Bicycle Accidents In Will County

Bicycling Accidents That Have Occurred In Will County

Due to their potential for causing serious injury, and in some cases, fatal injuries, bicycle accidents have been discussed on this site.  The “Will County Bicycle Accidents” page discusses various aspects of Will County bicycle accidents, including accident statistics.  Individual Will County bicycle accidents that have been discussed are seen in posts listed under the “Bicycling Accidents” category.  These posts have summarized Will County bicycle accidents that have happened in various cities, including Romeoville, Joliet, Plainfield, Wilmington Township, and Lockport.  As well, one of the accidents happened on the Hickory Street Junction Trail, in the Will County Forest Preserve.

As seen in these posts, the bike riders were hurt in these accidents, sustaining various serious injuries.  These injuries included injuries to the face, broken arms, head trauma, and broken ribs. In four of the accidents, the bicyclist died from their accident injuries.

Popular Bicycling Routes In Will County

Will County has many streets and paths that are popular to bicyclists.

Various paths and trails are available, and many are within the Will County Forest Preserve.  These include:

  • Centennial Trail/I&M Canal Trail
  • DuPage River Trail
  • Hickory Creek Bikeway
  • Joliet Junction Trail
  • Lake Renwick Bikeway
  • Old Plank Road Trail
  • Plum Creek Greenway Trail
  • Rock Run Greenway Trail (Joliet)
  • Spring Creek Greenway Trail
  • Tall Grass Greenway Trail
  • Wauponsee Glacial Trail

Reasons For Will County Bicycling Accidents

Bicycling accidents happen in Will County for various reasons.  Bicycling has become more popular both as a recreational activity and as a means for transportation, including commuting to work.  With this increase in overall bicycle mileage, there is an increased likelihood of bicycle accidents.  This is especially so with the accompanying increase in vehicle miles traveled.

In a general sense, a bicycle accident can either be attributed to another road user (such as a car or truck driver) or another third party such as a municipality, or can be the fault of the bicyclist.  Accident investigations often are conducted to determine the causes of a bicycle accident, and the results of these investigations can be used to determine who was at fault for the accident.  Determining the fault of the accident is an important criteria for determining whether a personal injury (or in the case of a fatal accident, a wrongful death) lawsuit can be successfully filed.

Types Of Bicycling Accidents

Accidents that are the fault of the bicyclist can happen for many reasons.  Common reasons that people crash because it is their fault include:

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

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

Accidents that are the fault of a motorist (or another third party) can also happen for various reasons.  The injuries that occur when a vehicle collides with a bike are often severe, as bicycles fail to provide the type of structural impact protection that an enclosed vehicle, such as a car, provides to its occupants.  Among the most serious car-bicycle collisions are those that are “head-on” collisions.

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 pass a bicyclist “too closely” and hit the bicyclist.
  • Motorists that strike a bicyclist during“distracted driving.”  This distracted driving is often due to “texting” while driving or other type of mobile device usage.
  • Drivers that fail to stop in accordance with traffic control devices, such as stop signs and stop lights, and hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that are driving while intoxicated on alcohol (DUI) and hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that are driving while impaired on drugs (such as marijuana, heroin, or meth) or chemical fumes (e.g. “huffing”) and strike a bicyclist.
  • When a vehicle crosses into a designated “bike lane” and strikes 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.
  • “Dooring accidents” (more likely to occur in urban areas)

Another type of hazard to bicyclists is road hazards.  These road hazards can take many forms.  One of the most common types of road hazards are potholes and other types of road deformities.  Potholes can present a significant potential risk to bicycle riders, as they can (depending on their size and other attributes) cause bicycle instability and a potential crash when a bicycle hits the hole or rut.

Other road hazards include sewer grates.  In the past, there have been accidents regarding bicyclists who have been thrown from their bicycles after their front wheel got stuck in a sewer grate that was parallel to the roadway.  While most, if not all, of this type of accident has been eliminated through municipalities’ use of updated sewer grate designs, this is one example of infrastructure that can cause a bicycle accident.

There are various other types of defective or damaged infrastructure that poses a risk to bicyclists.  For instance, one such hazard is discussed in the March 20, 2012 Chicago Tribune article titled “Suit:  Grooves in River North Bridge caused bicyclist to fall.”  As further discussed in the article, this personal injury lawsuit against the City of Chicago involved a bicycle accident in which the bridge’s grooved metal decking was allegedly unsafe for bicycle travel and a bicycle accident happened that injured the bicyclist.

Bicycle Accident Injuries

The types of potential bicycling accident injuries is extensive, and largely depends upon the specific aspects of the bike crash.  Many bicycle accident injuries are relatively minor.  These injuries would include such things as scrapes and other minor abrasions, low-level “road rash,” and minor bruises.

Accident injuries that are more significant – including those that can cause permanent impairments – include the following:

  • broken collarbone
  • broken arms
  • broken legs
  • broken wrists
  • neck injuries
  • spinal cord injuries
  • back injuries
  • facial injuries
  • various types of internal bleeding
  • chest trauma, including broken ribs
  • head injuries, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries

As demonstrated by the Will County bicycle accidents mentioned above, some of these injuries can prove to be fatal.  There are many reasons as to why a bicycle rider who has been injured in an accident should undergo a thorough medical exam.

Should You Be Hurt In A Bicycle Accident

Should you be injured in a Will County bicycle accident – or an accident elsewhere in Illinois– there are various recommended steps you should take in order to protect your legal rights and otherwise maximize your potential for 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 (as mentioned above.)
  • Speak with a personal injury attorney.

While it may be inconvenient to speak with a personal injury lawyer soon after the accident, there are many reasons why such a prompt 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 tell you if filing a lawsuit is appropriate, and how much money such a lawsuit may generate (i.e. “how much is your case 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 some cases, intentional actions) of another party.

Should you be injured in an 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 well 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.