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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 rise in popularity of larger and higher vehicles has raised concerns about the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on the road. These types of vehicles pose a unique threat to people on foot or on bikes because of their size and height, which can make it more difficult for drivers to see them and more dangerous in the event of a collision. The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer have seen some devastating

One of the biggest dangers that larger and higher vehicles pose to pedestrians and bicyclists is the difficulty they can have in being seen by drivers. These vehicles are often much taller than smaller cars and trucks, which can block the view of drivers and make it harder for them to see people on foot or on bikes. Additionally, the high hoods and large bumpers of these vehicles can also make it more difficult for drivers to accurately judge the distance between their vehicle and pedestrians or bicyclists, making it more likely for an accident to occur.

Another issue with larger and higher vehicles is the impact they can have in the event of a collision. These vehicles are often much heavier than smaller cars and trucks, meaning that they can cause much more severe injuries in the event of a collision. Furthermore, the high ground clearance of these vehicles can also make it more likely for pedestrians and bicyclists to be hit in the head or torso, which are the areas most likely to result in serious injury or death.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 11.4 Americans per 100,000 died in traffic crashes in 2020. According to a Bloomberg article of November 3, 2022, this number is significantly greater than most European nations and many other developed nations in the world.   More troubling, 2019 saw the most pedestrian deaths in the USA in 40 years according to data collected by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Urban researcher, David Zipper writes in the Bloomberg article that the higher death rates on American roads cannot be attributed unique characteristics of the United States landscape or culture but instead can be traced back to specific policy decisions to not prioritize traffic safety over other considerations, such as profit and convenience.

The personal injury lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. were surprised to learn from this Bloomberg article that while traffic deaths in the USA have reached a 16 year high, traffic deaths in some European countries and Japan have hit levels not seen since 1940.

The most striking statistic cited by this article is that pedestrian, bike and scooter user traffic deaths rose 40% between 2010 and 2018 in the USA while in many European countries the number of deaths actually fell.

While it is hard to pinpoint specific causes for the rising death tolls on the road, one factor stands out to the personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer.  While in Europe and Asia, smaller passenger cars are prefered, the USA market is dominated by SUVs and heavy pick-up trucks. The predominance of SUVs and pick-up trucks on USA roads especially comes into play in pedestrian Continue reading

Car insurance is an essential part of owning a vehicle, and it is especially important in Illinois. The state requires that all drivers carry a minimum level of liability insurance to cover any damages or personal injuries that may occur in the event of an accident. However, simply having the minimum coverage may not be enough to protect you and your assets in the event of an accident.

When shopping for car insurance in Illinois, it’s important to know that there are different types of coverage available. The most basic form of coverage is liability insurance, which covers damages or injuries that you may cause to another person or their property in an accident. However, liability insurance does not cover your own damages or injuries. To protect yourself fully, you should consider additional types of coverage, such as collision and comprehensive coverage.  Collision coverage will pay for damages to your vehicle if you are involved in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive coverage provides protection for damages caused by events other than a collision, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.

It’s also important to consider the level of coverage you need. Illinois has a minimum coverage requirement, but that may not be enough to protect you fully. If you have a newer or more expensive car, you may want to consider purchasing higher levels of coverage to ensure that you are fully protected in the event of a crash.

Late winter snow is always a hassle. No one wants to go outside on a cold winter morning and clear the snow and ice from their windshield, windows, and mirrors. It is so much more efficient to warm the car up, hit the road and let gravity do the work, right? WRONG. I only need to clean off my windshield, right? WRONG. I don’t need to brush off the roof, right? WRONG.  Avoidable automobile crashes in Chicago happen sometimes due to decreased visibility as a result of obstructions from the elements.

Illinois law states that “No person shall drive a motor vehicle with snow, ice, moisture or other material on any of the windows or mirrors, which materially obstructs the driver’s clear view of the highway.” 625 ILCS 5/12-503(d).

Driving with your windshield, windows or mirror obstructed by snow is not just illegal, it is dangerous. Most vehicles perform far worse in winter conditions in the key areas of stopping distance and handling. In slippery winter conditions drivers must begin braking much earlier and make slower more controlled turns, both of these practices require even greater awareness and visibility than in dry conditions. Beyond the performance of their own vehicles, drivers must also be on the lookout for other drivers. How often have we all seen vehicles slide all the way through an intersection in an ice storm, despite having their foot planted on the brake? How often have we seen vehicles attempt to make turns, but just slide forward?

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The personal injury law office of Zneimer & Zneimer is receiving increased volumes of calls involving snow-related car crashes in Chicago and the suburbs.  Driving in snowy conditions can be challenging and dangerous, but with a few simple precautions, you can greatly reduce your risk of a car accident and personal injury.

It is important to check the weather forecast before heading out on the road. If you know that snow is expected, it is best to avoid driving if possible. If you must drive, make sure you have the proper tires for the weather condition, as well as enough fuel and an emergency kit that includes a blanket, snacks, and water.  Bear in mind that a reasonable driver will slow down when driving on snow even if the speed limit may permit a higher speed and therefore, give yourself extra time.

