Illinois Bicycle Group Seeks Exposure & Stiffer Penalty For Dooring Accidents

As I have discussed here in the past, the Illinois legislature has done a fair amount to protect bicyclists. Specifically, last year Governor Quinn signed into law a statute that empowers police to ticket motorists who “in a reckless manner, drive the motor vehicle unnecessarily close to, toward, or near a bicyclist, pedestrian, or a person riding a horse or driving an animal-drawn vehicle.”  In 2008, the Illinois legislature passed a law which required drivers to keep a three (3) distance from bicycles on the road.

Although these are seen as improvement from preventing Illinois bicycle accidents, certain groups would like to see state-wide legislation regarding “dooring” accidents. In other words, when a parked motorist opens their door into a bicycle lane without leaving enough time or room for the bicyclist to veer out of the way.

The Active Transportation Alliance, which is a group involved in efforts to make streets safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists in the Chicago region, wants to raise public awareness and promote stiffer penalties for dooring accidents. They intend to launch a campaign to increase public awareness about dooring crashes. The group considers doorings the most prevalent threat to on-street cyclists.

Dooring accident are viewed as very dangerous.  The Chicago Tribune reported recently that informal surveys the alliance has conducted among its members indicate that more than half the people who bike on streets have been doored at least once, said Ethan Spotts, spokesman for the organization. But lacking solid statistics, bicycling advocates say they can neither prove a problem exists nor apply for federal and state traffic-safety funds to address it, he said.  From 2005 through 2009, there was an average of more than 3,500 crashes each year between vehicles and bicyclists in Illinois, resulting in 18 to 27 cyclists killed and more than 3,300 injured annually, according to IDOT statistics.

Unfortunately the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) or Illinois law does ot currently classify dooring accidents as a moving violation or as an actual vehicle accident because the car is not in motion.  IDOT’s position is that they are following national crash reporting standards. But doorings are a growing safety problem, and for IDOT to say this has been our standard for many years simply ignores a dangerous trend,”  Dan Persky of Active Transportation Alliance said. “Our proposal wouldn’t add to IDOT’s workload.”

Those familiar with Chicago know that this is a bicycle friendly city and there hundreds, if not, thousands of bicyclists on the road in our city at any time. I have heard many dooring accident stories and firmly believe there needs to be legislation enacted that would help prevent these accidents.  The bicyclists are not going anywhere, so it is time to start protecting them.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago bicycle accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website

Illinois Records Less Than1000 Road Deaths For 2nd Year In A Row

There were 911 traffic fatalities in 2009 and 2010 saw only a small bump with 923.  The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) cited several factors for the decrease in highway fatalities in the past few years, including record high seat belt compliance.  IDOT is certain that seat belt compliance is due to the change in the law in 2003, which allows police officers to pull drivers over for not wearing their seat belt (i.e. a primary traffic offense.)  Safety belt usage reached a record high 91.7 percent rate in 2009 before improving to 92.6 percent in 2010. The figures are calculated by IDOT from motorist surveys and data collected from traffic citations and other sources.

IDOT also attributes the low number of highway deaths to the new distracted driving laws, efforts to address teen driving habits, motorcycle safety, drunken driving and work zone safety. Spokesmen from IDOT who spoke the Peoria Journal, believe stricter anti-texting laws are needed to further decrease the number of highway fatalities.

Remember, if you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Illinois personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, at 312-588-3384 for a free consultation on your car crash case or go to the firm website at 

New Safety Reports Recommend Car Seat Changes

Two interesting reports were recently published that both recommend that child car seats face the rear of the vehicle until the child is two years old. The reports, which came from The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also recommended that older children who’ve outgrown front-facing car seats should ride in booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits them. Booster seats help position adult seat belts properly on children’s smaller frames. Children usually can graduate from a booster seat when their height reaches 4 feet 9 inches.  Children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat, the guidelines from both groups say.

The studies’ showed that one-year-olds are five times less likely to be injured in a car crash if they are in a rear-facing car seat than a forward-facing seat, according to a 2007 analysis of five years of U.S. car crash data.

The numbers estimated 1,000 children injured in forward-facing seats over 15 years might not have been hurt if they had been in a car seat facing the back, said Dr. Dennis Durbin, lead author of the recommendations and a pediatric emergency physician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

These are some interesting revelations and it will be interesting to see if the government recommends that car seat companies will begin requiring new warnings consistent with these studies.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

Is Illinois Texting And Driving Ban Restrictive Enough?

