Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pro Bicyclists Reflect On Vulnerability Riding The Open Road

Below is an impressively produced video in which several professional cyclists reflect on the vulnerability of riding on the road.  The video was created by People For Bikes.  A few of the cyclists tell some harrowing tales of run-ins with motorists.  However, the overall message is positive.  It offers hope regarding the growth of bicycling in the United States and expresses in a personal way the benefits and joys of bicycling despite the dangers.  It does two things especially well:  First, it introduces the viewer to some very experienced bicyclists, some of whom have been in serious crashes with motor vehicles, who share personal lessons learned from sharing the road with cars.  Secondly, it offers balance.  The central message is that cooperation between bicyclists and drivers is what is needed to reduce collisions.  It refreshingly declines to promote an us versus them mentality, reminding us that many bicyclists are drivers too.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recalled Bicycle Brakes May Be An Expensive Failure

Seen by some as an attempt to reinvent the bicycle road brake, eecycleworks' eebrake is a sexy and expensive road bike aftermarket add on.  Now, however, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has ordered the recall of these American made brakes.  The basis of the recall is that the bridge of the brakes may crack and fail posing a threat to the rider, according to a press release from the Commission.  The recall applies to some 400 units among which there have been two reported instances in which the bridge cracked.  Injuries resulted from at least one such instance.

Owners of these brakes are advised to stop using them and contact eecycleworks for a free bridge replacement.  The eecycleworks website contains a detailed instruction manual describing how to replace the bridge.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Driver Strikes Bicyclist In West Woodlawn Causing "Serious" Injuries

Update:  4:20 p.m.:  The driver that struck and seriously injured a bicyclist in Woodlawn yesterday is presently being sought by police, according to The Chicago Tribune.  After striking the 23 year old male cyclist from behind the driver fled.  Witnesses reportedly gave chase and found the abandoned 2000 Dodge Intrepid with a shattered windshield.  The incident occurred as the bicyclist was riding westbound along the 600 block of East Marquette Road.  Neither the cyclist's name nor his current condition have been released.

A driver struck and seriously injured a bicyclist with his vehicle at around 11:15 a.m. yesterday in a residential section of the West Woodlawn neighborhood, according to The Chicago Tribune.  The crash occurred in the 600 block of East Marquette Road.  The age of the cyclist has not been reported but he is referred to as a "man."  His injuries are reported to be "serious," and he was taken by ambulance to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, according to the Tribune.

There is a bike lane in the vicinity of the crash, but it is unknown at present whether the cyclist was riding in it when he was struck.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Innovative Way To Reduce Intersection Collisions Between Cars and Bikes

There is no question that many of the car versus bicycle cases that my law firm handles arise from intersection collisions.  For the most part those crashes are caused by the driver simply not seeing the bicyclist for one reason or another.  Many times the driver has no good explanation for why he or she failed to see the cyclist right in their line of sight.  To be fair, some intersections in and around Chicago are just so busy and congested with cars, bikes, pedestrians, lights, signs and all sorts of other distractions that it is not surprising when a crash occurs.  In such intersections perhaps the solution is physical separation of motorists and bicyclists.  But how can that be accomplished?

Apparently, the Dutch have found a way.  It is called the "floating bicycle roundabout," and it looks awesome.  I know what you're going to say:  It looks epensive too.  It probably is, but of course people are needed to build such things, and these days jobs are in short supply.  Also, to the extent that these things can increase ridership, decrease traffic congestion and reduce the number of injuries and deaths among road users, I'm all for them.

The video below is courtesy of Momentum Magazine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Evanston Police Officer Strikes, Injures Female Bicyclist

A female bicyclist in her twenties was struck and injured by an Evanston police officer driving a police cruiser at a high rate of speed out of an alley near the intersection of Dempster Street and Hartrey Avenue, according to a witness.  The cyclist was riding westbound along the sidewalk on the north side of Dempter Street at the time of the collision.  The police officer was driving an Evanston Police Department SUV southbound out of an alley when he struck the cyclist.  A witness reports that the officer did not stop before reaching the sidewalk.

I have been told that numerous other Evanston police officers were on the scene following the crash.  The injured cyclist has been taken to Evanston Hospital via ambulance.  Her condition is unknown.

This incident has not been reported in the media.  A witness, who does not know the cyclist, contacted me directly to report the incident.

