Bicycle Accidents That Occur In Southern Illinois

Bicycling Accidents That Have Happened In Southern Illinois

Various bicycle accidents that have occurred in Southern Illinois have been discussed on this site, as bicycle accidents have the potential for causing serious injury, and in some cases, fatal injuries.  Individual bicycle accidents that have been summarized are seen in posts listed under the “Bicycling Accidents” category.

The various posts have discussed accidents that have happened in the following areas:

Three of the four accidents involved the bike rider passing away from their accident injuries.

Reasons For Southern Illinois Bicycling Accidents

Bicycling accidents happen in Southern Illinois for various reasons.  Generally speaking, throughout Illinois bicycling has become more popular as both a recreational activity and as a means for transportation.  The increase in total bicycle mileage traveled, as well as increased vehicle traffic means that there is an increased likelihood of bicycle accidents.

The Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) “2014 Illinois Crash Facts And Statistics” (pdf) provides statistics regarding bicycle accidents in the year 2014.  In that year there were 3202 total “pedalcycle” crashes in Illinois, of which 2,980 involved accident injuries and 27 resulted in 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 were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

The Party At Fault In A Bicycle Accident

Why the accident occurred – and determining which party is at fault for the bicycle accident – is very important in determining whether negligence occurred and whether an injury lawsuit may be successfully filed by the bicyclist.   Such a lawsuit seeks compensation for accident injuries and other harm that may have occurred resulting from the accident.  In the case of a fatal bicycle accident, the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit may be warranted.

Bicycle accidents can either be the fault of the bicyclist or the fault of a motorist or other third party, such as a city, county or state.  Often the fault of the accident is determined after a traffic accident investigation is performed.

Types Of Bicycling Accidents

Those accidents that are the fault of the bicyclist can happen for many reasons.  Common reasons that people crash on their bicycles when it is their own fault include:

  • Loss of bicycle control
  • Failure to obey traffic laws, such as failing to obey stop lights and stop signs, which then leads to a car-bicycle collision or truck-bicycle collision
  • Bicycle rider error, which can cause various types of crashes
  • Riding too fast given the overall conditions (which often leads to a loss of control)
  • Poor bike handling skills (which can lead to a loss of bicycle control)
  • Poorly maintained bicycles that can lead to mechanical problems that cause crashes, such as tire blowouts
  • When a bicyclist collides with another bicycle
  • When the bicyclist collides with a pedestrian

The crashes that result from the reasons listed above can cause serious accidents, and accompanying serious accident injuries. In some cases, these accident injuries lead to the death of the bicycle rider.

Accidents that are the fault of a driver (or another third party such as a municipality) can also happen for various reasons.  The injuries that occur when a vehicle collides with a bike are often serious, for many reasons.  One of these reasons is that bicycles don’t provide the type of enclosed structural impact protection that a car or truck provides to its occupants.

Common reasons that bike riders are in an accident which is the fault of another party include:

car-bike collisions:

  • Motorists that “fail to see bicycles” and hit them.  This often happens as the driver makes a left-hand turn immediately in front of the oncoming bicycle.  Some people refer to this as a “left cross” accident.
  • Motorists that cross into the opposing lane, and strike a bike rider in the opposing lane.
  • Motorists that hit bicyclists that are riding within a crosswalk.
  • Motorists that pass a bicyclist “too closely” and hit the bicyclist.
  • Motorists that strike bicyclists from behind.
  • Motorists that strike a bicyclist during “distracted driving.”  This distracted driving can be caused by “texting while driving” or other type of electronic device usage.
  • Drivers that fail to stop in accordance with traffic control devices, such as stop signs and stop lights, and thereby hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that pull out of a driveway or parking lot into the path of a bicyclist, thereby hitting the bicyclist (i.e. failure to yield.)
  • Drivers that are driving while intoxicated on alcohol (DUI) and hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that are driving while impaired on drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or meth) or chemical fumes (e.g. “huffing”) and strike a bicyclist.

other types of collisions:

  • Accidents that happen when a bicyclist collides with another bicyclist.
  • When a pedestrian walks into the path of an oncoming bicyclist and a collision happens.

