Cyclists and motorists in Chicago may have to take more care while they are riding around the city or else face steeper fines for safety violations. According to a recent news article, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seeking to raise fines for cyclists who disobey traffic laws and for drivers and passengers who “door” a cyclist, that is, one who opens a vehicle door in the path of an oncoming rider. Injuries to cyclists and motorists alike can range from minor cuts and scrapes to more serious matters such as broken bones, head trauma and even death. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle or car accident, it is important to contact an experienced, local attorney to help determine your right to compensation for injuries.
In what seems to be a companion effort to the Mayor’s investment in creating protected bicycle lanes throughout the city, the proposed increase in fines are meant to encourage riders to obey traffic laws, to increase safety for all vehicles sharing the roads. Cyclists who violate traffic laws currently receive a fine of $25. That amount would increase to a range from $50 to $200, depending on the particular violation and the severity of the infraction. The Mayor has emphasized that in order to share the roads with motor vehicles, cyclists are expected to follow all traffic laws, including stopping at traffic signals, yielding to pedestrians and even indicating when they are making turns. Many cyclists fail to heed traffic laws, either because they don’t realize that they are subject to them or they just choose not to.
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration, in 2011, 677 “pedalcyclists” were killed, and an additional 48,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide. As for local statistics, reference to a website maintained by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for planning indicates that bicycle crashes rose approximately 11% in 2010, when compared to 2009. There is some speculation that the increase in accidents may be a result of an increasing number of cyclists on the roads. With these numbers in mind, it should come as no surprise that government officials are seeking to make the roads safer.
Motorists will also have to pay closer attention to obeying traffic laws, especially ones pertaining to cyclists. In the spring of 2011, Governor Pat Quinn announced that the state would begin tracking “dooring” crashes. Currently, a motorist or passenger who doors a cyclist receives a $500 fine. The proposed change would raise that amount to $1000 per incident. Fines will also increase for motorists who simply leave their vehicle door open in traffic from $150 to $300. It is hoped that these fine hikes will encourage the people of Chicago to take notice and make the roads safer for all citizens, and possibly even encourage more people to use bicycles for transportation.
When involved in an accident while riding a bicycle, the bicyclist has the same rights to receive compensation as motorists do in vehicle accidents. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident it is imperative that you contact an experienced injury attorney who understands the laws as they apply to bicycle accidents.
David K. Kremin & Associates, P.C. have been helping citizens in Chicago and throughout the state recover damages for injuries sustained as a result of a bicycle accident. Our firm has a reputation for success and we have recently been awarded $60 million for our clients. We can help you to maximize your recovery.
Contact us at (800) 275-2529 or online to discuss your case with one of our experienced attorneys. We offer a no obligation consultation and you will never owe us a fee unless we obtain a settlement for you.