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How the “Dutch Reach” Law Can Prevent Bicycle Accidents in Illinois

Posted on in Bicycle Accidents

Will County bike accident injury lawyerBiking can be a great workout and an environmentally sustainable way to commute to and from work. Unfortunately, thousands of cyclists are seriously injured in collisions involving motor vehicles every single year. According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 800 bicyclists were fatally injured in motor vehicle collisions throughout 2015, and an additional 45,000 American bicyclists suffered serious non-fatal injuries that year. If you or a loved one have been injured in a bicycle accident, it is time to contact a legal professional and learn about your options for pursuing compensation. 

The Dutch Reach Law

The number of bicycle accidents throughout the U.S. increased by 12% in 2015. This rise in bicyclist injuries has prompted a number of states to enact laws that increase bicycle safety. In January of 2019, Illinois became one of two states to adopt the “Dutch reach” law. This law updates road safety manuals to instruct motor vehicle users to exit their car by opening the door with their far-reaching hand. By using the opposite hand to exit the vehicle, passengers and drivers alike are forced to turn their body and face behind them, which will allow them to see any bicyclists near the vehicle and avoid opening their door into the bike’s path. Studies show that the Dutch reach can significantly lower the number of “dooring” accidents in which bicyclists are injured by car doors. 

Other Forms of Bicycle Accident Prevention 

While the newly implemented Dutch reach law should make a substantial difference in bicyclist safety, there are a few other simple steps you can take to increase your safety while riding your bike: 

  • Wear Your Helmet: Of all bicycle fatalities throughout 2015, over 50% of cyclists were not wearing their helmets. Helmets can help you avoid head injuries, from minor concussions to severe brain trauma. Next time you ride your bicycle, do yourself a favor and wear your helmet. 
  • Utilize Reflective Gear: In a large number of bicycle accidents involving motor vehicle collisions, the driver did not see the cyclist. By wearing reflective clothing and equipping your bike with reflectors and other lights, you can help drivers notice you on the road. When riding your bike at night-time, reflective gear is especially important. 
  • Follow Traffic Laws: Due to the limited protection that bicyclists have while riding, it is crucial to follow all traffic laws. By traveling at excessive speeds or ignoring traffic lights, you are putting yourself in unnecessary danger. If you have children that ride their bicycles, discussing traffic laws with them could make all the difference in ensuring that they arrive at their destination safely. 

Contact a Plainfield Bicycle Accident Lawyer

If you are injured in a collision with a motor vehicle while you are riding your bike, it is highly likely that your injuries were caused by the negligent actions of the driver. With years of experience representing injured clients within the state of Illinois, Attorney Daniel Flaherty is prepared to aggressively fight for the injury compensation you deserve. To schedule a complimentary meeting with an experienced Will County personal injury attorney, call our office today at 815-577-7500.  

Sources: 

http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/gov-dutch-reach-state-law-illinois-massachusetts.html

http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/factsheet_crash.cfm

https://helmets.org/stats.htm

 

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