Statistics have been released for the number of people killed in Chicago during 2012 while walking or riding bicycles. The numbers are incredible. Last year there were 48 pedestrians and eight cyclists killed. This means that walking was six times more dangerous than riding a bicycle.
The 48 pedestrians who lost their lives in 2012 is the highest number of pedestrians killed since 2008, when 52 pedestrians were killed. The 48 deaths in 2012 represent approximately a 40% increase over the 35 killed in 2011 and roughly a 60% increase over the number of fatalities in 2009 and 2010.
The number of fatalities from cycling has for the most part remained the same over the last few years. There were eight people killed in bicycle related accidents in 2012, only slightly higher than prior years. However, the number of bicycle related accidents that were actually reported to Chicago police has grown by a whopping 38% over the last 10 years, from 2001 to 2011. This could very well be related to the increased popularity of cycling during this time span.
Some blamed the increase in pedestrian and cyclist fatalities on the extraordinarily mild weather in 2012. People were out earlier than usual due to the mild winter and able to enjoy the outdoors, potentially creating the possibility for more accidents.
However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the increase in fatalities in each of these categories is distracted driving. Not a day goes by that you don’t see people driving while distracted. The distraction can take many forms, including putting on makeup, reading, eating, drinking, texting, talking on cellphones or searching for something in their vehicle. The distractions are numerous and they are all important components in the increased death toll for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The trend in Chicago is similar to the increase nationally, according to NHTSA. The 2012 data available reveals a seven percent increase over the same nine months of 2011. This increase is the most since NHTSA began gathering data on traffic deaths nearly 40 years ago.
When pedestrians or cyclists are involved in accidents, they often receive serious injuries or lose their lives since they have very little or no protection. Injuries might range from head injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures or even death. Medical costs and the loss of income from being unable to work can be devastating to the injured person. These losses can be recovered from a distracted driver if it can be shown that their negligence was the cause of the accident and the resulting injuries or wrongful death. The negligent act causing the accident can be anything, including driver inattention, driving too fast, not keeping a safe distance, failing to swerve, falling asleep or even driving under the influence.
If the distracted driver causing your injuries is uninsured or only carries the minimum required limits of liability, it is possible to make a claim for your medical expenses and other losses incurred in the accident under your own automobile insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Under that provision of your policy, you can recover for being hit by someone with no insurance, a hit-and-run driver or someone who has insurance but insufficient liability limits to cover your losses.
If you have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one as a result of a pedestrian or bicycle accident, you need to seek the advice of a Chicago personal injury lawyer with a proven track record.