Monday, August 20, 2012

North Side Bicyclist Doored By Delivery Truck Driver

A 27 year old female bicyclist was doored by a driver who had parked his delivery truck along the curb in front of a 7-Eleven store at 2403 North Milwaukee Avenue on August 15th.  The bicyclist was riding her five speed vintage Schwinn home after spending a fun night working on her bike with a friend at West Town Bike's Women & Trans' Night.  The incident occurred just after 11 p.m. as she pedaled in the shared bicycle lane on Milwaukee Avenue.  She was wearing a helmet adorned with reflective tape.  Her bicycle was equipped with a light and reflectors.  The 7-Eleven is just north of West Fullerton Avenue's intersection with Milwaukee.  The woman rode through the intersection on a green light.  As she did she was aware of two cars traveling north on her left, and another cyclist behind her.  As she reached the north end of the intersection she saw the International delivery truck in front of her along the right curb.  As she passed the left side of the truck its driver's side door was suddenly flung open hitting her in the face.

The startling impact threw her to the ground.  Aware of the motor vehicles in close proximity she immediately scrambled out of the way narrowly avoiding being run down.  Seconds later, after getting out of the street, she felt the onrush of pain to her right arm, shoulder and the right side of her face.  She was taken via ambulance to Resurrection St. Mary's Medical Center nearby.

My law firm has been retained to represent the bicyclist.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bicyclist Struck By Left Turning SUV Whose Driver Claims Sun Obscured His Vision

Early on a warm summer morning, a 31 year old Chicago man was riding his dream bicycle, barely a week old, on his way to work when he was hit by a left turning SUV which did not see him.  At around 6:30 a.m. on August 7th the bicyclist was riding west bound on Howard Street on his way to work.  The driver was traveling east bound on the same road when they both entered the intersection with Dodge Avenue in Evanston.  The cyclist should have been easily seen by the driver as they both traveled through the middle of the intersection.  However, the driver of the 2004 Chevy Blazer claims that the morning sun partially blinded him as he began to turn left onto north bound Dodge.  When he did he crashed hard into the left side of the bicyclist.  The impact was so heavy that the rider's left hip left an imprint in the middle of the SUV's front grill.  Unable to walk following the crash, the cyclist was taken to Resurrection St. Francis Hospital later than morning.

The weight of the impact also demolished the man's brand new, custom built Rivendell bicycle, just over a week old.  The bike has been assessed as a total loss, it's steel frame and many of its components badly damaged.  It is estimated as a $4,000 loss.

Bicyclists in Illinois traveling through an intersection have the legal right of way over left turning vehicles.  Also, motorists whose vision is obscured for any reason are required to act with caution when turning so as to avoid colliding with a bike, pedestrian or another vehicle.

My law firm has been retained to represent the bicyclist.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chicago Bicyclist Hit By SUV Emerging From Alley To Receive Settlement

The driver of a SUV that emerged from a Chicago alley and struck a 42 year old male bicyclist has agreed to settle the claim against her for a substantial sum.  My law firm represents the injured bicyclist and negotiated the settlement.

The incident occurred at 4813 West Belle Plaine Avenue at around 8:45 p.m. on December 2, 2011.  On that evening, the bicyclist was riding his old mountain bike slowly on the sidewalk in the residential area on his way to a nearby Walgreens to pick up a video for family movie night.  His wife and two young daughters were waiting for his return at their nearby home.  As he typically did, the man rode with the family dog at his side.  When he got near Walgreens he exited the sidewalk and crossed into an alleyway.  Halfway across a pair of blazing headlights came rushing at him from his right.  The driver of a 2007 Volvo XC90, having just exited Walgreens' parking lot into the alley, was speeding through the alley and did not see the man on his bike with a dog in front of her.  A resident of a building adjacent to the alley saw the headlights speed by her window before hearing a loud, sickening thud.  Fearing that one of the children that live in her building may have been hit, she rushed outside.  She found the bicycle under the front grill of the Volvo and its rider down on the pavement.  The dog was excited but okay.

The bicyclist sustained a serious right shoulder injury requiring surgery.  He continues to undergo painful and exhausting physical therapy.  His future is uncertain.  The matter resolved for the full amount of all applicable insurance.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chicago Hosts The World's Best Bike Messengers

Bicycle messengers braved showers of rain and cheap beer in Chicago last weekend during the 2012 edition of the Cycle Messenger World Championships.  The contest was held outside Soldier Field and featured bike messengers from around the world competing to be the best.  My law firm was a proud sponsor.

