Lake County IL Bicycle Accidents

Bicycling Accidents In Lake County

Bicycle accidents have been discussed in various places on this site.  Individual bicycle accidents that have been summarized are seen in posts listed under the “Bicycling Accidents” category.  As seen in these posts, Lake County bicycle accidents have happened in Highland Park, Waukegan, Mundelein, unincorporated Lake Villa, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Round Lake, Northbrook, Deerfield, and Lake Villa.  At least three of these bicycle accidents led to the death of the bicycle rider.  Among those non-fatal accidents, various types of injuries were incurred, including both fatal and non-fatal head injuries.

Popular Bicycling Routes In Lake County

Due to its suburban setting and many roads and paths that are attractive to both casual and recreational cyclists, bicycling is common in Lake County.  It is common to see people riding bicycles on a wide variety of roadways throughout the county.  For instance, roads that remain popular among bicyclists in the Highland Park and Lake Forest area include Old Elm Road, St. Mary’s Road, Green Bay Road, and Sheridan Road.

Popular bike paths in that same area include the Skokie Valley Bike Path, the North Shore Bike Path and the Green Bay Trail.  Other popular bike baths are found in forest preserves, such as the Des Plaines River Trail.

Reasons For Lake County Bicycling Accidents

Bicycling accidents happen in Lake County for various reasons.  With bicycling becoming more popular – both as a form of exercise and as a means of transportation (for commuting to work) – the amount of bicycling miles traveled is growing, and this increases the likelihood of bicycling accidents.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of bicycling accidents – those that are the fault of the bicyclist, and those that are the fault of a third party, which is typically the driver of another vehicle such as a car or truck.

Types Of Bicycling Accidents

Accidents that are the fault of the bicyclist happen for various reasons.  Common reasons that people crash while riding when it is their own fault include:

  • Loss of bicycle control
  • Failure to obey traffic control devices, such as stop lights and stop signs
  • Bicycle rider error
  • Riding too fast (which often leads to a loss of control)
  • Insufficient bike handling skills (which often leads to a loss of control)
  • Poorly maintained bicycles that suffer mechanical failures
  • When the rider collides with another bicyclist
  • When the rider collides with a pedestrian

The crashes that result from the reasons listed above can cause serious injury, and in some cases, fatal injuries.

Accidents that are someone else’s fault 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 protection that an enclosed vehicle, such as a car, provides.

Common reasons that bike riders crash that aren’t their fault include:

  • Motorists that “fail to see” bicyclists and hit them.  This often happens as the driver makes a left-hand turn immediately in front of the bike’s path.  Some people refer to this as a “left cross” accident.
  • Motorists that cross into the opposing lane, thereby striking a bike rider.
  • Motorists that pass a bicyclist too closely, and strike the bicyclist.
  • Motorists that strike a bicyclist because they are “distracted,” often due to “texting” or other type of mobile device usage.
  • Drivers that fail to obey traffic control devices, such as stop signs and stop lights, and thereby hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that are driving while intoxicated on alcohol (DUI) and hit a bicyclist.
  • Drivers that are driving while impaired on drugs or chemical fumes (e.g. “huffing”) and strike a bicyclist.
  • When another bicyclist collides with a bicyclist.
  • When a pedestrian walks in front of a bicyclist, causing a collision.

Another type of hazard presented to bicyclists is that of road hazards.  These road hazards can take many forms.  One of the most common types of road hazards are potholes.  While potholes don’t necessarily present a major safety hazard to motorists, they do present a significant potential risk to those riding bicycles, as they can (depending on their size and other attributes) cause instability and a potential crash if hit by a bicycle.

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 new sewer grate designs, this is one example of infrastructure that can cause a bicycle accident.

Defective or damaged infrastructure that poses a risk to bicyclists varies.  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, the lawsuit against the City of Chicago has to do with a bicycle accident in which the grooved metal decking was allegedly unsafe for bicycle travel and caused an accident.

Bicycle Accident Injuries

The types of potential bicycling accident injuries is extensive, and depends upon the specific nature of the crash.  Some bicycle accident injuries are relatively minor.  These injuries would include such things as scrapes and minor abrasions, minor “road rash,” and minor bruises.

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

  • broken bones, including a broken collarbone
  • neck injuries
  • spinal cord injuries
  • back injuries
  • face trauma
  • internal bleeding
  • chest trauma, including broken ribs
  • head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries

Some of these injuries can prove to be fatal, especially if they are not properly and promptly treated.  Further discussion as to the reasons for getting a thorough medical exam after an accident is seen on the “Important Reasons For Getting A Medical Exam After An Accident” page.

Should You Be Hurt In An Illinois Bicycle Accident

Should you be injured in a Lake County bicycle accident – or an accident elsewhere in Illinois – there are various recommended steps you should take in order to protect your legal rights.

A few of these steps include:

  • Stop after the accident
  • Report the accident
  • Get information concerning the accident –  this includes such information as 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 contact information.  Also – only if it safe to do so – take pictures of the accident scene, 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 right after the accident, there are many reasons why such a timely discussion can be very important regarding the potential accident compensation that one may hope to achieve.

In the case of a fatal bicycle accident, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if the bicycle crash was caused by the negligence or 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 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 25 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 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.