The longstanding question as to whether bicyclists are entitled to the same “right of way” protections as motor vehicles on public roadways in Illinois has finally been answered. On January 1, 2017, a new law went into effect that clarifies that bicyclists are entitled to all of the same rights in “right-of-way” traffic situations as the drivers of motor vehicles.
The new law, Dennis’s Law, states that “traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles” and confirms that ” every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights, including, but not limited to, rights under Article IX (Right of Way).” 625 ILCS 5/11-502.
Dennis’s Law is named in honor of Dennis Jurs, a Hampshire resident, who first started cycling in order to recover from a land mine injury he suffered in the Vietnam War. On May 18, 2015, Mr. Jurs was killed in a car crash after the driver of a motor vehicle ran a stop sign and collided with him. The driver was issued a ticket for failing to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming bicyclist. However, a Kane County judge ruled that a bicycle was not a “vehicle” under the Illinois Vehicle Code and dismissed the traffic ticket in October of 2015.
In response, Mr. Jurs’ family pushed for the passage of House Bill 5912 (Dennis’s Law) that clarified that bicyclists have the same rights as the drivers of motor vehicles. The bill was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on August 12, 2015 with overwhelming support in both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois State Senate. Now, bicyclists can travel the roads of Illinois with the knowledge that they will receive the same protections that are afforded to the drivers of motor vehicles.
Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid continues to protect our injured bicyclist clients against negligent drivers of motor vehicles. We recently obtained a maximum settlement in a DuPage County lawsuit involving traumatic injuries our bicyclist client sustained when he was struck by a work van that disobeyed a red light at 75th Street and Modaff Road, the Southern DuPage Regional Bike Trail in Naperville.