Bicycling is popular in DuPage County, as well as the greater Chicago area, as many people seek to bicycle and enjoy the exercise it provides, as well as other benefits. As well, an increasing number of people are using their bicycles to commute to work.
While there have been efforts to increase the safety of cycling, such as the addition of bike lanes in highly-trafficked areas within Chicago and elsewhere, bicyclists are subject to a variety of risks.
Illinois Bicycle Accident Statistics
As seen in the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) “2014 Illinois Crash Facts And Statistics,” (pdf) in the year 2014 there were 3202 total “pedalcycle,” crashes in Illinois, of which 2,980 involved injuries and 27 involved fatalities.
A Chicago Tribune article of October 27, 2014, titled “Illinois fifth in nation for bicycle deaths” also provides statistics and commentary regarding fatal Illinois bicycle accidents. An excerpt:
In its annual Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety report, the Governors Highway Safety Association found that Illinois rounded out the five states with highest rates of bicyclist fatalities.
The number of bicyclist deaths is rising, the report said. The total increased 16 percent from 2010 to 2012. The association said data from 2012 is the most recent available.
The article also points out that a high percentage (more than two-thirds) of fatal bicycle accidents involve bicyclists who are not wearing helmets.
Other notable facets are, as seen in the underlying report:
Bicyclist deaths are also increasingly likely to occur in urban areas, with the proportion increasing from 50 percent in 1975 to 69 percent in 2012. In 2012, 37 percent of the deaths occurred at intersections.
Reasons For Bicycling Accidents
There are many reasons for these numerous bicycle accidents. These bicycle accidents can be broadly categorized into those that are the fault of the bicyclist, and those that are the fault of another party, which is most frequently a motorist.
As seen in DuPage County as well as many Chicago-area streets, traffic and congestion has been increasing, which can increase the risk posed to bicyclists. As well, motorists can be impaired by alcohol or drugs, which can present great risks to other roadway users such as bicyclists. Other issues may impair motorists’ driving ability, such as distracted driving, which can be caused by a number of factors including use of cellphones and other electronics.
On this site, many DuPage County bicycling accidents are summarized under the “DuPage County bicycle accidents” category. As seen in these posts, various accidents have occurred in which the bicyclists have experienced a range of injuries, including some that have resulted in fatalities.
While risks to bicyclists frequently are presented by mistakes and negligence on the part of motorists, safety hazards are also presented by various road hazards. Potholes are notable safety hazards to bicyclists. Whereas cars and trucks can absorb the impact of hitting potholes without losing control of the vehicle, the same pothole, if hit by a bicyclist, may severely impact the bicycle’s stability. Instability and loss of control of the bicycle often leads to crashes and injuries.
Other road hazards, such as roadway deformities and other factors such as gravel on the roadway, may (severely) impact a bicyclist’s ability to control the bicycle. These hazards may be exacerbated in areas where the bicyclist is riding downhill and/or around a curve in the roadway.
While some bicycling accident injuries are relatively minor, such as scrapes, “road rash” and contusions, many bike accidents can cause serious injuries. Common serious bike accident injuries include bone fractures, back injuries, and head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Many serious bicycle accidents end in the death of the bicyclist.
One of the most effective ways to avoid head injuries on a bicycle is to wear a certified bicycle helmet that fits properly. The benefits of such are discussed in many sources, including the CBS Chicago article of July 11, 2014, titled “Bicycling Is Popular – Helmets, Not As Much.” An excerpt from that article:
Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 87 percent.
Should You Be Injured In A Bicycle Accident
Should you be injured in a DuPage County bicycle accident, or an accident elsewhere in Illinois, there are a variety of steps you should take to both protect your health and your legal rights, including your rights to injury compensation. (In the case of a fatal bicycle accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if the accident was caused by the negligence or intentional actions of another party.) It is very important that you get a thorough medical check after a bicycle accident, even if you think you are not injured. There are many reasons for this, including that many injuries – including some that are potentially life-threatening – may not be apparent immediately after the accident. The importance of getting a thorough medical exam after a bicycling accident is more fully discussed on the “Getting A Medical Exam After A DuPage County Accident” page.
From a legal perspective, it is likely highly beneficial that you talk to an Illinois personal injury lawyer soon after an accident. There are various steps you should take to protect your legal rights and otherwise help you to maximize your potential compensation for your accident injuries, as well as attaining compensation for other harm that may have occurred because of the accident.
Should you be injured in an accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Joseph Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the accident and its legal issues. This consultation is free, is confidential in nature, and does not come with further obligation.
Elman Joseph Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for over 20 years, and has handled over 10,000 personal injury cases. Through this extensive experience we have built a reputation for our court trial performance. This successful trial experience may well prove valuable to your case if an attractive lawsuit settlement is not offered.
Elman Joseph Law Group handles personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means that you will not be charged legal fees unless and until there is a monetary recovery.