Monday, July 15, 2013

Chicago Cyclist Hit, Injured By Minivan Driver In Protected Bike Lane

Protected bike lane at 18th and Wentworth in Chicago
A 36 year old male cyclist was struck by a minivan and seriously hurt while riding in one of Chicago's new, protected bicycle lanes.  The crash occurred on July 10th at around 8:50 a.m. The cyclist was riding his commuter bike eastbound in the 18th Street protected lane when the 23 year old driver of a Toyota minivan passed him in the main traffic lane then suddenly turned right in front of him at Wentworth Avenue.  The intersection is uncontrolled.  The cyclist could not avoid striking the front passenger side of the vehicle.

The crash sent the man hurling over the hood of the van and into the street where he landed on his hands and face.  The heavy impact fractured his right arm and wrist, and broke one his front teeth.  His arm remains in a cast.  Because the break affects his wrist joint he is expected to need extensive physical therapy.  He will also need a dental implant to replace his broken tooth.

Our law firm has been retained to represent the bicyclist in his claim against the driver.

This crash seems to be the result of simple inattention by the driver involved.  The bike lane at 18th and Wentworth is protected by thin plastic bollards which warn drivers of the presence of the bike facility, but do not obscure vision into the bike lane.  This particular lane is not protected by parked vehicles.  Also, the cyclist's route was not controlled by a stop sign or traffic light.  He did not anticipate a need to stop. 

13 comments:

  1. Perhaps you should litigate the City for producing foolish facilities that manufacture conflicts. Consider if the "protected" bike lane was instead a normal travel lane. The mini van driver would never have done that because the driver would have been in that rightmost lane.

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    1. I send my condolences to the bicyclist and his family.

      Drivers right-hook bicyclists all too often in Chicago, almost always on streets without protected bike lanes. Sounds like the problem here was a person driving without proper care.

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    2. My condolences also go to the family. Though answer two questions. 1.) If the motorist merged into the bike lane before the turn would they have been able to right hook the cyclist? Answer highly unlikely. 2.)If the cyclist left the bike lane and merged into the travel lane before the intersection would the cyclist have been vulnereable to a right hook.? Answer is no. Could either of these actions prevented the accident? Answer is yes.

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    3. Just because a driver has the opportunity to merge into the bike lane doesn't mean he or she will. I know because I was hit that way. In my case it wasn't an intersection either. I was in a standard bike lane passing a gas station entrance. The driver told me he was focused on making the green light and turning into the gas station.

      Whether or not there is bicycle-specific infrastructure, drivers need to adapt to bicycles. Period.

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  2. The "protected" bike lane provides no protection at all.

    It merely manufactures a turning conflict by placing straight through traffic to the right of traffic that is turning right. It's a recipe for a "right hook" collision.

    But hey, the bollards and green paint make the segregationists advocates feel good and that's all that really matters.

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  3. Yes litigate against the city. They have deeper pockets. Also the motorist was forced by the bollars to turn accros the bike lane rather than merge into it.

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  4. Drivers, pay fucking attention! Cyclists, ride more defensively! I always assume the car is going to hit me!

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  5. I have had MULTIPLE encounters right at that intersection, no crashes, usually with people pulling out from Wentworth west onto 18th, not looking for the cyclists heading east

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  6. SouthLoopCyclistJuly 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    That intersection is horrible! Drivers can't see past the fencing and often pull out into the bike lane to turn right/left from Wentworth to 18th. It's made worse because cyclists are gaining speed while heading down the bridge incline. I often leave the protected bike lane after crossing the bridge so that I can avoid these cars that are blocking my path. Something really needs to be done to address this situation.

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  7. I totally agree. i have to go through this intersection for my commute every day and im scared every time i have to do it. Ive had a dozen close calls there over the years. Either from people who cant see 18th from wentworth and block the lane or right turners onto Wentworth who dont look. i ride all over the city and this intersection is one of the most dangerous. something needs to be done already.

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    1. Pull into the lane of car traffic and wait in the que. That is the only way to survive!

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  8. I have to agree with Anon - though I just had a coworker who was hit by a car when he was crossing an intersection (in the lane) and a car tried to run a yellow light in front of him (making a left turn from on-coming lane). He's lucky in that he didn't have any head, neck, or spine trauma, but still...

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  9. Ho avuto incontri MULTIPLE proprio in quel punto di intersezione, non si blocca, di solito con le persone che tirano fuori da Wentworth ovest sulla 18 °, non cercando i ciclisti verso est.Pasang Iklan Gratis

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