Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Specialized Expands Recall Of Carbon Forks

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today the expanded recall of carbon fiber forks manufactured by Specialized.  Today's announcement added about 460 units to over 14,000 recalled in September, 2011.  The recall pertains to "Advanced Group" carbon forks.  "The brake component housed within the bicycle's carbon fork can disengage from the fork and allow the brake assembly to contact the wheel spoke while rotating," said the Commission.  Certainly, having a piece of the front brake fall into a moving front wheel could cause serious injury, although none have yet been reported.

Click here to read the full recall announcement.

If you have a bike with this fork you should contact a Specialized dealer for a replacement fork.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nitto Handlebars Recalled

Handlebars made by well-regarded Japanese parts manufacturer Nitto have been recalled.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall after reports that the aluminum handlebars with model number B259AA may break during use.  These handlebars are particularly popular among fixed gear and single speed riders.  There are two reports of breakage resulting in at least one injury.  Users of the handlebars should contact Euro Asia Imports to receive a free replacement.

Chicago Bicyclist In Good Condition After Being Shot

A Chicago bicyclist is reportedly in good condition after being shot in the leg and buttocks, according to The Chicago Tribune.  The incident occurred at 12:20 a.m. this morning near the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Pulaski Road in the Avondale neighborhood.  The bicyclist is a 22 year old male.

Critical Mass: Bicyclists' Friend!?

Alex Weaver, a reporter at Medill Reports Chicago, wrote a reasonably balanced article about Critical Mass in which he interviewed yours truly.  Read the complete article here.

As I told Mr. Weaver, I have mixed feelings about Critical Mass.  Its spirit and purpose is good.  Sometimes the implementation is not so much.  Here's is the rest of what I said in the interview:
"I have not ridden Critical Mass myself, for no reason other than I just haven't been able to find the time.  Critical Mass is good and bad.  The message of, "Hey, we are here," is good.  Motorists need to get used to seeing bikes on the road.  When they do that should help reduce the number of collisions.  On the other hand, sometimes the way Critical Mass is carried out may be counter productive to bicycling.  I shed no tears for drivers who feel inconvenienced by people on bikes.  Drivers often don't realize that a person on a bike is one less car in their way.  Also, Illinois law is quite clear that cyclists are permitted users of the streets.  However, Critical Mass is sometimes carried out in a way that seems to goad drivers into confrontation.  That's bad.  Illinois requires cars and bikes to share the road.  Motorists often don't get that.  But Critical Mass is not sharing either.  It is bikes taking over the streets, in a sort of "in your face" way.  Chicago police seem to back off most of the time and permit Critical Mass -- from what I've heard and read -- showing considerable restraint."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bicycle Video Should Be Required Viewing For All Illinoisans

Below is a very good, and fairly comprehensive video produced by the cities of Champaign and Urbana about bicycle safety and the law.  It is not slick, but chock full of real world demonstrations of how bicyclists and motorist should deal with each other, with bicycle specific infrastructure and with old-timey, not-bike-friendly road infrastructure.  The central message in the video, Champaign-Urbana Sharing the Road, is that, "Predictability is the key to bicycle safety."  I like that the video presents bicycling not merely as a recreational activity, but that people ride for all sorts of reasons, and should be encouraged to do so.  It shows and explains that people ride to shop, commute to the office, get to school, as well as for pure pleasure.  It encourages cyclists to use the whole road when appropriate and reminds drivers that bicyclists are not only permitted to do so, but should "take the lane" when it is the safest means to traverse an area.  This video should be required viewing for all Illinois residents.  How about making people watch it every time they renew their driver's licenses?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Chicago Cop Found Guilty In Killing Of 13 Year Old Bicyclist

A Chicago cop has been found guilty of reckless homicide in the death of a 13 year old bicyclist, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  After deliberating for nine hours a jury found Richard Bolling guilty in the death of Trenton Booker who he struck with his car as the boy rode his bicycle near 81st and Ashland in May, 2009.  He faces up to 15 years in jail.  In addition to the reckless homicide charge, the off-duty officer was found guilty of aggravated DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.  He had denied being intoxicated and that he knew he had struck the boy.  Prosecutors had claimed that police officers responding to the scene gave Bolling preferential treatment.

Giant Bicycle Fork Problem Elicits Recall

Once again, bicycles with fork problems are being recalled.  Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of 2012 Giant Defy Advanced and Avail Advanced bikes.  Reportedly the forks can crack, posing a fall hazard to riders, though no incidents of injuries have been reported.  If you own one of these bikes contact a Giant dealer for a free inspection and replacement of the fork.

Click here to read the full press release.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicago Bicycle Commuter Suffers Wrist Fracture After Hit From Behind

On a sunny and pleasant November morning, a 31 year old Chicago architect was riding his bright orange vintage Schwin Varsity to his office when he was struck from behind by a motorist who failed to notice him.  On November 11, 2011 at 8:40 a.m. the bicyclist was turning left from eastbound West Augusta Boulevard onto northbound North Elston Avenue when the driver of a 2009 Toyota Matrix performing the same maneuver hit him from behind.  The cyclist was thrown onto the hood of the car then to the ground.  The force of the impact with either the car or the ground shattered his right scaphoid, one of the bones of the wrist.

The Illinois Traffic Crash Report states that the responding Chicago Police Officer felt that the causes of the crash were the driver's failure to yield the right of way and her performance of an improper turn.  For some reason, however, the driver did not receive a traffic citation.

The bicyclist continues to receive medical care.  After seven weeks in a hard arm cast, he continues to wear a wrist brace.  His work as an architect, which requires drawing, has been affected.  My law firm is representing the bicyclist.

Friday, January 13, 2012

When Taxis Attack

In August and September, 2011 a 25 year old female graduate student was struck by two taxi cabs in Chicago from the same company.  Different drivers were involved in the incidents.  In the August incident, the bicyclist was riding southbound on North Clark Street at the intersection with West Ontario.  She passed through the intersection with a green light at around 12:20 p.m.  At the same time a taxi owned by American United turned left onto southbound Clark Street from westbound Ontario, running the light.  The driver struck the bicyclist when she reached the southern most crosswalk at the intersection.  After the collision the driver allegedly attempted to flee, but a nearby female witness began beating the cab with her purse insisting that the driver stop.  He did.

The bicyclist was treated at nearby Northwestern Memorial Hospital for a back injury and numerous scraps and bruises.

By the end of September the woman's condition had improved and she was back on her bicycle.  At around 10:15 a.m. on September 29th she was again riding her bike southbound on Clark, this time just south of Division Street.  She was on her way to deliver a completed school assignment.  At the same time a taxi driver with American United came up behind her and became impatient.  The driver attempted to pass her on the left crossing the center lane of traffic into northbound Clark.  When he did he passed so close that his passenger side view mirror hooked the cyclist's backpack and dragged her hard to the ground.  The incident re injured the cyclist's back.  She continues to work toward recovery more than three months following these incidents.

My law firm is representing the bicyclist against the cab company.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recording Taken Of Chicago Cop Accused Of Killing 13 Year Old Bicyclist Played For Jury

A recording of the Chicago police officer accused of hitting and killing a 13 year old bicyclist was played for jurors yesterday revealing some of his early thoughts after striking the boy with his car.  Apparently recorded after his arrest by fellow officers they seem to reveal concern for the damage to his car and the fate of some uneaten hamburgers that remained in his vehicle, according to an account by the Chicago Tribune.  The recordings also suggest that responding police officers may have failed to abide by ordinary procedures after the arrest of the allegedly intoxicated officer.

Click here to read more.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Trial Of Chicago Cop Accused Of Killing 13 Year Old Bicyclist Starts This Week

Trial is scheduled to get underway this week against a Chicago police officer charged with aggravated DUI and reckless homicide arising from the death of a 13 year old who was riding his bicycle at 81st Street and Ashland Avenue in May, 2009.  The boy, Trenton Booker, was riding with a friend when Richard Bolling, who was off-duty at the time, allegedly struck him with his car then kept going, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Witnesses estimated that Bolling had been traveling at about 60 mph in a 30 mph zone.  The impact threw the young boy into the air and under a parked car.

It is alleged that when his fellow officers caught up with him there was a less than vigorous effort to gather evidence.  Allegedly, he was not given a Breathalyzer until 4 1/2 hours after the crash after pressure was placed by police Internal Affairs.  At that time he registered 0.079 percent, just under the legal limit, according to the Trib.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Recall Announced Of Bicycle Helmets Marketed For Children

Due to a risk of head injury, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced the recall of "Little Tricky" and "Sector 9" bicycle helmets.  The helmets, made in China and imported by Triple Eight Distribution, Inc., are marketed for use by children.  They were sold nationwide from August 2006 through November 2011.  According to a news release from the Commission, "Product testing demonstrated that these helmets do not comply with CPSC safety standards for impact resistance."  A child wearing one of these helmets could sustain a serious injury in a fall or crash.

Consumers should not permit children to wear these helmets and should contact Triple Eight for a full refund.

Click here to view the complete press release.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Worker's Mistake At The Lake Injures Chicago Bicyclist

A 40 year old Chicago man suffered a separated shoulder when he collided with an SUV while riding along the lake front bicycle path on November 15th.  The collision occurred at around 11:15 a.m. near the 1600 block of North Lake Shore Drive where the bike path is intersected by West LaSalle Drive.  When the southbound bicyclist, an ex-Marine, approached the short crossing, a Meade Electric truck was positioned in front of him in the middle of the crossing.  According the company's website, Meade maintains traffic lights for the City of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Transportation.  None of Meade's workers were positioned to direct or instruct southbound cyclists.  There were no safety cones, flags or signage posted directing users of the bicycle path as to how to navigate around the stopped vehicle.  The bicyclist slowed then attempted to pass in front of the truck, which was pointed east toward the lake.  Unbeknownst to him, however, a Meade employee positioned on the other side of the International 4300 had waived a motorist operating a 2007 Ford Explorer into the area from the adjacent off ramp of North Lake Shore Drive.  West LaSalle Drive at that location serves as an entry point for North Avenue Beach's parking lot.  With the truck blocking his sight of the off ramp, the bicyclist was unaware what was happening.  When he rounded the truck the SUV suddenly appeared.  The bicyclist struck the driver's side of the vehicle, spearing it with his helmeted head and his shoulder.  He was taken from the scene by a City of Chicago ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital nearby.


My law firm is representing the bicyclist who was diagnosed with a separated shoulder and related injuries.  He has undergone physical therapy and is recovering.

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