Even though they are much smaller in size and powered by human activity (as opposed to an engine), bicycles do represent a potential threat on the roads. They share the roads with large vehicles and trucks and can be the cause of traffic accidents. As such, bicyclists on the roads can be held liable for traffic accidents and the injuries that follow.
In a large city like Chicago, motorists typically have antipathy for bicycles on the roadways. Sharing a busy street with their larger motorized counterparts, the difference in size of their vehicle does not absolve bicyclists from the responsibility of following the rules of the road.
Cutting corners when on the roads can lead to dangerous accidents whether you are a driver or bicyclist and courts find bicyclists responsible when their own negligence in a traffic situation lead to injuries (caused by the bicycle or even other cars). Making unsafe lane changes or ignoring traffic signals when on a bicycle can easily lead to cars and trucks swerving in traffic, which in turn can lead to larger accidents or injuries.
So, for instance, if a bicyclist comes to a stop light in a north/south bound street of a busy intersection, and there is a lull in oncoming traffic in the east/west bound traffic and decides to ignore the stop light and ride through the intersection and misjudges the oncoming traffic while exiting the intersection, they pose a traffic hazard when violating the rules of the road. If a car in through-way traffic swerves beyond the median to avoid the bicyclist and hits a car the driver failed to see in oncoming traffic, the cyclist could be held liable for resulting injuries and damages because their traffic violation caused the accident.
Though they share the road with large vehicles and trucks, bicycles are much smaller and less powerful vehicles. As such, bicyclists should take every precaution when on the roads with their larger, faster and more powerful counterparts. Larger vehicles have an inherent protection that bicycles simply do not provide.
Bicycling while under the influence is extremely dangerous on today’s busy streets. The National Highway Traffic Administration reports that 20% of bicyclists killed in accidents on the roads in 2013 had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
Additionally, be smart and ensure when you are on the roads you can be seen. Wearing reflective gear and installing blinking lights will help drivers to see you are present on the road in conditions where vision may be obscured in some way (poorly lit roads or foggy conditions).
If you have been injured in a traffic accident and would like the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney, call the offices of Bizzieri Law in Chicago at 773.881.9000. We will work hard to recover all of the damages to which you are entitled.