She could not believe that she just rode her bike into the side of a taxi. But as she regained consciousness laying in the street, that is what the men standing over her said she did.
On the evening of April 27, 2013, a 26 year old woman was riding her bike in the dedicated bicycle lane near 1165 North Milwaukee Avenue when she crashed. It was about 9:45 p.m. The weather was perfect. Her bike was equipped with operating front and rear lights, and she wore a bright white cycling helmet. She also had an orange messenger bag slung over her shoulder. She was a very experienced city cyclist and understood well how to ride safely at night. The woman had eaten dinner before heading out to meet up with some friends. She had not ingested any alcohol. As she rode northwest on Milwaukee there was a taxi cab to her left and a row of parallel parked cars to her right. With frightening suddenness she found herself waking from unconsciousness on the hard pavement. Her head hurt. Her right leg was cut deeply and pain pulsed through her knee. The upper portion of her right arm was painful as well. An ambulance arrived at the scene and rushed her to a nearby hospital.
The woman came to our firm seeking representation. She believed that some part of the taxi entered the bike lane, causing her to crash into the side of the vehicle. We had seen cab drivers cause crashes in that way before. Still, we needed to find some corroborating evidence. Unfortunately, there did not seem to be any video cameras in the area that could have recorded the crash. Perhaps whoever called 911 following the collision saw what happened. When we received a response to our Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the City's 911 log we saw that the call had some from the office of a nearby apartment building. We phoned the security office there and eventually tracked down the person, a security guard, who had called 911. Unfortunately, he did not see the crash. A dead end.
There was a single independent witness identified in the police report, a man whose car was parallel parked along the curb at the site of the crash, just to the right of the bike lane. He had apparently told police at the scene that the woman just, "lost control of her bike and she fell off and struck" the taxi. That did not make much sense. Why would an experienced cyclist suddenly lose control and crash for no apparent reason? We felt it likely that the cab driver pulled into the bike lane and caused the crash. We wrote to the cab company and informed it that we represented the bicyclist in a potential claim against its driver. What happened next was pretty typical; a call from the cab company's representative denying responsibility. But, not so typically, we were informed that the driver had a camera mounted on his dashboard which recorded video of the incident that supposedly vindicated him. We invited them to send us a copy, and to our surprise they did. It was awesome, providing us with the evidence we needed to pursue the person who really caused the crash, the "witness" identified by name in the police report. The video revealed that as our client pedaled in the bike lane, the driver of a silver/grey old Volvo opened his door into the cyclist as she passed, striking her right side and hurling her into the taxi cab to her left. Below is video of the incident from the cab driver's dash cam:
The Volvo was stopped in exactly the spot identified in the police report as the witness's vantage point. Also, some further investigation revealed that the witness identified in the report did in fact own a silver/grey Volvo matching the one seen in the video. The fact that our client had been doored from her right was consistent with the injuries she sustained to the right side of her body.
We had our man and we quickly filed a lawsuit against him. The case remains pending. The driver of the Volvo denies that he caused the crash.