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Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

When bikers wear dark clothes, it’s much harder for drivers to see the bicyclist, especially at night. This is because dark colors absorb light, while light colors reflect it. So, when a bicyclist wears dark clothes, they are basically blending in with the background, which makes it difficult for drivers to see a bicyclist coming.

The Chicago bicycle lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer are aware of a peer-reviewed study that found that cyclists wearing dark clothing are more likely to be involved in a crash at night than cyclists wearing light clothing.  The study also found that not all reflective clothing or equipment works the same.  According to the study, “Drivers recognised more cyclists wearing the reflective vest plus reflectors (90%) than the reflective vest alone (50%), fluorescent vest (15%) or black clothing (2%). Older drivers recognised the cyclists less often than younger drivers (51% vs 27%). ”  The study’s findings suggest that “reflective ankle and knee markings are particularly valuable at night, while fluorescent clothing is not. Cyclists wearing fluorescent clothing may be at particular risk if they incorrectly believe themselves to be conspicuous to drivers at night.”

Therefore, bicyclists who drive in the dark, should buy reflective ankle and knee markings at a minimum, in addition with reflective clothing.  Bicyclists should wear reflective clothing. Reflective materials help drivers see the bicyclists at night, even in low-light conditions.

Chicago is a city that says it loves its bikes. Chicago has over 1,800 miles of bike lanes and paths. But with so many cyclists on the road riding alongside automobiles, it is important to keep in mind the rules of the road and to share the space safely.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer have seen an increase in injuries to bikers.  Many of these injuries could have been prevented if drivers and bicyclists keep certain safety rules in mind.

Drivers should obey the speed limit, especially in areas with bike lanes.  Bicyclists are more vulnerable to injury in a collision and their injuries tend to be very serious.  Therefore, drivers must look for cyclists before turning or changing lanes.  Additionally, drivers should signal their intention to give cyclists time to react to the automobile movements. Chicago law requires drivers to leave at least three feet of space when passing a cyclist, to give the cyclists enough room to maneuver safely.  Drivers should not park in a bike lane as this is both illegal and dangerous for bicyclists. Continue reading

As e-bikes gain popularity in Chicago, questions surrounding their safety in bike lanes alongside traditional bicycles arise. As personal injury attorneys in Chicago, we have seen accidents involving e-bikes increase, particularly when they share bike lanes with traditional bicycles.  Here we will take a closer look at Illinois’ e-bike law and explore the safety concerns that come with e-bike usage in bike lanes, on bicycle paths, and on sidewalks.

E-bikes, or electric bicycles, are equipped with electric motors that assist the rider in pedaling. In an effort to regulate e-bikes and ensure safety for all cyclists, Illinois has introduced a law amending the Illinois Vehicle Code. The law classifies e-bikes into three categories based on their speed and motor assistance capabilities:

  • Class 1 low-speed electric bicycle: Motor assistance only when the rider is pedaling, ceasing assistance at 20 mph.

In personal injury cases and the legal field in general, it is crucial to look for and understand the relevant definitions. This is because the precise meaning of words and phrases can greatly impact the interpretation of laws, statutes, and court decisions. By thoroughly examining and understanding the definitions, the Chicago personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer  can make more accurate and persuasive arguments to support our clients’ claims.  For example, not long ago, the Illinois Supreme Court had to face the issue whether the definition of  “low speed gas bicycle” is constitutionally vague and whether a bicycle that does not meet the definition as in fact not a bicycle.

The case arose when State of Illinois charged a bicyclists with driving a motor vehicle with a revoked license.  The defendant, John Plank was driving a gas bicycle and he argued that his bicycle was not a motor vehicle. A police officer  observed John Plank riding a motorized bicycle down a Douglas County road at a speed of 26 miles per hour. According to the officer’s testimony, motorized bikes were allowed to travel up to 19 miles per hour, and upon reaching 20 miles per hour, they require a valid driver’s license, insurance, and registration. The officer described Plank’s bicycle as powered by “a weed-eater motor” and noted that it was not registered in Illinois. Although the bicycle had pedals in addition to its gasoline motor, the officer testified that he did not see Plank pedaling.  The police officer signaled for Plank to stop, and Plank admitted that his license was revoked.

