In fact, Illinois doesn't just allow bikes on the road, but the law requires that bikes be treated the same as other vehicles for the most part.
Moreover, Illinois law requires motor vehicles to provide 3 feet of space between their vehicle and a bicycle. Tell this to anyone who regularly cycles on the roads of Illinois, and, if that cyclist isn’t already maimed, get a big laugh. The simple fact is most car drivers are unaware of this requirement.
Bicycles are required to obey all traffic laws and signals. Cyclists must yield for pedestrians. They also must follow the direction of traffic, use hand signals, and obey the arrows or directions of the various lanes (with some exceptions, such as right turn lanes).
The Illinois Secretary of State publishes a booklet of Bicycle Rules of the Road.
There are times where the state law conflicts with local laws. While it is legal for a cyclist to ride on the sidewalk in Illinois, it is illegal to do so in Chicago if you are over 12 years of age. Check your local municipality for rules that may contradict with Illinois law.
Talk to a driver who doesn’t ride a bicycle and you will usually hear a complaint about cyclists who disobey traffic lights or stop signs, or take up space on the road.
Discuss this with someone who rides regularly and you’ll hear complaints about vehicles paying no attention to cyclists, open hostility to cyclists, attempts to injure cyclists intentionally, parking or driving in bike lanes, and several other dozen other objections.
Good bicyclists obey rules all the time and ride defensively. Good drivers are alert and aware of cyclists and notice them. The single biggest impediment to cycling safety is the lack of awareness of the presence of each other and the laws that govern each other’s rights and responsibilities.
A new Illinois law requires motorists exiting a vehicle to use the opposite hand to open the door, which forces them to look behind them for cyclists. This is aimed to prevent “dooring” of cyclists.
This writer can testify from personal experience not just to being doored, but also recently being struck by a vehicle that cut across the bike lane he was in prior to checking to see if anyone was in the bike lane. This is something that happens regularly. Cars have to be aware of the presence of bicycles, especially where there are bike lanes.
Most bike crashes are covered by the responsible driver’s insurance. However, this is one reason that — even if you do not own a vehicle but you do ride your bike on the road — you should have auto insurance. If you get hit by a vehicle whose insurance has lapsed, you may be out of luck, although homeowner’s insurance may cover this as well.
In all accidents involving injury and potential liability, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with experience in bike accident cases.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury and workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.