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Bicycling is a staple of the summertime. In a state like Illinois, people have been patiently waiting all winter to bring their bikes out after a long, cold winter. Cycling has become an incredibly popular pastime in the United States – with over 50 million enthusiasts across the country.

But more cyclists on the road means more accidents – involving both bicycles and cars.

What is the risk of a car vs bicycle accident on the road in Illinois?

Drivers and bicyclists are expected to share the road. Collisions between the two are extremely dangerous, even at low speeds. In this post, we want to educate both bikers and motorists on the bicycle vs car accident statistics, and what to do in the event of an accident.

Let’s get rolling.

Bicycle vs Car Accident Statistics

Chicago has become a haven for cyclists over the years. The city’s bikeways stretch over 300 miles – including protected bike lanes, buffered lanes, shared lanes, neighborhood bike rights, and off-street trails. With more accessibility comes more bicyclists on the road, which leads to more accidents. Here are the numbers from CDC data:

  • Over 130,000 bicyclists are injured in crashes on roadways every year in the United States.
  • Roughly 1,000 bicyclists are killed in accidents on the road every year.
  • The combined costs of bicycle injuries are more than $23 billion every year – health care expenses, lost wages, reduced quality of life, etc.
  • Most bicycle fatalities occur in urban areas.
  • 64% of bicyclist deaths occur on roads away from intersections (at higher speeds).
  • Roughly one-third of bicycle crashes involve alcohol consumption by either the motorist or bicyclist.
  • Adults aged 55-69 are at the highest risk of death on a bicycle.
  • Deaths among male bicyclists are six times higher than among females.
  • The most dangerous time to ride a bicycle is between 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm, followed by 8:00 pm to 12:00 am.
  • An average of six bicyclists are killed every year in car accidents in Chicago.

Bicycle accidents can happen for many different reasons – some preventable, others not. Chicago is the 3rd biggest city in the United States. The area is known for unsafe drivers and frequent construction. Both of these factors make bicycling extremely dangerous in the city.

How Dangerous Are Car vs Bicycle Accidents?

The risk of injury and/or death for bicyclists is very high across the board. Motorists will generally walk away from a car vs bicycle accident unscathed. But unlike motorists, bicyclists are not surrounded by four metal walls on the road. Even low-speed collisions can be life-threatening.

Sharing the road is a big responsibility. Both bicyclists and motorists need to be extra careful in following the law and keeping a watchful eye when traveling down city streets.

What to do After a Car Accident with a Bicycle?

Being involved in a car vs bicycle accident is an unnerving experience. The key is to have a plan in mind to handle the situation. Generally, it’s advisable to follow the same protocol after a regular car accident. As a motorist, there is a good chance you will need to take the lead – as the bicyclist might be seriously injured.

Prioritize Safety

Safety is THE most important thing – both for the motorist and the bicyclist. As a motorist on a busy street, move to a safe area and put your hazard lights on. If the bicyclist is unconscious, move them to the side of the road.

NEVER drive away after a bicycle accident. Even if you are not at fault, you may be charged with a hit and run.

Document the Accident

Documenting the car vs bicycle accident will be very important if you file a personal injury claim. Take pictures of the road conditions, injuries, and so on. You should also gather the contact information of witnesses if possible.

Call the Authorities

The next step is calling the police to file the report. There will also be a medical team to assess injuries. If you were the bicyclist, get the medical staff to evaluate you immediately. Keep in mind, some injuries take time to become apparent. Even if you feel fine, there might be problems down the road. The medical team knows the signs to look for that indicate a serious injury.

Exchange Information

The next step is to trade information with the other party. Insurance companies will begin creating a claim. You’ll need:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate
  • Insurance information
  • Location of the accident

Determine Liability

Attributing liability is a crucial part of every car vs bicycle accident. Like all other road accidents, you’ll need to figure out if the other party broke traffic laws or was biking/driving unsafely. Bicyclists have many of the same rights as cars do on the road. However, riding outside of the designated lane may be enough to attribute fault – either completely or partially.

Determining fault in a car accident involving a bicycle can be tricky. Insurance companies will try to dispute liability to minimize a payout. Plain and simple, you’ll need an expert lawyer to manage your case.

Get in Touch with an Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car vs bicycle accident, you need to speak with an experienced attorney. Even if the other party was clearly at fault, filing an insurance claim on your own will likely result in a low payout.

Insurance companies have a slew of tactics to avoid financial responsibility for accidents. Negotiating with an unrepresented claimant is much easier than with an attorney. Do yourself a favor and contact a bicycle accidents lawyer as soon as possible.

Bicycle Laws in Illinois

To reiterate, bicyclists in Illinois have similar rights as motorists. However, there are a few specific rules they need to follow:

  • A bicycle must not carry more people than it is designed to hold.
  • Bicyclists must stay within the designated bike lanes.
  • Bicyclists cannot cling to vehicles while riding.

In regards to helmets, Illinois does not have a statewide mandate requiring bicyclists to wear them. However, we strongly recommend that all bicyclists wear helmets while riding – especially in the city. Roughly one-third of bicycle accident injuries are to the head – and 54% of fatalities involve non-helmet-wearing bicyclists.

Over to You

Bicycle season is upon us in Illinois. Your safety and the safety of those around you is the most important thing to remember on the road. Fortunately, Chicago is making positive strides to reduce bicycle accidents in the city. The city’s bike lanes will have protective concrete barriers by the end of 2023.

Even with all the safety precautions, bicycling in any city is a dangerous affair. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car vs bicycle accident, you have options to seek compensation. At Midwest Injury Lawyers, we specialize in helping victims of bike accidents earn the justice they deserve. For any questions or concerns about injury law, get in touch with our team today.

Give us a call at (312) 786-5881 or send us a message to get started.

Request a Free Consultation

Tell our experienced team about your accident and/or injuries. One of our personal injury attorneys will contact you to schedule a free case evaluation. Remember: you won’t pay for anything unless we secure a compensation on your behalf.

Call (312) 786-5881 or send us a message online to get started.