The Illinois Vehicle Code prohibits anyone with a revoked driver’s license from driving a “motor vehicle.” 625 ILCS 5/6-303(a)   The code defines “low-speed gas bicycle” as a “2 or 3-wheeled device with fully operable pedals and a gasoline motor of less than one horsepower, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 miles per hour.” Id. § 1-140.15.



Electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular as a mode of transportation in Chicago due to their eco-friendliness and convenience. However, they can be dangerous if not used properly. According to a study by Reuters, there were 3,075 e-bike injuries in the US in 2018 alone.

If you’re involved in an electric bike accident and you’re not at fault, you may be able to recover financially for your injuries. Some of the damages that you may be able to recover are compensatory damages that include anything lost due to the accident including payment for medical bills current and future.

If you’re considering purchasing or renting  an electric bike, it’s important to keep in mind that they can reach high speeds. This means that if you’re involved in an accident while riding one, it can be more severe than if you were on a regular bike.  If you’re ever involved in an electric bike accident and need legal assistance, the personal injury lawyers of Zneimer and Zneimer may be able to help you.

Bicycling is an increasingly popular mode of transportation in Chicago and many other cities around the world.  There are many benefits that bicycling offers, including improved health and environmental friendliness, there is a downside to this form of transportation: personal injury.

The Chicago bicycle attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer have seen an increase in bicycling accidents.  Unlike an accident that includes two vehicles, even a low speed accident involving bicyclists can result in more serious injury or even death. In 2018, the Chicago Department of Transportation reported that there were 1,187 crashes involving bicycles, with 6 fatal accidents. This number has continued to rise in recent years, and it’s important for both cyclists and drivers to understand the risks involved in order to prevent accidents from occurring.

The most common cause of bicycle accidents in Chicago is due to drivers not paying attention to cyclists. There are increasing sources of distractions to drivers that results in distracted driving. Drivers may be distracted by their phones, other passengers, or simply not looking for cyclists. Additionally, some drivers may not be familiar with the rules of the road as they apply to cyclists, and may therefore make mistakes that can lead to accidents.

Our personal injury law firm litigates a fair number of bicycle injury cases.  In some cases the opposing party argues that the bicyclist was negligent because the bicyclist wore dark clothes, which made the biker difficult to spot.  The Illinois Rules of the Road caution bicyclists to “Be Visible” and the color of the clothes often becomes part of the litigation.

The law asks what a reasonable bicyclist would do and a reasonable bicyclist follows the rules.  Therefore, it is fair to argue that a reasonable bicyclist will ensure that they are visible.

Safety research shows that clothes that are bright or fluorescent and reflective increase safety.  For example, according to OSHA, workers who are exposed to vehicular traffic or are working in low-light conditions should wear high-visibility clothing that meets ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 standards. The standards outline the requirements for design, color, and reflectivity of high-visibility clothing, including vests, jackets, and other garments. While OSHA regulations do not apply to bicyclists, it is still recommended for cyclists to wear clothing in bright or fluorescent colors for increased visibility and safety. The use of exciter colors for biking in combination with reflective materials can provide an even higher level of visibility, especially in low-light conditions. Wearing appropriately visible clothing improves biking in a number of ways:

  • Increased Visibility: Wearing bright and exciter colors can make cyclists more visible to drivers and other road users, especially in low-light conditions or during inclement weather. This can reduce the risk of accidents as drivers are more likely to see the cyclist and respond appropriately.
  • Improved Safety: Fluorescent colors are highly reflective, which means they can be seen from a greater distance. This can give cyclists an added margin of safety, especially when riding in traffic or on busy roads.
  • Improved Awareness: By wearing bright and exciter colors, cyclists can attract the attention of other road users and make them aware of their presence. This can help reduce the risk of accidents, as drivers and pedestrians are more likely to anticipate the movements of the cyclist and respond accordingly.
  • Better Identification: Wearing bright clothing can help identify the cyclist as a person on a bike, making it easier for drivers to distinguish between cyclists and other road users, such as pedestrians or runners;
  • Improved Confidence: When a cyclist is more visible and feels more visible, they can ride with more confidence, which can reduce stress and help them enjoy their ride.

