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Frequently Asked Questions

Unlike pedestrians, bicyclists do not automatically have the right of way. Instead, they must follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles. This includes stopping at stop signs, obeying traffic lights, stopping to yield to pedestrians, and riding on the correct side of the ride.

There is currently no law in Edwardsville stating whether or not you have to wear a helmet, but it strongly encouraged. A helmet can prevent serious head injuries.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the accident. If a lawsuit is not filed within that time frame, you may not be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. It is important to call a lawyer as soon as possible.

Edwardsville Cycling Statistics

Amongst more than 200 new laws implemented by the Illinois state government that took effect on January 1st, 2018, HB 2895 named cycling the state’s official exercise. With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s just a matter of time before two-wheel traffic starts to flood the MCT trails. Cycling just recently has been dubbed the official exercise of Illinois but has long been the preferred means of exercise and travel for many.

Madison County, Illinois has more than 130 miles of riding trails available to the public, attracting cycling enthusiasts from all around the greater St. Louis area. Unfortunately, the high number of cyclists also means there are increased chances of bicycle accidents. In the United State alone:

  • 818 bicyclist deaths occurred due to a collision with a vehicle in 2015.
  • 88% of those killed in a collision with a vehicle are men.
  • $4 billion in estimated costs of bicycle injury and wrongful death occur each year.
  • 1 in 3 bicycle injuries is due to collisions with a car.

 

Fortunately, an experienced TorHoerman Law Edwardsville bicycle accident lawyer can help if you were involved in a bicycle accident. Our Edwardsville injury law office represents injured individuals through a number of legal services, including bike accidents.

 

Edwardsville Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Simple bicycle accidents usually are caused by an individual’s mistake and result in minor injuries. However, a bicycle accident involving an automobile will likely result in more serious injuries and liability falls on the negligent party.

Drivers hold an obligatory duty of care to bicyclists on the road. There is an increased duty of care when the cyclist is a child. Cyclists also hold some duty of care to drivers, but this duty significantly decreases for children.

Most bike and car collisions involve children, unfortunately. To counter this issue, the court places increased duty on vehicles operating near children. If a person is driving in an area in which they are aware of or they can at least expect with a degree of certainty that children will be present, they must exercise “unusual care.” These areas include schools, parks, subdivisions, and residential neighborhoods. Some districts even have “tender years” statutes that say very young children are unable to demonstrate a duty of care and are therefore not capable of contributory negligence.

The expectation of “unusual care” requires drivers to act above a normal state of awareness and caution. The driver can be held liable, even if he or she met the normal expectations of the duty of care if a child is involved in the accident. This is not to say a driver will always be held liable in this event, but the driver will need to prove that he or she displayed increased attentiveness and caution.

 

Driver Negligence vs. Bicyclist Negligence

Like most other personal injuries, the liability falls on the individual(s) who displayed negligence. In car-bicycle collisions, shared liability is more likely the case. In a shared liability case, both parties displayed at least some negligence resulting in the accident. The parties will need to arbitrate the damages based on each party’s perceived level of liability, known as the comparative negligence rule.

If the bicyclist believes that the driver is at fault, they must prove that the accident occurred because of the driver’s negligence. To do so, the bicyclist will need to establish the following argument – any violations of the laws of the road are considered “negligence per se” showing that the driver broke the law is enough to hold them at least partially accountable for the accident.

 

10 Cyclist Safety Tips

Before you take advantage of the thousands of miles of beautiful public nature trails that surround the area, our Edwardsville bicycle accident lawyer is here to offer some advice on how to stay safe while still having fun. Most bicycle injuries that occur are actually easily avoidable. We cannot guarantee that after reading this guide you won’t fall off your bike or have a minor accident. But, what we can guarantee is that if you do have an accident, you are far less likely to suffer a personal injury if you follow these tips. Some of these tips may seem obvious and unnecessary, like our first tip: wear your helmet. Highlighting the importance of wearing a helmet may seem unnecessary, but it may also influence you to actually wear your helmet, which would drastically decrease the chances of an unnecessary injury. Learn more about the helmet laws in your state. 

  1. WEAR YOUR HELMET – this should be tip 1 through 100. It seems like a no-brainer, but according to a Gallop poll conducted in 2008, only 35-50% of cyclists admit to wearing a helmet. Did you know that a majority of bicyclist wrongful deaths result from serious head injury? Wearing your helmet can reduce the odds of head injury by 50%, and the odds of head, face or neck injury by 33%.
  2. Pack at least one bottle of water. Depending on the distance of your ride, you may need to pack a few. It’s not a bad idea to drink some water before you leave the house either.
  3. Map out your route before you leave to go on a leisurely ride. Nothing is worse than going for a fun ride around the trails, only to get lost.
  4. Wear bright-colored clothing whenever you are riding. Make sure that you have reflective material on your clothes so that cars can recognize you from a distance, especially at night.
  5. If you are going to share the road with cars, you have to follow the traffic laws just like anyone else. Ride only on the right-hand side of the road, never into oncoming traffic. Yield for pedestrians. Obey all traffic signs and lights. Use your hands to signal turns appropriately. If you choose not to follow these traffic laws, and you are involved in an accident, you can be held liable for negligence just like anyone else on the road.
  6. Ride with friends – it’s not only more fun but safer, too.
  7. If you are riding alone, give a friend or family member your riding itinerary. It doesn’t have to be a detailed list, just let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back.
  8. Bring a cell phone with you and make sure it is charged. If you run into problems – an accident, an issue with your bicycle, getting lost, etc. – It may be hard to reach out for help. Keep a cell phone around so that you can reach out to friends, family or emergency responders if you need to.
  9. Always have an eye out for road crossways and keep your head on a swivel when crossing the road. The MCT trails run along old train tracks, a majority of which pass through the rural countryside of Madison County. There are a lot of MCT trail intersections that run perpendicular to old state highways. While there are signs on these highways warning of MCT crossings, they are not always easily visible to drivers.
  10. Wear your helmet! Yeah, we know that we already mentioned it a couple of times. But it’s just that important.

 

TorHoerman Law, Edwardsville Bicycle Accident Law Firm

Were you involved in a bicycle accident and have unanswered questions about your accident? Contact an experienced Edwardsville bicycle accident lawyer for a free consultation to discuss confidential or time-sensitive information and learn about your legal options today.

If you suffered injuries, property damage, or other losses as a result of a bike accident, you may be entitled to compensation through legal action. Talk to an Edwardsville bicycle accident lawyer from TorHoerman Law today.

Want to find out if you qualify for compensation right now? Use our chatbot to receive a free, instant online case evaluation.

 

 

“Bicycle Helmet Laws.” Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, Helmets.org, www.helmets.org/mandator.htm.

“Statistics” Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, Helmets.org, helmets.org/stats.htm.

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