Before you start your car, clear all the snow and ice off the windows, mirrors, headlights, and taillights. Make sure your windshield wipers and defrosters are working properly, and top off your windshield washer fluid.  When driving in snowy conditions, it is important to slow down and leave extra space between you and the car in front of you. Snow and ice can greatly reduce your visibility and make it harder to stop or turn. Remember that on bridges and overpasses, the road will freeze before the rest of the road.

Even if the posted speed limit is higher, it is important for drivers in Illinois to slow down when driving in winter conditions to avoid accidents. This is because snow and ice can greatly reduce visibility and make it much harder to stop or turn. Additionally, the roads may be slippery and uneven, making it more difficult to maintain control of the vehicle. When driving on snow-covered or Continue reading

The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer have recently talked to a number of people injured on public transportation.  In 2021 there were 195,980,563 riders who used the Chicago Transit Authority System (“CTA”). In the month of October 2022 there were 23,576,296 riders who used the CTA rail /the CTA rail system for the 2022 year. As indicated by the numbers, public transit is a way that a significant number of people in use to get around the city of Chicago.  But with the huge number of riders that use the CTA, the odds of a passenger getting injured while riding is likely to occur. But who exactly is considered a passenger?

A contractual relationship between passenger and carrier begins when a passenger has presented himself at the proper place to be transported with the intention of becoming a passenger. Chicago & Eastern Illinois R.R. Co. vs Jennings, 190 Ill. 478, 484. A person becomes a passenger when, intending to take passage, enters a place provided for the reception of passengers, as a deport, waiting room, or the life, at a time when such a place is open for the reception of persons intending to take passage on the trains of the company. Id at 485. However, the mere fact of having a ticket or intending to take the train in not sufficient to be considered a passenger. Id at 486. The carrier then has to expressly or impliedly accept the passenger. Illinois Cent. R. Co. v. O’Keefe, 168 Ill. 115 (Ill. 1897)  Whether there is an acceptance by the carrier is judged largely by its own facts. Todd v. Louisville & N.R. Co., 274 Ill. 201, 207 (Ill. 1916)

According to the Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions, to be a passenger one must be in the act of boarding, be upon, or be in the act of alighting (departing) from the carrier’s vehicle. Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions – Civil No. 100.09. The plaintiff in the Illinois Appellate court case Pence, was not considered a passenger when he had purchased a Metra train ticket, parked his car in a Metra owned parking lot, and while crossing the street to the train station tripped on a bolt protruding from a railroad tie. Pence v. Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter R.R. Corp., 398 Ill. App. 3d 13 (2010). The Illinois Supreme court held in Katamay, to come within the definition of a passenger it is not necessary the person have come into actual contact with the train to be qualified as a passenger as long as that person had the intention to board the train, paid the fare, and made steps to that end. Katamay v. Chicago Transit Authority, 53 Ill. 2d 27, 29 (1972). In Katamay, while Continue reading

Tailgating, or following too closely behind another vehicle, is a common cause of car accidents in Illinois and throughout the United States. When a driver follows too closely, they reduce the amount of time they have to react to sudden stops or unexpected events on the road, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision.  The Chicago car accident attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer has seen many crashes as a result of tailgating.

The law is not ambiguous. In Illinois, if a driver causes an accident while tailgating, they can be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages. They may even also face criminal charges such as reckless driving or negligent driving. These charges can result in fines, jail time, and suspension or revocation of driving privileges.

According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” 625 ILCS 5/11-710 (a).  What is “reasonable and prudent” includes consideration of weather, lighting conditions, road conditions, and others. Continue reading

AAA estimates that the U.S. will see about 112.7 million people travel 50 miles or more this holiday season from December 23 to January 2. This is the largest increase since the pandemic and will be the third highest number of drivers on the  road.  Here in Illinois, about 5.8 million are projected to continue to travel during the holiday season.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys have observed based on the calls we receive that many people do not slow down despite the weather conditions.  The rules of the road require all drivers to maintain reasonable speed, and often the speed limit may not be reasonable if the weather conditions are difficult.

Unfortunately, as many people geared up to travel across the country, we experienced some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had during a Christmas since 1983. Many people’s holiday travel plans were impacted by the weather. The snow, ice, frigid temperatures and wind gusts up to 45mph made traveling particularly difficult for those who attempted to get on the roads and travel. Although snow measurements were relatively low in the Chicago area, winds made visibility poor, as the winds picked up snow and carried it across the roads. The extreme weather made roads and bridges slicked and accident prone.

As winter is just getting underway, we can expect to have more days of frigid temperatures and poor weather conditions. At personal injury law firm Zneimer and Zneimer P.C. we encourage drivers to take the necessary precautions to drive safely, which may even mean not hitting the roads based on the weather conditions.

When the weather can pose a problem, the National Weather Service issues specific statements regarding the weather and advising the public on how to act. It’s important to pay attention and listen when these statements are issued to plan accordingly. To do that though we must understand what the different type of statements are and what they mean. Continue reading

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