Bicycling is popular in Will County, as well as the greater Chicago area, as many people seek to bicycle and enjoy the exercise it provides, as well as other benefits. As well, an increasing number of people are using their bicycles to commute to work. While there have been efforts to increase the safety of cycling, such as the addition of bike lanes in highly-trafficked areas within Chicago and elsewhere, bicyclists are subject to a variety of risks to their safety, which in many cases lead to bicycle accidents.
Illinois Bicycle Accident Statistics
As seen in the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) “2014 Illinois Crash Facts And Statistics,” (pdf) in the year 2014 there were 3202 total “pedalcycle” crashes in Illinois, of which 2,980 involved injuries. While bicycle accident statistics for Will County are not readily publicly available, many Will County bicycling accidents have occurred. Such Will County accidents are summarized on this site in posts seen in the “Will County bicycle accidents” category. These accidents have occurred in Romeoville, Joliet, Plainfield, Wilmington Township, and Lockport. As seen in these posts, various accidents have occurred in which the bicyclists have experienced a range of injuries, including:
- Head injuries
- Broken arms
- Broken ribs
- Facial injuries
As seen in the posts, some of these accidents have resulted in fatalities.
Fatal Illinois Bicycle Accidents
Of the 3,202 Illinois bicycle accidents mentioned above, 27 involved 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 are not wearing helmets. One of the most effective ways to avoid bicycle accidents involving head trauma is for the bicyclist to wear a certified bicycle helmet that fits properly. The benefits of such are discussed in many sources, including the CBS Chicago article of July 11, 2014, titled “Bicycling Is Popular – Helmets, Not As Much.” An excerpt from that article:
Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 87 percent.
Reasons For Bicycling Accidents
There are many reasons for these numerous bicycle accidents. These bicycle accidents can be broadly categorized into those that are the fault of the bicyclist, and those that are the fault of another party, which is most frequently a motorist.
Bicycle accidents that have happened in Will County include those that are the fault of the bicyclist. These accidents often involve a loss of control of the bicycle, which often leads to a crash that may or may not involved accident injuries. As seen in the Will County bicycle accidents posts mentioned above, at least one of these loss of control accidents led to the death of the bicyclist.
As far as Will County bicycle accidents that are not the fault of the bicyclist, there are many reasons why such accidents have occurred. As experienced in Will County as well as many other Chicago-area streets, traffic and congestion has been increasing, which can increase the risk posed to bicyclists. As well, motorists can be impaired by alcohol or drugs, which can present great risks to other roadway users. Bicyclists are especially vulnerable to being hit and seriously injured by such impaired drivers as bicyclists are harder for impaired motorists to see, and such riders lack the structural impact protection a car provides. Other issues may impair motorists’ driving ability to see and avoid hitting bicycles, such as distracted driving, which can be caused by cellphone use (including texting) as well as other distractions.
While risks to bicyclists frequently are presented by mistakes and negligence on the part of motorists, safety hazards are also presented by various types of road hazards. Potholes are notable safety hazards to bicyclists. Whereas cars and trucks can absorb the impact of hitting potholes (usually) without loss of vehicle control, the same pothole, if hit by a bicyclist, may severely impact the bicycle’s stability. Instability and loss of bicycle control often leads to crashes and injuries.
Other road hazards, such as roadway deformities and other factors such as gravel on the roadway, may (severely) impact a bicyclist’s ability to control the bicycle. These hazards may be worsened in areas where the bicyclist is riding downhill and/or around a curve in the roadway, where stability may already be vulnerable due to the physics involved.
While some bicycling accident injuries are relatively minor, such as scrapes, “road rash” and contusions, many bike accidents can cause serious injuries. Common serious bike accident injuries include bone fractures, back injuries, face trauma, chest trauma, and head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Many serious bicycle accidents end in the death of the bicyclist.
Should You Be Injured In An Illinois Bicycle Accident
Should you be hurt in a Will County bicycle crash, or a crash elsewhere in Illinois, there are steps you should take to both protect your health and your legal rights, including your rights to injury compensation. (In the case of a fatal bicycle accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if the accident was caused by the negligence or intentional actions of another party.) It is very important that you get a thorough medical check after a significant bicycle accident, even if you think you are not injured. There are many reasons for this, including that many injuries – including some that are potentially life-threatening – may not be apparent immediately after the accident.
From a legal perspective, it is likely highly beneficial that you talk to an Illinois personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. There are various steps you should take to protect your legal rights and otherwise help you to maximize your potential compensation for your accident injuries, as well as attaining compensation for other harm that may have occurred because of the accident.
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 its 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 over 20 years, and 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 prove valuable to your case if an attractive lawsuit settlement is not offered.
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.