According to some recent statistics, over 700 bicyclists lose their lives in accidents each year in the United States. Another 50,000 people riding bicycles suffer injuries in incidents on the road.
These statistics are particularly interesting in light of a recent Illinois law, discussed on this blog, which clarified that, in Illinois, bicyclists have the same roadway rights and privileges as drivers of cars and other motor vehicles. This means that Chicago-area drivers are expected to be on the lookout for bicyclists and yield the right-of-way when required to do so.
Indeed, the statistics show that in about 29 percent of injury accidents involving a bicyclist, the driver of a car or other vehicle strikes the bicyclist. Moreover, of fatal accidents involving a bicyclist, a clear majority, over 70 percent, occurred in urban settings such as the Chicago area that typically experience heavy traffic.
Drivers in Illinois now have a clear duty under Illinois law to be on the lookout for bicyclists and afford them the same rights as they would any other vehicle; hopefully, this change will have at least some effect in reducing bicycle injuries and fatalities. Bicycle injuries can be serious and potentially debilitating, even when the bicyclist is wearing a helmet.
Those bicyclists who have been injured on Illinois roads because of the actions of another driver may be able to obtain compensation for their losses. In the case of a fatality, the family of a deceased bicyclist may be able to get compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit.