A tragic bicycle accident ended the life of a 25-year-old Chicago woman on August 5, 2011. As tens of thousands of concert-goers departed the popular Lollapalooza music festival, the bike accident victim suffered crushing injuries while leaving the concert grounds. This accident highlights the dangers of riding a bicycle on busy city streets, where serious injuries and death can happen in a matter of seconds.
The victim was at the intersection of Wacker and Wabash when the deadly crash happened, according to reports by the Chicago Tribune. She was riding her bicycle between a car and a dump truck that were stopped at the red light when she suddenly lost her balance and fell under the rear wheels of the truck. The truck driver failed to see her and drove away as soon as the light turned green, fatally crushing the bike accident victim.
Illinois accident attorneys at Pintas and Mullins have extensive experience working with downtown bicycle accident victims and their families, and we know that accidents can happen to even the most experienced riders. Friends describe the latest Chicago bike accident victim as an avid cyclist and spinning instructor. It is still not clear why she lost her balance, but we know that riding in the city is always dangerous. This danger is especially heightened in the late evening hours when large crowds are swarming the streets.
The statistics are troubling. Every year in Illinois, more than 3,500 crashes involve bicyclists and motor vehicles. The law requires drivers of a motor vehicle to keep a safe distance of at least three feet when passing a bicyclist. Unfortunately, this law is frequently violated, resulting in great bodily harm and even death. Bicycle injuries are often serious, because riders have little to protect them. Traumatic brain injuries are common, as well as debilitating back and neck injuries, and multiple broken bones.
Bicyclists also need to take responsibility for their riding habits in order to prevent serious harm. Under Illinois law, bikes are actually considered to be motor vehicles, and the same traffic laws need to be obeyed. We know that most bike accidents occur in summer months, between the hours of 5 pm and 9 pm. Bike riders should wear bright or reflective clothing whenever possible and equip their bikes with red reflectors or flashing lights. A fitted, protective helmet can also go a long ways towards preventing serious head injuries if an accident occurs.
Even when every possible safety precaution is taken, serious and fatal bike accidents still happen. An experienced accident lawyer can help determine who is responsible for the accident, along with identifying and interviewing potential witnesses. When bike injuries result from the recklessness or negligence of a motor vehicle driver or even another bicyclist, the victim is entitled to file an accident claim and potentially collect damages for past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Even if the motor vehicle driver does not have insurance, compensation is still possible.