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Preventing Accidents Between Bicycles and Motor Vehicles

 Posted on May 10, 2017 in Bicycle Accidents

Preventing Accidents Between Bicycles and Motor VehiclesWhen it comes to bicycles and motor vehicles on streets, Illinois calls itself a “Share the Road” state. Bicyclists have the same right to be on the road as drivers and must be treated with respect. A driver who injuries a bicyclist in an accident can be charged with a class 3 felony. A driver involved in an accident with a bicyclist may be at fault if the driver:

  • Does not give the bicyclist at least three feet of space when passing;
  • Recklessly drives towards a bicyclist;
  • Attempts to intimidate a bicyclist; or
  • Violates a driving law.

Shared Responsibility

A bicyclist can suffer catastrophic injuries if struck by a car and may be able to receive financial compensation if the driver is liable. However, the bicyclist’s personal injury case can be weakened if he or she was acting recklessly. Bicyclists must follow the same laws as drivers, but some break common road rules because bicycles are more maneuverable than cars and can squeeze through tighter spaces. A responsible driver may not be able to avoid an accident if the bicyclist is acting unpredictably. There are laws and safety guidelines you must follow to protect yourself when riding your bicycle alongside motor vehicles:

  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic is driving. You may feel safer being able to see oncoming vehicles, but it is illegal and dangerous. Drivers are not expecting a bicyclist going the wrong way down a road.
  • Ride as far to the right side of the street as reasonable. You should only venture to the left if there is an obstacle, you need to pass someone or you need to turn left.
  • If there is another bicycle, ride single file and not next to each other.
  • Obey all traffic signals, road signs and pavement markings. This includes pedestrian walkways, because pedestrians have the right of way.
  • Use arm signals to show your intentions to drivers. Stick your left arm straight out to signal a left turn. For a right turn, either raise your left arm up at the elbow or stick your right arm straight out. When stopping, have your left arm pointing down at the elbow.
  • If you ride at night, the law requires that you have a front light that is visible 500 feet away and a red rear reflector that is visible 600 feet away. You should wear white or reflective clothing.

Personal Injury

Safe bicyclists can still be injured through no fault of their own. A Plainfield, IL, personal injury attorney at Flaherty Law, LLC can help you receive compensation from a liable driver. Call 815-577-7500 to schedule an appointment.


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