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Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

The Illinois Supreme Court case of Galarza v. Direct Auto Insurance Co. represents a significant judicial decision impacting uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in Illinois. This case arose from an incident where Cristopher Guiracocha, a minor, was injured by an uninsured motorist while riding his bicycle.  His father’s automobile insurer, Direct Auto Insurance denied coverage to Christopher arguing that he was not insured since he was on a bicycle and not in a vehicle at the time of the accident.

The Circuit Court initially granted summary judgment in favor of Direct Auto, agreeing with their argument that UM coverage did not apply as Cristopher was not an occupant of a covered vehicle at the time of the accident.

On appeal, the issue centered on whether the policy’s limitation of UM coverage to insureds occupying an “insured automobile” violated section 143a of the Illinois Insurance Code and was against public policy. The appellate court reversed the circuit court’s decision, finding that the policy’s terms were inconsistent with the statute and public policy, mandating broad UM coverage for “persons insured” under an auto insurance policy.


Tragically, there have been three fatal bicycling related crashes in Cook County in the last three weeks.   The latest fatal bicycle accident occurred on October 23, 2023 at 8:00 pm in the 5100 block of N. Damen in Chicago.  This stretch of Damen Ave. is a very congested area, and there are only painted on bike lanes. This area is also notorious for crashes and close calls between bicyclists and cars.  The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. observe that it is well know that Chicago has a bad reputation for bike safety.  A bike safety advocacy group called PeopleForBikes assessed 163 large cities on how safe the cities were for cyclists and assigned a score.  The score was determined based on a cities grid connection and intersection safety, the number of protected bike lanes and the cities speed limits along with other factors.  The study ranked Chicago 161 out of 163 large cities for “bikeability” in 2023.  The city scored poorly in creating connecting bike lane routes,  providing protected bike lanes and establishing access to all neighborhoods and fundamental services.

Another big factor as to why Chicago scored so low is that PeopleForBikes assessment automatically considered a painted bike lane on a street with a 30 mph speed limit to be dangerous.  Since the default speed limit for streets in Chicago is 30 mph, almost all painted bike lanes in Chicago are considered dangerous by this standard.  The reason for this is that painted bike lanes typically run next to parked cars which expose the biker to being doored into the moving traffic or a bicyclist may have to make a sharp maneuver into moving traffic to avoid the door.  In such instances it would be much safer for the bicyclist if traffic were moving slower.

Chicago bicycle safety advocacy groups such as Active Transportation Alliance have been pushing for the completion of a fully interconnected bike network with protected bike lanes that would connect all of the cities neighborhoods.  Though such a network is far from reality, the good news for bicyclists is that Chicago  Mayor Brandon Johnson and many members of the city counsel have publicly supported a full bike network that would connect the whole city.  The bicycle accident lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. support the completion of a network of protected bike lanes in Chicago to help prevent deaths and serious injuries from bicycle accidents in the future.

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In recent years, Chicago has prioritized making the city safer for bicyclists. The lawyers of the personal injury  law firm of Zneimer & Zneimer, P.C. note that Chicago has added miles and miles of bike lanes across the city.  Some of these lanes are simply painted lines designating bike lanes.  In the best cases, the bike lanes are separated from motor vesicle traffic by some type of barrier.

In one study conducted by Clever, a real estate website rated cities based on how “bikeable” the city is, measuring factors like the number of bike trails, bike rentals shops and how many people were involved in fatal car crashes as a percentage of bike users.  This study rated Chicago 20th out of the 50 cities rated, finding that Chicago scored favorably as to the number of bike commuters and the number of fatal crashes along with other fact.

In a more robust study conducted by the People For Bikes organization, Chicago scored much worse.  This study focused primarily on whether the city had safe passage routes connecting the city in an interconnected network.  In this study, out of 1616 cities ranked, Chicago ranked 1386.  This study gave cities a “Network Score” based on the extent of a cities bike route network.  Chicago scored poorly on every component. On bike access to parts of the city where people live, Chicago scored a 3 on a scale of 100.  On accesses to jobs and school, the score was 6 on a scale of 100.  On access to basic services like grocery stores, Chicago scored 4 on a scale of 100.

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Electric scooters have been promoted in many cities and towns as an efficient way to take short trips without having to use a car.  But with increased usage, studies have shown a surge in electric scooter injuries.  The Chicago injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C.  have been handling scooter injury cases since scooter companies began operating recently in Chicago.  The statistics have been striking.  A JAMA Network Open study revealed that there has been an increase of 222% rise in injuries between 2014 and 2018 alone with about 14,651 scooter injures reported in the United States.  NCBI research has shown that 80% of scooter injuries were cause by falls, 11% were collision with objects like curbs and 9% were cause with collisions with other vehicles.  Sadly, there have been 29 confirmed scooter deaths since 2018.

The Chicago Department of Transportation has been pushing the concept of “micromobility” and has been encouraging the expansion of scooter programs in Chicago. The major players in the electric scooter market are Divvy, Lime, Spin and Superpedestrian.  These companies combined have already logged millions of rides in Chicago.  The City of Chicago has implemented some regulations to make scooter use safer. Some of the rules are as follows:

  •       Scooters cannot be operated on sidewalks

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.

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