New Law In Illinois Aims To Protect Bicyclists

As of January 1st, 2011, Illinois drivers face tough penalties for crowding and tailgating a bicyclist. A driver who seriously hurts a bicyclist could face two to five years in prison and fines up to $25,000.00. As a Chicago personal injury attorney and an avid bicyclist, I appreciate how dangerous it is to bike in the city of Chicago, even without motorists tailgating and driving too close to bikers. The summer of 2010 also brought biker horror stories of drivers in a rage intentionally driving close to bikers and in some cases intentionally ramming them. The new law is a first step in protecting bikers. What is really needed however are separate bike lanes for bicyclists that motorists cannot drive in like they have in cities like Portland, Oregon. I have seen even police cars drive in the bike lanes that Chicago has painted along side the road, along with taxi cabs and every other motor vehicle, creating many opportunities for collisions with bicyclists. When there is a collision between a bicyclist and a motorist, it is never a real contest, the bicyclist always loses.