Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bicyclist Killed in Wheeling, Illinois Leaving Wife, Two Children

A 43 year old man was killed in Wheeling, Illinois on Monday afternoon when he was struck by a truck as he rode his bicycle along Wolf Road.  The man, Alfonso Delgado Balderas, is survived by his wife and two children.  No witnesses have been identified by either the Chicago Breaking News Center or Journal Online.  However, the driver of the truck apparently recounted to police that Mr. Balderas was riding on the right side of Wolf just south of Messner Drive when he attempted to turn left.  The truck driver stated he could not avoid hitting him.

Police are still investigating.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Illinois Takes A Big Step Toward Reducing Dooring Incidents

An announcement is expected today that for the first time the State of Illinois will keep a record of bicycle dooring incidents, according to an article posted yesterday evening on The Chicago Tribune's website.  The change was ordered by Governor Pat Quinn and will take effect immediately.  Collection of data regarding the number of such incidents is to be facilitated by requiring all police departments in the state to record dooring incidents on traffic crash forms, according to the Trib.

Doorings in Chicago are frequent and often result in serious injury for the cyclist.  The collection of information about where it happens and how often it occurs is no mere academic exercise.  Addressing the issue -- with either infrastructure changes or law enforcement initiatives -- requires state and/or federal funding; money that cannot be acquired without data.  Therefore, this rule change is a big step toward reducing these dangerous incidents.

Much thanks must go to the Active Transportation Alliance, Steven Vance and the Chicago Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch for bringing this important issue to the forefront and advocating for change.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chicago's Intersection Camera Go To Guy

Attorneys handling bicycle crash cases should know that there is a human being at the Chicago Department of Transportation -- and a very pleasant one I'm told -- who is the go-to guy for red light camera footage.  As I described in December, video footage of a bicycle vs. motor vehicle intersection collision may be very helpful in pursuing a claim on the cyclist's behalf.  If the crash occurred within a camera covered intersection, contact Eric Green at CDOT.  His preferred method of communication is email:  His office is located at 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 1100, Chicago, Illinois 60602.  His phone number is 312.742.6379.

Mr. Green told our office that if there is a traffic law violation in a covered intersection, the footage is never destroyed.  However, if there is no violation, the footage is automatically erased after 72 hours.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chicago's Mayor-Elect Sees Protected Bicycle Lanes In City's Future

Protected bicycle lanes are in Chicago's future.  Or, so it would seem based upon the present discussion going on over at Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's blog.  His Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is considering ideas "to make Chicago’s transportation network safer, easier, and more convenient and fun."  Among those ideas apparently receiving serious consideration is protected lanes.  The Committee states, "A major reason people say they avoid biking is dangerous traffic. By building protected bike lanes – which are physically separated from motor vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes, and sidewalks – Chicago can make urban cycling safer."

The idea is to pilot a two mile long protected bike way along a major corridor.  They are seeking the public's suggestions regarding where it should be.  Click here to provide your input.  (Raise your hand if you think it should be Milwaukee Avenue.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bicyclists Are People (and Parents) Too

Some years ago signs could be found in and around road work sites encouraging drivers to slow down by reminding them that it wasn't just "road crews" that they could be placing in harm's way, but someone's mom or dad.  It was a good idea.  Signs like this would also offer a helpful reminder to drivers that a guy or gal on a bike isn't just a "bicyclist" but someone's loving parent:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Satirist P.J. O'Rourke Defends The Bicycle (Again)

Every 25 years or so conservative satirist (his real job title), P.J. O'Rourke, descends from Mount Wisdom to use his prodigious wit to save we wretched bicyclists.  He last awakened to rescue us in 1987, and now our guardian angel is back.   Last week, P.J. (if I may) wrote a satirical piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal defending bicyclists against the crude enemies of bike lanes, and bikes in general.  It was a gaudily clever essay in which he assumed the role of Neanderthal, mocking cartoonishly those of us who would blight the pristine landscape of the big city by riding our bikes rather than driving.  By using satire, rather than dry reason, P.J. makes the haters of bicycles appear obviously stupid in their opposition.  Bravo sir!

P.S.-P.J.:  I take seriously your concern that there are no statues of any national heroes on bicycles anywhere in the world.  Rest assured, however, there will be.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Electronic Solution To A Bicycle Litigation Problem

The most challenging aspect of handling bicycle crash cases is securing witness testimony that corroborates the cyclist victim's description of how the incident occurred.  Often no one but the parties involved actually saw how the crash happened.  In my experience, most bike crashes occur when a cyclist is out riding alone, rather than with a group so there is no one to backup his or her version of events.  However, there is at least one solution to this problem:  the wearable/bike mountable video camera.  With one of these things mounted on your helmet or handlebars a video record may be created to combat the defendant's version of what happened.  I know, pedaling around town with a video camera on your head seems a little (a lot?) dorky.  But these things are small, really small.  Some models are about the size of a modern, detachable bike headlight. Some models can be attached directly to your bike's handlebars.  Once you get where you are going and lock your bike up, simply detach the camera, throw it in your bag and take it with you.  If you are involved in a wreck with one of these cameras you will have preserved a valuable piece of evidence that may help you and your attorney latter.

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