A Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyer Discusses
A teen bicyclist from Chicago has tragically died due to injuries he sustained following a mid-December crash with a big commercial vehicle driven by a trucker who was cited for failure to yield.
The truck v. bicycle collision happened on Dec. 10, 2021, when a reckless trucker made a turn into a driveway on the 4000 block of South Ashland Avenue - right into the path of a 16-year-old boy on a bicycle. The boy was struck and pronounced dead at the scene, according to local news reports.
This fatal crash marks at least the sixth time a turning trucker has killed a Chicago cyclist since 2016. It's also a reminder of the city's ongoing struggle to improve roadway safety for vulnerable users like cyclists and pedestrians.
Common Causes of Fatal Bicycle Crashes
Failure to yield is Chicago's No. 1 factor in fatal accidents, according to city data. Between 2018 and 2020, 42 people died in failure-to-yield crashes. Overall the most common incident factors in fatal city crashes are (from most to least common):
- Failure to yield right of way
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Improper backing up
A Need For Bike Lanes
While failure to yield was a major factor in the recent fatal crash, bike safety advocates also note that the roadway in question was far from ideal for cyclists.
The part of South Ashland Avenue is a four-lane, fast-moving street with no bike lane. The teen had been biking on the sidewalk at the time of the crash. You're not supposed to ride on sidewalks in Chicago unless you are age 11 or younger, but it may have seemed like the safest choice at the time.
Chicago is adding more bike lanes, but it takes time. Upcoming safety projects include 100 miles of expanded bicycle network - which would bring the network up to 400 miles throughout the city. The project has a lot in store for Chicago's South and West sides.
In 2021, expanded bike lanes were added to (or will soon be added to) the following streets:
- 119th Street - Ashland to Halsted
- Clark Street - Edgewater to Devon
- Damen Avenue - Fullerton to Diversey
- Roscoe/Campbell - Belmont to Western
- Taylor Street - Morgan to Canal
- Woodlawn Avenue - 111th to Olive Harvey College
Chicago's Bike-Safe Plan
A large and diverse city, Chicago safety advocates and officials are in the midst of a long-range plan to renovate and build 645 miles of bicycle lanes and trails throughout the city. Still, much more work must be done to improve cyclist safety.
One of the more effective safety improvements occurred when the City Council passed a bylaw setting higher standards for truck safety. Since 2016, any business with a $2 million or greater contract with the city must install truck side guards to prevent pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.
Last summer (June 2020) the equipment is credited, at least in part, with preventing the death of a cyclist injured in Avondale by a right-turning truck.
Legal Help is Available
As the leading firm in Chicago handling personal injury and wrongful death cases for bicyclists and their families, Keating Law Offices, P.C. is committed to holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions and helping injured cyclists get the justice they deserve
Our attorneys are national leaders in cycling law and advocacy, and we've prosecuted more bicycle-related lawsuits in Illinois than any other firm in the state. If you're in Chicago and you were injured or a loved one died in a bicycle crash, we are the law firm you want to call.
Learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago bicycle accident attorney.