Safety Questions Loom Following Most Recent Bicyclist Death In Chicago

The Chicago Sun Times reported last week about the death of the bicyclist in Chicago’s West Loop and what safety precautions the city is taking to protect cyclists. A 39 year old woman was riding in the bike lane north bound on Halsted. As she was turning right onto Madison, a a dump truck owned by Lakeshore Recycling Systems, turned at the same time and clipped the woman causing her death. This type of turn is known by cyclists as a “right hook” turn.

Chicago, which is known as one of the premier cities in world for bicyclists, may not be providing all the safeguards needed to protect cyclists. Last year the city passed an ordinance requiring that trucks install side guard rails on trucks similar to the dump truck in question, which helps prevent cyclists from being sucked under the truck in case of a collision. Unfortunately, the truck in question did not qualify for this type of guard rail as ordinance only  only applies to large vehicles working on city contracts worth $2 million or more. The same ordinance also also requires trucks to have convex and crossover mirrors, only went into effect last month, and it’s being phased in over the next four years.

I think the city is falling short in their quest to be the most friendly bicyclist city in the world. They are certainly falling short towards their “vision zero” goal of no more traffic fatalities in the city by 2026. First, I think the city needs to require guard rails on all dump trucks, regardless of the size of their contracts with the city. Second, the time frame for the installment of the convex mirrors should be sped up. A lot of these waste removal companies are private, and they should take these small steps of upgrading their trucks immediately. The short term costs far outweigh the potential future loss of lives and serious injury. Finally, I think safety training for the drivers of these trucks needs to be overhauled. What safety training is required? May be further training and testing should be implemented with a focus on dealing with cyclists and pedestrian safety.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.