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Bicycle Accidents

Introduction.

The law firm of WWF&G has represented numerous clients who have been injured in bicycle accidents. Bicycle accidents occur in many different ways and may result from a variety of conditions or events, including dangerous or defective roadways and pathways, a defect in the bicycle, such as brakes, tires, poor education and warnings by the seller, and impacts with motor vehicles.

Do I Have A Duty By Law To Wear A Helmet?

No. Similar to motorcycle law, there is no duty in the state of Illinois for a bicyclist to wear a helmet. If you are injured by the negligence of a third party, the fact that you are not wearing a helmet is not admissible in court. A jury could speculate that you were not wearing a helmet if you sustain a head injury, but the lack of a helmet will not be admissible as comparative fault.

What If I Am Partially At Fault For The Accident?

Illinois is a modified comparative negligence state. If you are more than 50% at fault for an accident, then there is no recovery. If you are 50% or less at fault, then your damage award is reduced for your percentage of negligence.

Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state. Your damages are reduced for your percentage of fault, regardless of the percentage of negligence. For example, if you are 90% at fault, you still receive 10% of your damages. This is beneficial to parties with serious injuries because the verdict can still be significant, as opposed to Illinois law, where you would be barred from a recovery if you are more than 50% at fault.

Can I Sue A Municipality For Failure To Maintain A Roadway Or Pathway?

Yes. However, Illinois only imposes a duty of ordinary care on municipalities to maintain property for uses that are both permitted and intended. Whether a particular use of property was permitted and intended is determined by looking to the nature of the property itself. The intent of the local public entity is controlling. In other words, the issue depends on whether the municipality intended that the plaintiff bicyclist use that part of the street or pathway where the injury occurred and permitted the plaintiff to do so. One way to prove this issue is to look for roadway markings and signs indicating that bicyclists are allowed.

What Rights Do I Have As A Bicyclist?

Illinois law has a section under the Illinois Vehicle Code which addresses bicycle rights at 625 ILCS 5/11-1501 et. al. Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is granted all road rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to drivers of a motor vehicle, with some exceptions. Any person operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic shall generally ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or the edge of the roadway. If a bicyclist is riding on a sidewalk, he or she has a duty to yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian before overtaking and passing such pedestrian, and will give an audible signal before passing said pedestrian.

What Type Of Bicycle Accidents Has Your Firm Handled?

    1. 10 year old girl on crosswalk struck by motor vehicle at a high speed, head injury.
    2. Woman riding on roadway struck pothole, flipping bicycle and landing on her head causing severe and permanent brain injury, lawsuit brought against municipality.
    3. 15 year old boy, front tire rolled bicycle as he lifted tire over curb, product liability claim involving quick-release tire.

Bicycle Statistics From NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts 2005 And www.bicycleuniverse.info:

    • The most common bike-car collision is a driver failing to yield at a stop sign.
    • 784 cyclists died in 2005; 725 cyclists died in 2004; 629 cyclists died in 2003.
    • More than 80% of fatalities for child bicyclists age 14 and under were caused by unsafe riding.
    • Approximately 40% of deaths on bicycles nationwide occur at night.
    • Falls account for 59% of crashes, running into a fixed object 14%, impact with moving motor vehicles 11%, impact with another bicycle 9%.
    • 1 in every 20 bicyclists is injured annually.

OUR FIRM. The law firm of Williamson, Webster, Falb & Glisson aggressively prosecutes bicycle accident claims on your behalf. At WWF&G, we have prosecuted injury claims for over 38 years. We deal with defendants and their insurance companies on a regular basis and we will maximize your recovery. Please review our verdicts and settlements page for some of our results.

FREE CONSULTATION. Please contact us for a free consultation so we may discuss and review your case in greater detail at 618-462-1077.