Friday, July 13, 2012

Chicago Bike Injury Attorney Offers Suggestions On Avoiding Bicycle Accidents

My friend Jonathan Rosenfeld is a personal injury lawyer in Chicago who handles bike accident cases in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Unlike the sunny climate in California which allows bicyclists to take to the street all year, bicycling in Chicago is a fairly seasonal activity for many which leaves many cyclists vulnerable to crashes due to their unfamiliarity with the most frequent circumstances involving bicycle crashes.

Road accidents are a major cause of deaths and injuries regardless of which city you live in. Unlike most car accidents, biking accidents are generally more severe in nature because a bike offers little protection from impact with a colliding car or impact with the pavement. The good news is that with a bit of knowledge, bicycle accidents also remain one of most avoidable road accidents. Evaluating accident crash data and other statistical information now allows both drivers and bicylclists the opportunity to be mindful of the mistakes that others have made-- and take necessary precautions.

Collisions At Crossroads

Biking accidents are most likely to take place at street intersections or crossroads, near parked cars, at turns and while changing lanes. Biking accidents at crossroads happen when there is a perpendicular crash between a biker and a car or other vehicle. While both parties have a duty to keep a proper lookout as they approach an intersection, many drivers simply fail to see approaching cyclists. Knowing this, people riding bikes should slow as they approach an intersection, both to allow themselves and opportunity to look both ways, but also to given themselves an opportunity to stop if they need to. Similarly most bicycle safety experts suggest to proceed through intersections at a moderate speed to reduce the change of a crash with a driver turning left in front of your path of travel.

Crashes While Changing Lanes

When a biker switches to another lane while driving, he is vulnerable to be slammed from behind by any vehicle that was already in the lane. The reasons behind this type of accidents commonly involves a singular story- some thing quickly appears in the bicyclists lane of travel. In order to avoid the imminent collision, the cyclist instinctively changes lanes to an imminent crash. While this maneuver may indeed have prevented one crash, a rapid change of lanes frequently means that a bicyclist has avoided one hazard only to put himself at risk for another.

Particularly in congested areas, it is crucial that cyclists understand that obstacles can ready appear-- even in protected bike lanes. Therefore bicyclists should always ride defensively and think about how where they can safely steer in situations to avoid a pending crash. If there is no immediate 'out' cyclists should simply proceed slowly in order for them to stop as needed.

Dooring Accidents

This is a very common cause of injury to bikers. It occurs basically due to the ignorance of the passengers/driver traveling in the car who don’t see bikers coming from behind and ultimately open the car door in his immediate path of travel. Sometimes dooring accidents result in a direct impact between the biker and the open car door. In others, while there may be no contact between the cyclist and the door of the vehicle, the cyclist is actually seriously injured when they veer into traffic to avoid an imminent dooring.

Rather than assume that drivers and passengers in vehicles will look before opening a door, a biker should remain aware that parked cars commonly equate to dooring incidents. When possible, should remain at least four feet from parked cars. Lastly, because a significant number of dooring incidents result in a brain injury to the cyclist, the use of a bike helmet remains one of the best defensive acts that a bicycle rider can take.

Left Handed Turns By Drivers

Turning cars remain a very serious threat to bicyclists, typically because most cyclists never see the turning vehicle prior to impact. There's little doubt that in the majority of cases where a bicyclist was injured by a turning vehicle that the driver of the vehicle is indeed at fault. However, it is important for cyclists to remember that as a user of the road, they have the same responsibility to abide by traffic laws as the other cars and trucks on the roadway. Only following rules of the road and proceeding at a safe speed can realistically reduce the chances of a cyclist getting struck by a turning vehicle.

Jonathan is the founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers. You can learn more about the work that Jonathan does for injured bicyclists and other victims of personal injury cases by contacting him below:

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers
33 North Dearborn Street, #1930
Chicago, IL 60602
(888) 424-5757

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