In 2009, a 10-year-old boy was killed when he was hit by a tractor-trailer at Pilot Oil Travel Center in Bloomington, Illinois.
The boy had ridden his bike to the truck stop when he was hit by the truck, which was turning into the truck stop when the accident happened.
According to city officials, there is naturally a high volume of truck traffic at the truck stop, which is located off of Illinois Route 150.
Truck accidents happen regularly given the amount of semi traffic that travels the United States on any given day, and cyclists are often part of the story.
But even if the driver is at fault in the accident, the consequences are never very serious, at least according to one writer who sparked conversations and controversy in 2013 with a piece he wrote for the New York Times.
NYT Story Stirs Controversy
In 2013, avid cyclist Daniel Duane wrote a story with the inflammatory headline “Is It O.K. To Kill Cyclists?” His point was fairly straightforward. Most drivers who hit and kill a cyclist are given a citation at best, even though anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle on roads with car and tractor-trailer traffic knows the dangers of such a ride. Of course, a wrongful death lawsuit is often
The wind generated from a semi can be strong enough to throw a cyclist off balance, and even the slightest wrong move can cause a cyclist’s death on the road.
Almost a million people commute to work on a bicycle, according to the League of American Bicycles, and cycling lands in second place as the most popular outdoor activity, just behind running.
While many cyclists ignore the rules of the road – groups of bicycle riders are especially aggravating to motorists of any kind – in most cases, when a cyclist is killed, it is the fault of the motor vehicle, although rarely are they prosecuted, even if the cyclist was clearly in a bike lane at the time of the crash.
And even though Chicago is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country, beating out the Big Apple as the top bicycling city in the United States, according to Bicycling magazine, accidents can happen in the Windy City, as well.
Chicago has miles of bike trails and has constructed bike lanes as part of city infrastructure that in many cases separate bike lanes from vehicular traffic. But in 2016, a woman who was riding in a bike lane that was not yet protected by a buffer was killed by a semi that moved into the right lane, clipping her as she rode in the bike lane and pulling her beneath the tractor-trailer’s wheels.
For Cyclists, Proactive Is Safest Bet
So, what does that mean for cyclists? No matter where you are riding, be prepared for anything in order to stay safe on the road.
Some safety tips include:
- Always wear a helmet. According to studies, helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury by up to 88 percent.
- Make sure you’re easy to see. The more brightly colored your biking kit and the more flashing lights your bike (or helmet) is equipped with, the more likely you are to be seen, which can prevent you from being injured in an accident.
- Be one with vehicular traffic. While walkers and joggers should move in the opposite direction of traffic so they can move out of the way if necessary, cyclists should follow the same rules of the road as if they were driving, staying as close to the side of the road as safely possible and signaling if you need to ride around road hazards such as gravel or tires.
- Use your signals. Don’t let drivers be surprised by which way you are going. Use turn signals when on the road, and when crossing, make eye contact with other drivers so they are less likely to pull out at the same time you are, triggering an accident.
- Stay attentive. That means keep any distractions to a minimum. A distracted cyclist is just as dangerous as a distracted driver, so keep your phone tucked out of reach and skip the headphones so that you can better hear traffic beeping at you from behind.
- Be comfortable on your bike. If your bike is properly adjusted, tires are properly inflated and brakes are working as they should, you will be better able to control your ride. That means road hazards won’t be a danger to you if you can control your bike enough to keep from wiping out if you have to suddenly move around something like road kill.
I Was in a Bike Crash with A Semi Truck. What Should I Do?
Because juries tend to side with drivers in a courtroom because they identify more with drivers, there are certain challenges an attorney faces when handling cyclist truck accidents.
But if you were injured or a loved one was killed in a semi accident, you deserve compensation, and an experienced team of attorneys can help make that happen.
They will not only be aware of the laws regarding cycling in your area, they will also gather enough evidence to prove the semi driver was at fault in the accident, and will confidently use that evidence to help sway a jury in your favor.
Our consultations are free, and you won’t be charged any fees until we win your case in court.
At the age of 31, David J. Schwaner became one of the youngest attorney’s in the history of Illinois to win a gross jury verdict of over 1 million dollars. Now, after working to recover millions of dollars on behalf of clients, David is a renowned personal injury attorney on a mission to fight back against the insurance companies and get you the financial compensation you deserve. Call 312-635-4000 to speak to David today.