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IL injury lawyerThe recent death of 32-year-old “School of Rock” actor Kevin Clark in a Chicago bicycle accident is a sobering reminder of the tragic consequences that bicyclists can face when they are hit by a motor vehicle. Each year in Illinois, more than 2,000 bicyclists are injured in car crashes, and unfortunately, some of them do not survive. You should be sure to take all reasonable safety precautions whenever you travel by bicycle, as well as be aware of what you can do if you or a loved one is seriously injured.

Promoting Bicycle Safety in Illinois

As a bicyclist, there are many things you can do to protect yourself from injury in a collision with a car or motor vehicle. These include:

  • Wearing a helmet - Helmets are not legally required for bicyclists in Illinois, but those who wear them are up to 85 percent more likely to avoid a traumatic brain injury.
  • Staying visible - Brightly colored clothing, lights, and reflectors all help make bicyclists more visible to drivers. This is especially important when you are biking at night or early in the morning.
  • Following traffic laws - Biking in the same direction as vehicle traffic, using hand turn signals, and obeying signs and signals at intersections can help you more safely share the road with motor vehicles.
  • Giving space to parked cars - A common cause of bicycle accidents is “dooring,” which happens when the door of a parked car opens into the path of a bicycle. Leaving a few feet of space between yourself and cars parked on the side of the road can help you avoid this.
  • Avoiding high-traffic areas - Serious bike accidents are far more common in urban areas. If you can avoid areas with excessive vehicle traffic, you may be more likely to avoid injury.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims for Bicyclists

Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are sometimes inevitable because of a driver’s negligence, whether due to drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, or some other cause. If you are injured by a negligent driver, you should start working with an attorney as soon as possible to build a strong case for compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. If you lose a close family member in a fatal bicycle accident, you may also be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver through a wrongful death claim.

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IL accident lawyerRiding a bicycle is a fun, healthy way to get from place to place. However, bicyclists must share the road with motorists. Distracted driving, drunk driving, and violation of traffic laws often put bicyclists' lives in danger. Many bicycle accidents result in serious injuries and death. In order to help prevent car-on-bicycle collisions, bicyclists are required to follow most of the same traffic rules that motorists must follow. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident and you were violating a traffic law, you may be considered to be partially at fault for the accident. Fortunately, you may still be able to bring a successful personal injury claim.

Bicycle Laws in Illinois

Bicyclists are expected to obey traffic laws and signage. They should travel in the same direction as the motor vehicles on the road. Traveling in the opposite direction of traffic is not only dangerous, it is also unlawful. Bicycles do not typically have electronic turn signals, but cyclists are still expected to indicate when they are turning. A left turn is indicated by placing your left arm straight out to the side. A right turn is indicated by placing your left arm at a 45-degree angle or placing your right arm straight out to the side. Bicyclists are also expected to stop at red lights and stop signs, travel the correct direction on one-way streets, and follow right of way laws at intersections.

Bicycle Accidents Involving Bicycle Law Violations

If you were struck by a vehicle while riding your bicycle, you have probably suffered personal injury as well as damage to your bicycle. A personal injury claim may allow you to collect compensation for the costs associated with the accident. However, if you were violating a traffic law at the time of the accident, you may be considered partially at fault. Illinois is a “modified comparative negligence” state when it comes to shared liability in an accident. This means that you may still be able to recover compensation for your damages as long as you were not more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If the court determines that you were partially responsible for the accident, the damages you receive will be reduced according to your percentage of responsibility. For example, if you were struck by a car but you disobeyed a traffic signal, the court may determine that you were 20 percent responsible for the accident. If your damages were $10,000 in total, you would receive $8,000.

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