Serious Bicycle Accident Injuries Can Result from “Dooring”

Web Admin - Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Rolling Meadows bicycle accident injury lawyerRiding a bicycle is a great way to get exercise and save on transportation costs. However, when sharing the road with larger vehicles, cyclists are at risk of serious injury in a collision. One type of bicycle accident that is becoming increasingly common is “dooring,” and both drivers and cyclists should be aware of the risks of these types of accidents and take steps to prevent them from occurring.

What Is Dooring?

Dooring occurs when a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle opens their door in the path of a cyclist. This often happens when a person who is exiting a vehicle next to a bike lane fails to check to make sure the lane is clear.

A large number of people in Illinois and Chicago have been injured by dooring accidents in recent years. According to data from the City of Chicago, there were 181 dooring accidents in 2017, and there have been over 100 dooring accidents so far in 2018. While this has decreased from 302 reported cases of dooring in 2015, the increasing number of people using bicycles for transportation in the Chicago area means that these types of accidents are becoming more and more likely.

Dooring Injuries

Colliding with the door of a vehicle can cause a wide variety of serious injuries to a cyclist. Depending on the speed at which a cyclist is traveling, they may be thrown from their bike, and they can suffer broken bones, dislocated shoulders, serious bruises, neck and spine injuries, sprained wrists or knees, injuries to internal organs, and disfiguring lacerations and abrasions.

While cyclists can protect themselves from head injuries by wearing a helmet, they may still suffer traumatic brain injuries in dooring accidents, especially if they are knocked into the path of a moving car. In some cases, cyclists have been caught underneath vehicles, which can result in loss of limbs, paralysis, and death.

Contact a Schaumburg Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles should take steps to prevent dooring accidents by always looking behind their vehicle before opening their doors, and they should take extra care when driving or parking near bike lanes. Failure to protect the safety of others is a form of negligence, and cyclists who are injured because of dooring may be able to pursue compensation for damages caused by a negligent driver. If you have been injured in a bike accident, contact an Arlington Heights personal injury attorney at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC today. Call our office at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Bicycle Dooring Accidents in Illinois

Web Admin - Wednesday, July 09, 2014

bicycle dooring accidents in IllinoisWith the summer weather in full effect, more and more bikes have begun to appear on Illinois streets. o the colloquial term for a driver opening a door into the path of a bicyclist. This can result in either the door hitting the cyclist and injuring them, or the cyclist being forced into traffic to avoid the door, which can also result in serious injuries.

These types of accidents used to be a legal gray area, with both bicyclists and motorists sometimes being found at fault for the collision. However, a recent change to Illinois law now plants the fault squarely on motorists, giving them the responsibility to watch for passing bicyclists.

A Change to Illinois’ Vehicle Code

Illinois’ vehicle code contains a law forbidding any two-wheeled vehicle from passing another vehicle on the right without eight feet of unobstructed pavement. It was not clear that this portion of the code applied to bicycles since they do not technically fall under the vehicle code’s definition of a vehicle. However, they are required to obey all of the same rules as vehicles. Consequently, some bicyclists who were being doored were also being found at fault for the accident since they were passing too close to the car whose door they hit.

However, at the start of 2014 a new version of the law went into effect. This version clarifies that vehicles that operate under human power are not subject to that portion of the law. With that change, it is now clear that motorists are the party with the responsibility to watch out for bicyclists before opening the door.

The Law Against Dooring

This responsibility comes from another portion of the vehicle code. This section (625 ILCS 5/11-1407) forbids drivers from opening the door of their vehicle “on the side available to moving traffic,” when it is not reasonably safe to do so. Some municipalities will fine a motorist for carelessly opening their door into traffic, but that is not the only legal implication. An injured cyclist may also sue a driver for negligently opening their door into traffic. If the motorist failed to use due care when opening the car door, then the cyclist may be able to recover for their injuries. Such recovery may include medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the motorist’s carelessness.

