Friday, March 23, 2012

Chicago Bicyclist Doored In Edgewater, Suffers Broken Arm

On his way home from work on March 15th, a 31 year old Chicago bicyclist was seriously injured on North Clark Street in Edgewater when a motorist, parked along the right side of the road, opened his door into the cyclist's path.  The door opened suddenly, when the rider was only about four feet away.  Despite attempting to swerve to his left the bicyclist could not avoid striking the door, impact with which fractured his right arm near the wrist.  The rider was transported via ambulance to Weiss Memorial Hospital following the crash.  He is expected to remain in a cast for several weeks.

My law firm is representing the bicyclist.

Illinois Legislature Working To Clarify Law That Allows Bicyclists To Proceed Through Red Lights

At the beginning of 2012, a law went into effect in Illinois that allows bicyclists outside of Chicago to go straight through red lights where there are no motor vehicles present and where the light fails to detect their presence.  The law presently requires cyclists to wait "a reasonable period of time" before proceeding.  This vague directive has apparently caused some consternation.  In response, the Illinois legislature is setting about to fix the wording of the statute so as to require bicyclists to wait at least two minutes before proceeding through the intersection.  The measure has passed through the Illinois Senate and is being considered by the House.  The bill is designated SB 2528.

Bike Like A Butterfly

The "unseeing eye" defense, though long ago discredited by Illinois courts, nevertheless crops up again and again in bicycle cases.  I've noted before that "I didn't see you" is an indictment of negligence, rather than a defense.  However, from the bicyclist's perspective, the goal is to not get hit in the first place.  Toward that end a British company has developed a possible solution, The Bike Butterfly.  Check it out, and happy Friday;-)

I totally stole this from Urban Velo.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bicycling Chicago Social Worker Sidelined By Unseeing Motorist

A 46 year old Chicago social worker was seriously injured when she was struck by a motorist that apparently did not see her at the intersection of North Beacon Street and West Wilson Avenue on the morning of February 25th.  The bicyclist was riding southbound on Beacon prior to the crash.  At the intersection with Wilson she stopped at a stop sign before proceeding.  Wilson and Beacon is a four way stop intersection. Just before making it completely across Wilson Avenue, the rear of her bicycle was struck by a 26 year old motorist driving  a 2005 Toyota Corolla.  The impact spun her around and deposited her onto the road.  An ambulance arrived at the scene and transported her to Weiss Memorial Hospital.

The impact of the crash and the twisting that her body experienced, caused severe tearing to the cyclist's left anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus.  She anticipates undergoing surgery to replace and repair the damaged parts of her left knee in the coming weeks.  A lengthy course of physical therapy will be required afterwards.

The injury is particularly painful to the bicyclist.  Her job as a social worker requires her to travel to peoples'  homes to provide them with mental healthcare, trips she usually made on her bicycle.  For now, and for a while to come her injury leaves her unable to do so.

My law firm is representing the bicyclist.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Resolution Reached In Case Of Chicago Bicycle Commuter Hit From Behind

Though Chicago police officers failed to ticket her, a driver who struck and injured a bicyclist on his way to work in November has agreed to settle the civil case against her for a substantial sum.  On November 11th at 8:40 a.m., the motorist hit the 31 year old architect from behind as they both turned left from West Augusta Boulevard onto northbound North Elston Avenue.  The cyclist was on his way to work at the time.  The impact hurled him onto the hood of the car then to the ground where he suffered a fractured right wrist.  Though the Illinois Traffic Crash Report stated that the responding police officer felt the driver failed to yield the right of way and performed an improper turn, he did not ticket her.  My law firm represents the bicyclist.  He has recovered fully from his injuries.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Volvo To Offer Softer Landings For Bicyclists, Pedestrians

The automaker Volvo has created airbags for the outsides of their vehicles.  You read that right.  Now you may crash through a Chevy, but you'll bounce off a Volvo.  My first response to this new technology was offense.  I cannot quite put my finger on why.  Perhaps, there is something about this that seems to say, Well screw it; let's just forget about trying not to hit bicyclists and pedestrians.  Let's just make sure drivers that do don't have to deal with the hassle of getting their windshields replaced afterwards.  Perhaps though that is a bit cynical of me.  Volvo makes decent cars.  I suppose there isn't much they can do about the car only infrastructure that dominates.  From their end all they can do is make their vehicles safe for drivers and the people that get in their way.