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The Chicago bicycle lawyers note that by the end of this year Chicago will have added more than 125 miles of new bike lanes and paths since 2020, creating a bike system with more than 400 miles. By the end of 2024 that number is expected to rise to a total of 500 miles. As the number of new bike lane miles has increased in Chicago and has generally been seen as a positive thing for city transportation, the issue of protecting bicyclist using those bike lanes has grown with the increase of lanes. Through the years many bike advocates have voiced their concern with the safety of bicyclist and have called for more protected bike lanes.

As part of a plan to give cyclist more protection Chicago has announced and initiated an infrastructural plan to protect bike lanes by implementing concrete curbs that act as a barrier from traffic lanes. The city looks to add 25 miles of protected bike lanes by upgrading 15 miles of current protected bike lanes and adding 10 new additional miles of protected bike lanes. By the end of this year the city will have hoped to have 70% of protected bike lanes be guarded by curb barriers.

Even as the city waits for the development and completion of concrete protected bike lanes, Chicago saw further fatalities this past summer, with at least two of those accidents involving children riding in the bike lane. A common issue in these types of accidents is when a vehicle is illegally parked in the bike lane which forces a bicyclist to have to go around the parked vehicle into a lane of traffic, thereby endangering the bicyclist.

A newly passed ordinance looks to address this problem and make it easier to enforce bike lane safety through the issuance of tickets to vehicles parked in bike lanes, increasing the fines for such tickets, increasing the number of agencies who can issue tickets, and requiring signs that warn of a closed bike lane. These measures for the time being, are a good step in the right direction, to ensure that bicyclists are safe when riding, until concrete curbed bike lanes are completed.

Still, many doubt the effectiveness of more efficient and expansive ticketing the ordinance brings since many vehicle operators have not been Continue reading

Chicago Andre Vasquez has proposed streamlining the process to have cars and trucks towed that are blocking a bike lane.  Alderman Vasquez commented that: “cars just don’t care.  They’re parking there, waiting there. double-parking there.  Even when we had the Department of Finance ticket them, they weren’t moving.  By giving the Department of Finance the ability to tow them, it would incentivize people not to do it so they don’t get their towed.”

Additionally, the proposed ordinance would require signs to be posted that a bike lane will be closed 24 hours in advance whenever a permit is issued to do work that would close a bike lane.

The Alderman’s proposal was in response to a tragic accident that occurred on June 9, 2022 where a mother on a bicycle with a toddler named Lily seated in a carrier was riding down Leland Avenue bike lane.  Lily’s mother came upon a ComEd truck that was parked in the bike lane doing work.  Lily’s mother attempted to steer around the truck parked in the bike lane and was forced to maneuver by a semi-truck.  The semi-truck began to move causing Lily’s mother to lose her balance which caused Lily to be thrown to the roadway under the wheels of the semi.  Alderman Vasquez stated that he firmly believes that Lily would still be alive if his proposed ordinance were in affect at the time this incident occurred.



On May 18th, Chicagoans joined cyclists worldwide in the Ride of Silence to honor those who have been killed in bike crashes. In 2021 and 2022, at least eleven cyclists have been killed locally, including notable figures such as School of Rock star Kevin Clark and architect Helmut Jahn. Cycling-related deaths have been getting more attention lately, and not just because of the fame of some victims. The problem is getting worse, with a spike in deaths over the past few years. It is also increasingly being viewed as an avoidable problem, one that could be mitigated with infrastructural changes that protect cyclists.

Groups like the Active Transportation Alliance are pushing for things like protected bike lanes to be expanded so that cyclists are less vulnerable to vehicles on city streets. Specifically, they are asking for more safety measures on the busiest of cycling streets, such as Milwaukee Avenue, where accidents are more frequent. Advocates highlight the urgency of such measures by pointing to the growth in cycling and the expansion of services like Divvy bikes. More bicycles on the road means more accidents, some of them fatal, if cities do not take extra precautions. Continue reading

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