As an example of the car-bike collisions mentioned above, recently two bicyclists were struck from behind by a SUV in the Chicago suburb of Morris.  The two bicyclists died from their accident injuries.  This bicycle accident is summarized in the June 22, 2016 post titled “Fatal Bicycle Accident In Morris, Illinois.”

Another type of hazard to bicyclists is that of road hazards.  While these road hazards can take many forms, perhaps the most common to the average bicyclist are potholes.  Potholes can present a significant potential risk to bicycle riders, as potholes, when they are hit by a bicyclist, can (depending on their size, depth, and other characteristics) cause bicycle instability which can lead to a crash.

Bicycle Accident Injuries

The number of potential bicycling accident injuries is extensive, and is largely dependent upon the specific aspects of the bike crash.  Many bicycle accident injuries are relatively minor.  These minor injuries would include such things as small “scrapes” – including minor “road rash” – and minor bruises.

Among accident injuries that are more significant are:

  • a broken collarbone
  • broken arms
  • broken legs
  • broken ankles
  • broken wrists
  • neck injuries
  • spinal cord injuries
  • back injuries
  • injuries to the face
  • internal bleeding, which can take many forms
  • chest trauma, including broken ribs
  • head injuries, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

Some of the injuries listed above can cause semi-permanent as well as permanent impairments.

As seen in the Belleville, Carbondale, and Cahokia area bicycle accidents mentioned above, bicycle accident injuries can be fatal.

Should You Be Hurt In A Bicycle Accident

Should you be injured in a Southern Illinois bicycle accident – or an accident elsewhere in Illinois– there are various recommended steps you should take in order to protect your health and legal rights – and otherwise maximize your potential for accident injury compensation.

A few of these steps include:

  • Stop after the accident.
  • Report the bicycle accident.
  • Get relevant information concerning the accident –  this includes obtaining information as to the other party’s (for instance, the driver of the car that struck you) name, address, phone number, date of birth, driver’s license number, insurance company name, car make and model, and license plate number.  Furthermore, if there are any witnesses to the accident, collect their names and full contact information.  Also – only if it safe to do so – take pictures of the entire accident scene, including the damaged bicycle and all vehicles that were involved in the bicycle accident.
  • Get a medical exam.  There are various medical and legal reasons for this recommendation, as further discussed below.
  • Speak with a personal injury attorney.

After any significant accident, it is advisable to get a thorough medical exam from a qualified medical professional.  There are various reasons for this recommendation.  Among these reasons is that –  as seen in many accident injury situations – injury symptoms may take a while to become obvious to those who have been injured.  Some of these types of injuries may prove to be serious, if not fatal, if not promptly treated.  Among those types of injuries in which symptoms may take (many) hours to become obvious are head injuries.  A thorough medical exam done after a head impact will likely test for the existence of bleeding on the brain – as well as other symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) – in order to take prompt action if problematical conditions exist.

From a legal perspective, while someone who is injured may find it inconvenient to speak with a personal injury lawyer soon after an accident, there are many reasons why such a discussion can be very important.  The personal injury lawyer will be able to give you advice as to what steps to take given your specific accident injury situation.  The lawyer will also be able to determine whether filing a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate, and how much money the case may be worth.

In the case of a fatal bicycle accident, the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate if the bicycle crash was caused by the negligence (or, in certain cases, the intentional actions) of another party.

Should you be injured in an Illinois accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the accident and the accompanying legal issues.  This consultation is free, is confidential in nature, and is provided without further obligation.

Elman Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for 25+ years, and during this time has handled over 10,000 personal injury cases.  Through this extensive experience we have built a reputation for our court trial performance.  As seen in many cases, this successful trial experience may significantly increase your potential accident injury compensation.

Elman 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.