Though released from the hospital he is still undergoing medical treatment.  Our law firm has been hired to represent the cyclist.  By discharging his passengers into a dedicated bike lane, the cab driver violated the Municipal Code of Chicago which requires all drivers to avoid opening a vehicle door into moving bike traffic.  The Code also prohibits blocking any portion of a bike lane with any part of a vehicle.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Illinois Bicycling Advocates Consider Proposing Legislation To Keep Track of Dooring Incidents

Getting doored is almost always on the minds bicyclists who ride in trafficked streets.  Bicycling advocacy group, the Active Transportation Alliance believes that "more than half the people who bike on streets have been doored at least once."  In my law practice, I represent lots of cyclists seriously injured because a car door was flung open in their paths.  However, those in a position to address this problem have had trouble getting federal and state traffic safety funds to do so because no statewide statistics are kept documenting how often it really happens.  While the City of Chicago keeps track of dooring incidents, the Illinois Department of Transportation has declined to do so.  According to an article by Jon Hilkevitch at chicagobreakingnews.com, Active Trans "has asked IDOT to require law enforcement agencies to report dooring agencies," but has been rebuffed.  In response the group is considering seeking legislation that requires such record keeping the the Illinois General Assembly.  Good idea.

Friday, March 18, 2011

More Faulty Steering Tubes Lead to Recall

After receiving reports of four injuries, including a fractured wrist, Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Procycle Group, Inc. and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of several Rocky Mountain Bicycle models due to steering tube problems.  According to a Release from the Commission, the front fork steering tube of the effected models can break, "posing a fall injury hazard."  Owners of the bikes are advised to stop using them and to contact Procycle with the serial number to arrange to receive a free replacement fork.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Distracted Driver Kills One Bicyclist and Injures Another Near Champaign, Illinois

Update: March 9, 2011 - Some have questioned how a disabled man and his blind wife could ride a tandem bicycle.  Well, here is a photo of David and Cindy Combs doing just that quite well  several years ago:

                                           Courtesy Urbana-Champaign Cycling Ventures
Update:  2:24 p.m. -   A friend of Mr. and Mrs. Combs has shared some additional details about them.  They were no ordinary couple.  "David is disabled; Cindy was blind. Their bike was their freedom," said SiouxGeonz, who apparently met Cindy Combs through a singing group.  Despite their disabilities they were passionate about cycling and rode just about everywhere.  "David is disabled and doesn't drive.  I remember one day when he told me that Cindy had screamed on their way to the ride... because she was so glad to be going on a ride with us," SiouxGeonz wrote in a comment made on this blog.  (Click on the Comment link below the main post to read more.)

Main Post - A 53 year old woman was killed and her husband, 51, was seriously injured when they were struck from behind by a motorist as they rode their tandem bicycle in rural Champaign County yesterday.  Cindy C. Combs and David Combs were riding south on County Road E., just north of 1800 North near Bondville, at around 4:30 p.m. when they were hit from behind by a driver who "may have been distracted by reading a map," according to the Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette.  The driver was identified as 31 year old Errol T. Maul, 31, of nearby Tolono, IL.

Mrs. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene.  Her husband is in critical condition at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Justice For Chicago Bicyclist Doored Along Milwaukee Avenue

Our law firm has obtained a substantial settlement for a bicyclist doored along North Milwaukee Avenue on August 10, 2010.   The incident occurred at around 10:00 a.m. while our client was commuting to work in Milwaukee Avenue's southbound dedicated bike lane.  When he reached the 1300 block of Milwaukee, near the intersection with North Paulina Street, a motorist, whose Ford Windstar was stopped along the right hand curb, suddenly opened his door without looking for traffic in the bike lane.  The bicyclist tried to avoid a collision but his right hand struck the door causing him to crash and sustain a knuckle fracture along with numerous bumps and bruises.

Successful resolution of this matter required educating the motorist's out-of-state insurer, Geico, regarding both Illinois law and Chicago ordinance in place to protect bicyclists from dooring incidents.  Illinois statute 735 ILCS 5/11-1407 and Chicago Municipal Code 9-80-035 prohibit persons from opening vehicle doors unless it is reasonably safe to do so.

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