A Chicago cyclist was riding along the right side of the road when a driver traveling in the same direction saw an open parking space along the curb. He swerved to grab it, turning directly into the bicyclist's path. Alert, the cyclist grabbed his brakes and avoided a terrible collision with the darting driver's car.
What should have been moment of personal victory for the biker turned into a calamity. To avoid impact the cyclist had to squeeze his brakes hard. The sudden stop pitched him over his handlebars and onto the hard tarmac which chewed up his face and fractured his arm. Police arrived at the scene only to add insult to his injuries, ticketing him for speeding.
The incident occurred before 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 13th along the 1800 block of North Clybourn Avenue. The 28 year old male bicyclist was riding southbound along the right side of road. The street was wet but it had stopped raining. An experienced city cyclist he was not riding fast. As he approached a 2007 Mazda also traveling south on Clybourn the vehicle suddenly darted into his path in an effort to capture a parking spot along the right curb. About a bike length away when the driver swerved into his path without signaling, the cyclist squeezed his brakes and flew forward into the street landing on his right arm and face. After finishing his parking maneuver the driver called 911.
Emergency medical personnel arrived quickly. The bicyclist was already in the ambulance when he saw the driver speaking with police. An officer then spoke with him and told him he had concluded that the crash was due to his failure to properly deploy his bike brakes, accusing him of "user error." He was ticketed for riding too fast, apparently based only upon the driver's description of events. At the hospital, he was diagnosed with a fractured radius and received sutures to his forehead.
The bicyclist has retained my law firm to represent him. We will fight the traffic citation as meritless. The cyclist was not riding too fast. If he was he would not have been able to avoid impact with the vehicle like he did. Also, if the driver intends to testify that he saw him riding fast, he may indict himself for swerving carelessly even though he was aware of the cyclist's presence. We will also pursue a personal injury case against the driver for failing to use his turn signal and for blindly swerving into the bicyclist's path.