Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists often cause serious injury or death. These types of accidents also often have issues which distinguish them from other types of motor vehicle collisions. Dwyer & McDevitt has experience handling cases involving serious injury or death resulting from an accident involving a pedestrian or bicyclist. Some introductory information specific to these types of cases is included below. If you were injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist contact Dwyer & McDevitt today for a free case evaluation.
What are the rights of a pedestrians under Illinois law?
llinois law grants pedestrians the right-of-way at all crosswalks. Drivers of a car or truck must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within a crosswalk, slowing down or stopping as needed to yield to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling. A car or truck driver must also slow or stop his vehicle as needed when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
The obligation of a driver of a car or truck to slow or stop his vehicle in response to a pedestrian does not apply when the pedestrian is crossing between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation. That does not mean that a driver can simply run the pedestrian down if he or she is not in a crosswalk. The driver must still be careful to avoid colliding with a pedestrian under all circumstances.
Illinois law provides that no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard. This applies even when a crosswalk is present.
Illinois law further governs the conduct of a driver entering an intersection controlled by stop signs or flashing red signals that also has a crosswalk. Drivers of cars or trucks must stop before entering the nearest crosswalk and pedestrians within or entering the crosswalk at either side of the roadway have the right-of-way over vehicles that are stopped. The protection that is provided by the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code for pedestrians crossing at an intersection with crosswalks is substantial.
What if a pedestrian is crossing at an intersection without a marked crosswalk?
The law recognizes that not every intersection provides marked crosswalks. Pedestrians crossing at an intersection within an unmarked crosswalk have the same rights as those pedestrians at intersections with marked crosswalks. Drivers of cars or trucks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when they are crossing at an intersection with a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
What if the pedestrian is crossing the street outside of a crosswalk?
The Illinois Motor Vehicle Code provides that every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicles upon the roadway. This provision does not allow drivers to ignore pedestrians on the roadway. Illinois law provides that every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon the roadway. Drivers are also required to give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and must exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any incapacitated person upon a roadway. The issue of whether the driver of a vehicle or a pedestrian violated the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code in crossing a roadway is an issue for a jury to decide.
We have experience handling complex Chicago liability cases where pedestrians have been seriously injured by a motor vehicle, even when the pedestrian was not crossing in a crosswalk. By focusing on issues including the available lighting, distance traveled by the pedestrian in the roadway, ability of the driver to see the pedestrian and failure of the driver to take evasive action we have been successful in recovering compensation for our clients. If you have been seriously injured as a pedestrian, contact Dwyer & McDevitt for a free case consultation.
What rights does a bicyclist have on the roadway?
The Illinois Vehicle Code as well as the Municipal Code in most municipalities address the rights and duties of a bicyclist. The Illinois Vehicle Code provides that traffic laws apply to every person riding a bicycle upon the roadway. The bicyclist is granted all the rights and has all of the responsibilities applicable to the driver of a vehicle. In other words, stop signs, yield signs and other traffic signals are to be followed by bicyclists.
What about riding a bike on the sidewalk?
The Chicago Municipal Code as well as most other local Municipal Codes provide that no person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district. This includes children. The Code further provides that no persons 12 or more years of age shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in any district, unless the sidewalk has been designated and marked as a bicycle route. Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders must use the path and not the roadway.
The location where the collision occurs is critical. If the collision occurs not on the sidewalk but within the street or alley where a sidewalk ends, the provision of the Municipal Code may not be applicable. If the bicyclist falls and suffers injury as the result of a defect within the sidewalk itself, liability is unlikely given the provisions within the code. Issues regarding visibility, speed and the conduct of the driver of the motor vehicle must also be assessed.
Is the speed of the bicyclist important?
The Municipal Code provides that no person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than reasonable and prudent under the conditions. Whether a bicyclist is speeding depends upon a the location, condition of the roadway and the condition of traffic. The impact of the bicyclist’s speed varies greatly from case to case.
What if the driver of the car involved in the accident didn’t have enough insurance?
Bicyclists involved in motor vehicle accidents often suffer severe personal injury. The extent of the liability coverage underwritten on behalf of the defendant driver is therefore important. The amount of coverage may not be sufficient to satisfy the compensatory value of the injured bicyclist’s claim. If the insurance coverage underwritten on behalf of the defendant driver is insufficient to fully compensate the injured cyclist’s claim, it is important to look at all potential sources of recovery. Whether the bicyclist owns an automobile and the limits of coverage underwritten by that carrier must be considered.
Accidents involving a bicyclist often results in serious injury or death. The issues in these cases are different than those in accidents which involve only cars. Circumstances surrounding the collision, the conduct of the driver of the car, the conduct of the bicyclist and the nature of the injury suffered all affect whether compensation can be recovered.
The Illinois Vehicle Code
The Illinois Vehicle Code defines the appropriate conduct of a cyclist in a number of areas:
Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.
Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway is granted all of the rights and subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle;
A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing the pedestrian;
A person shall not ride a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk where such use of bicycles is prohibited by official traffic control devices;
A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the circumstances;
A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat;
No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than a number for which it is designed and equipped except that an adult may carry a securely attached child;
Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride as close as practical to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway unless they are overtaking and passing another bicycle, preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway or when reasonably necessary to avoid colliding with a fixed or moving object;
Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast;
Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet.
In addition to the Illinois Vehicle Code, the conduct of a bicyclist is governed by the applicable municipal code. The Municipal Code varies depending upon the community. The Chicago Municipal Code as well as most other local Municipal Codes provide the following:
No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within a business district. This provision includes children.
No persons 12 or more years of age shall ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk in any district, unless the sidewalk has been designated and marked as a bicycle route.
Whenever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway bicycle riders must use the path and not the roadway.
No person shall operate a bicycle at a speed greater than reasonable and prudent under the conditions.
The circumstances surrounding accidents involving pedestrians or bicycles must be considered to determine the liability of the drivers and likelihood of success in recovering compensation for the injured person. Dwyer & McDevitt has experience litigating cases on behalf of bicyclists who have suffered injury in such an accident. If you have suffered injury as the result of a bicycle accident and require legal assistance, our firm is available to help. Please contact our office for a free case evaluation.
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