Monday, March 18, 2019

Chicago Seeks To Clarify E-Bike Rules

A rider on an e-bike. (Abel Uribe/
Chicago Tribune)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has introduced amendments to Chicago's municipal code clarifying where electric assist bicyclists may legally roam the City's streets.  In 2018 a statewide law went in affect creating a three class system for e-bikes but mostly left it to municipalities around Illinois to decide for themselves how to regulate use of the different bike classes.  The proposed Chicago ordinance attempts to address where the bikes falling under each class may be used.

Here are the highlights of the proposed ordinance:

  • Class 1 e-bikes (pedal assist under 20 mph and bike weighing less than 125 pounds), may travel in City bicycle lanes.  Class 2 and 3 bikes may not.
  • The rider of a class 1 e-bike "is permitted to pass on the right side of a slower-moving or standing vehicle or bicycle, but must exercise due care when doing so."  Riders of class 2 and 3 e-bikes are not permitted to do so.
  • Riders of class 2 and 3 e-bikes may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle but only under the same conditions as motor vehicle drivers as set forth in 9-36-020.
  • Class 2 and 3 e-bikes may not be ridden on any sidewalk.  Class 1 e-bikes may be ridden on sidewalks by persons under the age of 12.  Persons 12 and over may only ride class 1 e-bikes on sidewalks marked as bike paths, to access a bike share station or to access a roadway.
  • Except where otherwise stated, people riding e-bikes, particularly class 1 e-bikes, may use them anywhere, and in the same manner, as traditional bicycles.
The clarifications proposed in the new ordinance are welcome.  Many people in Chicago's bicycle community assumed that class 1 e-bikes were allowed to travel in bike lanes, but confirmation in the form of an ordinance is appreciated. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Video Shows Driver Fleeing From Hit and Run Bicycle Crash

Hit and run crashes are especially frustrating all around.  The horror of being hit by a motor vehicle is compounded by the insult of a driver speeding away while you are left laying in the street as if your life does not matter.  As an attorney who has represented far too many victims of hit and run crashes, it can be disheartening when the offender cannot be found.  We generally rely on the existence of good quality video or of a clear photograph of the vehicle, showing either the license plate number or identifying markings, to track the driver.  Eye witnesses can help too.

Back on February 25th, the Chicago Tribune featured one or our clients, Jonathan Rogers, in a piece by Mary Wisniewski about the increase in hit and run crashes in Chicago.  It referred to two sisters, Keyannah Wolf and Dontalisha Hodges, who saw him get hit by a car which then left the scene.  They gave chase to the driver that hit Jon while recording video.  It was thanks to these caring and responsible citizens and the video they took that we were able to trace the driver and file a lawsuit against him.  While the Tribune piece made reference to the video it did not include it.  Here it is:

The police cannot be everywhere.  Our firm is good at tracking down hit and run drivers but we need something, a license plate or distinguishing detail of the vehicle, to find the offender.  So if you see something, follow the example of the sisters Wolf and Hodges; pull out your phone and snap some photos, record video, and give it to the victim or the police.  If you're not sure what to do with it, contact us.  We will make sure it goes where it is needed.

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