Illinois Bicyclists Have Legal Rights In an Accident

Arlington Heights Attorneys Representing Bicycle Accidents

A recent article has highlighted that the state of Illinois currently ranks 5th overall in the United States in terms of the total number of bicycle-related deaths. Most notably, the same article sets forth that over the past couple of years the number of bicycle-based fatalities has increased. “The total increased 16% from 2010 to 2012” and the state of Illinois reported that 24 bicyclist fatalities occurred in 2010, 27 in 2011 and 29 in 2012. The only states that actually had more bicycle-based fatalities included California, Florida, Texas, and New York.

In response to the heightened public safety risk of bicyclist fatalities in the state of Illinois, the state has issued a comprehensive driver and bicyclist-related set of guidelines, highlighting the various laws, regulations, and other traffic rules that both Illinois drivers and bicyclists alike should heed. For instance, in Illinois, bicyclists “are prohibited on limited-access highways, expressways and certain other marked roadways” and “bicyclists are required to travel in the same direction as vehicles.” Additionally, Illinois state law requires that “bicyclists should travel just to the right of faster moving traffic” recognizing that there are “certain hazards such as rough surfaces, debris, drainage grates or a narrow traffic lane may require bike riders to move toward the center of the lane.” Most important for Illinois drivers is that “drivers must yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist just as they would to another vehicle [and] when passing a bicyclist, motorists must do so slowly and leave at least three feet of passing space.”

A driver behavior that is commonly a source of bicyclist fatalities is “crowding,” or following too closely to a bicyclist. According to Illinois law, crowding or threatening a bicyclist is strictly prohibited. When following bicyclists, drivers should be sure to provide them with “plenty of room and be prepared to stop quickly” so as to provide a reasonable cushion between the driver and the bicyclist. Drivers should be sure to use extra caution in both rainy and icy weather. Illinois drivers should also not park or drive in marked bicycle lanes and not use their high beams at night when near a bicycle rider.

If you have been involved in an accident involving a bicyclist, you need a seasoned accident attorney on your side to help you evaluate and seek recovery. Bicyclist-related accidents are not your typical automobile accidents and can be complex with serious property and personal injury-related damages. Call or email the Newland & Newland Law Firm today for a complimentary consultation to see how we can help you.

  • Newland & Newland LLP, Attorneys, Arlington Heights, IL