Friday, March 9, 2012

After A Crash Your Bicycle May Have A Lot To Say

After a wreck your body may hurt, your head may spin, your adrenaline may flow like a torrent.  Your bike may be a tangled mess too, but that may be the least of your concerns.  Perfectly understandable.  However, you should do whatever possible to preserve your bicycle following a crash.  The damage it sustains may reveal a lot about how the crash happened should you need to bring a claim or lawsuit against the at fault driver.

Time and again I have heard drivers and their insurers claim that a bicyclist "just crashed head-on into the side of my car/truck/whatever."  Time and again a look at the damage to the bike undermines the driver's story and supports the bicyclist's recollection of events.  In one case, an alleged witness to a crash claimed that a bicyclist ran head-on into the side of a vehicle, "T-boning" it.  Were that the case, one would reasonably expect the front of the bike, the wheel and fork, to be damaged.  However, only the rear wheel sustained damage, undermining the witness's recollection.  In another case, another driver claimed that another cyclist smashed head-on into the side of his car.  Yet, assessment of the bike's damage revealed its steel fork to be bent not backwards but to the side, supporting the bicyclist's account that the front of the car crashed into the side of her front wheel.  Having a witness that supports the defendant driver's version of events obviously presents a challenge to the cyclist's claim.  However, the bike itself may have a lot to say too, its damage providing the kind of hard, physical evidence that can persuade a jury that the cyclist is telling the truth.

Following a crash a bicyclist will generally have two opportunities to make sure that the bike is preserved.  The first time will be at the scene.  When the police arrive make sure to tell them to save the bike if you are to be transported to the hospital.  As soon as you are well enough to do so, pick up the bike from the police station.  At that point you will either bring the bike home or take it to a bike shop.  In either event, photograph it.  Ideally, you should avoid having the bike repaired, at least until you have retained an attorney who can inspect and photograph the bike himself/herself.  But if you really need the bike fixed quickly at least make sure you tell the bike shop to save all damaged parts that they replace.  Make sure the shop gives the parts back to you when you pick up your bike.  Keep them safe, they may help you prove your case later.

Your body will be -- and should be -- your first concern after a crash.  But keeping your wits about you and remembering to preserve a record of how your bike looked after a crash will help in the long run if a claim or lawsuit must be brought.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gore Ride On Brake Cables and Housings Recalled

"Smooth, easy braking" is not so much with the combination of Gore Ride On brake cables and housings and Campagnolo braking systems.  W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today announced the recall of the Gore Ride On Low Friction System brake cables and Gore Ride On Professional System brake cables for road bikes.  When used with Campagnolo brake levels only the heads of the cables may detach from the levers, leaving the rider without a functioning brake.  Gore is aware of at least one incident of this occurring.  If you own this braking system contact Gore for a replacement kit.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Teenage Bicyclist Remains In Hospital After Being Trapped Under Car

The name of the teenage boy struck and seriously injured by a motorist in Darien late Sunday afternoon has been released.  Hunter Himes, 14, remains at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to DarienPatch.  Few details of his condition have been released, but he is described by several news outlets as having suffered "serious injuries."  On Wednesday, fellow students and parents attended a vigil at Lakeview Junior High in support of his recovery.  Hunter is an eighth grade student at the school.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the 39 year old that struck Hunter, Timothy Hagan, "Was at the intersection of Beller Drive and Lemont Road, waiting to make a right-hand turn onto Lemont Road and did not see the juvenile approaching in the crosswalk before he struck him with his car."  Hunter was trapped under the car after the collision.  According to WoodridgePatch, "The car had to be lifted with two high-pressure air bags to reach him. He was found unconscious and taken to the Level 1 Trauma Center at Advocate Good-Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove before being airlifted to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn."  The speed at which Mr. Hagan was traveling at the time he hit Hunter has not been reported.

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