If you have recently been involved in a bicycle dooring accident, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney today. Our skilled team of lawyers represents clients across the northwest suburban area, including in towns like Arlington Heights, Deer Park, and Inverness.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Pedestrian-Bicycle Collisions in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, March 06, 2014

illinois pedestrian bicycle accident attorneyPedestrians walking down the sidewalk or crossing the street know to watch out for cars, but many are unaware of just how dangerous a passing bicycle can be and what to do in the event that they end up in an accident with a bike. Collisions between bikes and pedestrians are surprisingly dangerous and more common than many people expect. While exact numbers are difficult to find, since many bike accidents go unreported, a study from Hunter College estimates that over 1,000 pedestrians are hospitalized each year for injuries resulting from bike collisions in New York State alone.

Part of the reason for this is a lack of understanding on by both cyclists and pedestrians about what rules of the road bikes must obey. This leads to confusion on the part of the pedestrian about what the cyclists will to do in any given situation. The Illinois Secretary of State maintains a good guide regarding how traffic laws apply to bikes, but the rule of thumb is that a bicycle in the street must obey all laws that any other vehicle would, and a bicyclist on the sidewalk must obey the laws and signals used by pedestrians.

Harm from Bicycle Accidents

While bicycles lack the mass and speed of a car, they can still do serious harm to unprotected pedestrians in an accident. Some of the most common severe injuries that result from these sorts of accidents are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Pedestrians can develop these types of injuries if they suffer a hard blow to the head after a bike knocks them down. The most common symptom of a TBI is a concussion, but they can also result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, seizures, and even coma in more serious cases. Bike accidents can also frequently cause broken bones, depending on the speed at which they happen and the way the pedestrian falls.

What to Do after a Bicycle Accident

The steps to take after a bicycle accident are similar to those that follow a car crash: make sure everyone is ok, call for medical attention if necessary, alert the police, and exchange information with the other party. The major difference is that bike accidents are more prone to turning into hit-and-runs. While bicyclists are obliged to stay at the scene of an accident just like drivers, many do not realize that they have that duty, and some who do know choose to flee the scene anyway. The best course of action here is to get as much identifying information about the fleeing cyclist as possible, and then make a report to the police.

If you have been the victim of a pedestrian versus bicycle accident, reach out to an Illinois personal injury attorney today. They can help you seek the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Our firm lends its experience and knowledge to clients across the northwest suburbs, in places such as Inverness, Deer Park, and Crystal Lake.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

9 Tips on the Rights and Safety of Bicyclists in Illinois

Web Admin - Monday, October 14, 2013

Motorists may not respect bicyclists on the road, but there are steps bicycle riders can take in order to gain esteem. According to the “Bicycle Rules of the Road,” in Illinois, the best way to avoid harm on a bike is by being prepared for danger and obeying traffic laws.

It is important to note the specific laws directed toward bicyclists riding on the road with other motorists in cars, trucks, and semi-trucks. The following knowledge can help bicyclists avoid a personal injury accident:

  1. Bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic. Riding in the opposite direction is illegal.
  2. When riding on a sidewalk, bicyclists must obey all pedestrian signs and yield to the right-of-way rule for pedestrians.
  3. Bicyclists must stop for school buses dropping off children.

As a bicyclist, your on-the-road rights include:

  1. Motorists must provide at least three feet of space between them and a bicyclist when passing.
  2. Bicycles may be parked on the road at any angle to the curb where parking is allowed.
  3. At a traffic light, a bicyclist may proceed after yielding to oncoming traffic through a red light that fails to turn green after waiting at least 120 seconds.

Safety is a key factor a bicyclist has to remember. A few proactive protection measures to contemplate are:

  1. Make sure the bicycle is working properly, such as brakes, reflectors, seat and handlebars. A helmet may be considered an essential part of a bicycle, so also be aware of a helmet’s functionality.
  2. Ride as close to the edge of the road as safely possible to maintain distance from motorists, but be mindful of broken glass, grates and parked cars.
  3. Avoid riding at night. If you do ride at night, Illinois law requires that a bicycle must be have front light visible from at least 500 feet and a rear reflector visible for up to 600 feet. Wearing white or reflective clothing can also aid in safe riding.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, the law offices of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, are standing by to assist you. Contact our Illinois personal injury attorneys by calling 847-934-6000 or by visiting our Chicago office located at 233 S. Wacker, Suite 8400.

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