Unlike a traditional bike race in which the idea is basically just go fast, the main event of the CMWC featured a course that required the type of urban cycling skillz (look, I used a "z") honed by pro bike messengers at work every day.  They were required to navigate a confusing, non-circular course, stop at various check points, lock-up so as to avoid having their race rigs swiped by a dude in a hot dog costume (happens daily on the mean streets), and pick-up and drop-off packages.  The overall winners of this madness were Craig Etheridge of Seattle on the men's side and Josephine Reitzel of Switzerland, first among the  women.  Click here to see the full list of race results.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Driver Of Semi Truck Kills Chicago Bicyclist Before Fleeing Scene

Update - 5:20 p.m. 08/07/2012:  Police are still looking for the driver of a semi truck that killed Evelyn Dean as she rode her bike in the Fuller Park neighborhood of Chicago yesterday, according to The Chicago Tribune.  The fatal collision occurred as the driver of the truck was attempting to enter Norfolk Southern's railroad facility around 2:00 p.m.  The driver fled the scene in the truck after the crash.  For some reason police have not yet released a description of the truck or the driver.

A Chicago bicyclist was killed by a semi tractor trailer this afternoon at the 300 block of West 47th Street, according to CLTV.  Few details have thus far been reported, but apparently the truck fled the scene after striking the woman who was dead at the scene.

Taxi Cab Causes Crash With Bicyclist On North Michigan Avenue

A 22 year old Chicago bicyclist was in a collision with a taxi while riding to work on North Michigan Avenue on July 31st.  The male cyclist struck the back of his head on the pavement and was taken via ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment.  The collision occurred at the intersection of North Michigan and East Wacker Drive.  The cyclist approached the intersection in the left side of the far right lane intending to avoid right turning traffic and to proceed straight north on Michigan.  With the traffic signal green he passed the left side of a yellow taxi cab attempting to turn right.  When he did, the cab driver unexpectedly jerked his vehicle left before beginning his right turn.   The bicyclist was unable to avoid striking the front driver's side quarter panel of the taxi.  The impact sent him hurdling over the front corner of the vehicle and onto the road where he struck his head.

My law firm has been retained to represent the bicyclist.

Friday, August 3, 2012

U.S. Postal Service Settles Case Brought By Bicyclist, UIC Student For Injuries

The United States Postal Service has agreed to settlement in a case brought against one of its drivers who ran over the foot of 22 year old female student at the University of Illinois Chicago last summer. The case was brought against the USPS pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act by my law firm.

At around 6:15 p.m. on July 13, 2011 the student was riding her bicycle home from the lake front westbound on West Taylor Street.  As she approached the intersection with the 90/94 westbound entrance ramp the postal semi truck passed her on the left.  When the heavy vehicle came to the on ramp the driver swung the truck to the right directly in front of the cyclist.  She squeezed her brakes, bringing her bike to a halt as quickly as she could.  As the large truck veered right, the bicyclist realized that the semi trailer was coming right at her. She tried to lean away, but it was moving too quickly.  A portion of the trailer hooked and grabbed the rear of her bicycle dragging it and her several feet around the corner.  The rear wheels of the truck's trailer ran over her bicycle's rear wheel and her left foot.

The cyclist was transported via ambulance to the University of Illinois Medical Center for care and treatment of a crush injury to her foot. Surprisingly, she suffered no fractures and after a period of convalescence made a full recovery.

We brought our claim against the federal agency alleging that the postal driver violated Chicago Municipal Ordinance 9-16-020(f) which prohibits a motorist from turning right in front of a bicyclist unless it is safe to do so.  We also alleged that the driver executed his right turn too sharply for conditions and failed to appreciate the turning radius of the semi tractor trailer he was operating.  Of course, we also asserted that failed to look out for the presence of bicyclists at or near the intersection.

Complicating the matter was a witness whose testimony would have been damaging to the bicyclist's case.  He stated that the bicyclist simply rode into the side of the truck without attempting to stop.  However, we pointed out that the witness, a USPS employee who was driving another truck behind the vehicle involved in the collision, was obviously biased.  We also pointed out that his testimony was inconsistent with the physical evidence.  Had the cyclist simply rode her bike into the side of the truck she would have sustained injury to her head, face and neck and that her bike would have shown front end damage.  No such evidence existed.

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