Bicyclists generally have the right to use the road in Illinois – that is something that most people have long held as obvious under the law. However, last year a driver was accused of failing to yield to a bike rider and a judge threw out the citation finding conflicting rulings existed as to the rights of cyclists. That case involved the tragic death of a Viet Nam vet who took up cycling as a way to rehabilitate injuries he had suffered during his service to the country many years ago.
The Illinois General Assembly responded with overwhelming support of House Bill 5912, which has been signed and will take effect next year. The measure clarifies a subject that many believe has always been obvious. The law makes a clear statement that bicycle safety is important for everyone in Illinois.
Chicago Bicycle Traffic Continues To Increase
Chicago has made great strides to create bike lanes, including shared lanes, buffered lanes and protected lanes. The city’s efforts to promote bicycle safety have garnered national attention. In the past 15 years, the number of commuters who rely on bicycles has grown 150 percent in Chicago, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Unfortunately, the agency says that roughly 1,500 people are injured each year in bicycle accidents. With little protection against the size, mass and weight of a motor vehicle, injuries in bike crashes can be severe (if not fatal). A slight majority on injury and fatal bike accidents occur at intersections.
The state General Assembly has clarified that bicyclists do have equal rights. The new law, known as Dennis’s Law, takes effect on January 1. Yet, distracted drivers or negligent motorists can quickly put a rider in serious danger – regardless of statutory rights. If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to a driver’s negligence, a dedicated personal injury lawyer can guide you through the process to obtain justice for the harm that you and your family have suffered.