Personal injury lawyers in Chicago know that biking is a popular but risky pastime for Chicago residents. With several more months of riding weather before the onset of winter, it’s crucial for drivers to watch out for cyclists and for cyclists to ride defensively. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that 3,107 pedacycle accidents occurred in the city in 2011. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been a vocal proponent of making the streets safer for bicycle riders, suggesting a variety of different legal changes and improvements to the roads and riding conditions for cyclists.
In early September, however, Emanuel provided a new type of help to one bicycle rider on the road: one-on-one assistance after a crash. According to the Chicago Tribune, the mayor had stopped to pick up a coffee at around 8:30 a.m. near the intersection of Milwaukee, Chicago and Ogden avenues when he heard a loud noise. Rushing around the corner to the location, Emanuel found a woman had been involved in a crash while riding her bicycle. He stayed with her until the ambulance came.
Bicycle Accidents in the Chicago Area
The accident occurred on Milwaukee Street, which is sometimes referred to as the “Hipster Highway,” because there is so much bicycle traffic on the road. A large truck was involved in the crash and hit the bicycle rider. Early reports indicate that the truck may have been attempting to turn right from the middle lane of Milwaukee onto Ogden.
The truck, fortunately, had slowed down considerably to make the turn. As such, as soon as the vehicle struck the bicycle rider, the driver was able to stop immediately. Because the crash was a slow-speed accident and the driver did respond quickly, it is currently believed that the woman will make a recovery. The Chicago Tribune reported that police had no record of the crash and that no one was seriously hurt.
The woman’s failure to contact the police after the accident may have been a mistake, especially if it turns out that she did suffer some type of serious injury. Some medical problems might not show up for as long as 24 to 48 hours after the initial injury occurs. If the woman is injured, she would potentially have a claim against the truck driver for making a turn when he shouldn’t have and for striking her bike. A police report or other report from the accident scene would be helpful in supporting her bike accident claim.
Although the police did not respond, the mayor did make an effort to calm the frightened victim. This is not the first thing that Rahm Emanuel has done for the bicycle riders of Chicago. His administration has made preventing bike accidents a priority and has taken steps including starting a bicycle sharing program and adding bikes-only lanes to certain streets throughout the city.
With 27 bicycle accident fatalities and 2,912 injury crashes in 2011, there is certainly still room for improvement in making Chicago’s streets safe for cyclists. Still, at least an effort is being made by those in a position of power in the city.
If you’ve been hurt in a bicycle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers in Chicago at Coplan & Crane at (800) 394-6002 for a free case evaluation.