I have reported in the past about the texting and driving bans enacted in Chicago and eventually by the State. These laws were necessary as the studies have shown the dangers of texting and driving. The question law maker must answer – – which State Farm has pointed out – – is wether the texting laws should prevent all phone internet use while driving.  State Farm published a report recently that found that 19 percent of drivers from its’ survey admitted to using the Internet while driving. The top five Web-based activities they engage in are:

  • Finding/reading driving directions,
  • Reading email,
  • Looking up/referencing specific information of immediate interest,
  • Looking at/reading social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.),
  • Composing/sending email

Most respondents who said they use the Internet while driving reported that they engage in these activities when stopped at a stop light or stopped in heavy traffic. They also commonly said they access the Internet when driving alone, during daylight hours, or on long drives on the interstate.

We are very interested in learning more about the growing trend of using the Web while driving,” said Cindy Garretson, Director of Auto Technology Research at State Farm. “We are working to prevent (car) crashes and save lives, and this research takes us one step closer to understanding the driver distractions that affect everyone on our roadways.”

I think anyone would admit that posting something on twitter or facebook or looking up news headlines while driving is just as dangerous as texting and driving. The word “texting”, if used broadly should encompass all smart phone use. It will be interesting to see if Illinois broadens the term texting in its’ texting and driving laws.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Illinois car accident attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at

Chicago Traffic Is The Third Worst In The Country

I wrote a few weeks back about the effect the rebounding economy has had on traffic congestion.  The early predictions were correct – – Chicago traffic congestion is not getting better.

The Chicago Sun Times reported this week that  for the fourth year in a row, Chicago (behind New York and Los Angeles), is the third worst in the country for traffic congestion.  The Dan Ryan having three of America’s worst bottlenecks, according to yearly traffic scorecard produced by INRIX, which provides traffic and navigation services.  Specifically, the northbound section of the Dan Ryan at the Canalport exit. This bottleneck actually improved from second worst last year to third worst this year.

“America is back on the road to gridlock,” said Bryan Mistele, INRIX president and CEO. “Population growth combined with increases in interstate commerce spurred by economic recovery are fueling these increases. With only 150,000 new jobs created in our nation’s urban centers last year, we can expect even more gridlock when the 6 million jobs lost in the recession return to the nation’s cities.”

Remember to keep your eyes on the road, especially during Chicago’s busy rush hour.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588–3384 or go to the firm website at

A Response To The Proposed Illinois Workers Compensation Reform

An interesting article was published last week in the State Journal Register  discussing the latest efforts by Republican legislators to stifle Illinois workers’ rights.

According to the Republican brass and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, current Illinois Workers’ Compensation laws are prohibiting new businesses from starting up in Illinois.  Specifically, Todd Maisch, vice president of government affairs for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, stated, “we think it (Illinois workers’ compensation ) is stifling job growth. The real insidious effect is that businesses are choosing to create jobs elsewhere.” 

Where is your proof Mr. Maisch?  Where are the studies to support these statements?   Specifically, tell us what businesses have left Illinois or are refusing to locate here because of our Workers’ Compensation system?  What other financial, political or legal constraints were prevalant at the time these supposed companies refused to move here or were forced to leave? 

The problem with blanket statements like the above is that they create stereotypes and assumptions about Illinois’ working class. It creates an assumption that workers are lying about their injuries or trying to defraud the system.  Statements like the above create stereotypes about Illinois workers  are lazy and are looking for a handout.  These stereotypes could not be further from the truth.  I would like these legislatures to meet my client that ruptured his lumbar discs at work lifting a 200 pound piece of equipment and has not been able to work for the last two (2) years. He has been ashamed and emasculated that he is no longer able to support his family.  There is nothing  in the world he would like to do more than to get back to work but his injury and doctors are not allowing him.  I would also like the legislators to meet my client that had a 1,000 pound tire crush his leg and foot.  Three surgeries later he is facing the proposition of having to take pain medication for the rest of his life, and will, no doubt, will never return to the construction trade.  This is not what he signed up for.  

My clients are not trying to defraud the system. They are merely trying to keep their head above water. When the chamber of commerce makes blanket statements, people begin to believe all injured workers  (including my clients) are looking for a free handout.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

If there are workers trying to defraud the system, then draft legislation that will prevent such acts. Do not strip away the rights of the truly injured.

Another portion of the proposed reform would allow employers to have the right to send injured employees to the doctor of their choosing.  This would be an extreme breach of the doctor-patient relationship and Illinois doctors agree.  “One of the biggest things they (proponents of reform) are looking at is taking away patient choice,” said Dr. Steven Malkin, president of the Illinois State Medical Society. “It’s the basic tenet of practicing medicine – the physician-patient relationship.”

By stripping away this right, I believe you are potentially sacrificing the patient’s health in order to save a few dollars.  Why not have an independent treating physician take care of the patient. It will ensure the patient/worker has a better chance of becoming whole and hopefully prevent future injury to the same body parts.

To me the suggested reforms are a fraud, not the workers.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an Illinois work accident  or needs to file an Illinois workers compensation claim , then call Chicago workers compensation attorney, Aaron J. Bryant for a free consultation  at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at