Chicago Police To Focus On Drivers Who Ignore Cross Walks

Despite a pedestrian safety law passed by the state of Illinois in 2010, pedestrian accidents have continued to be a huge issue in the city of Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago averages 3,000 auto pedestrian accidents and 30 pedestrian deaths per year. To combat this issue, Chicago police have organized 60 pedestrian safety enforcement stings planned for this year to draw attention to this ongoing issue. The operations will be conducted close to schools, senior citizen housing and busy retail areas, officials said.

Motorists are required to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks under a state law that took effect in 2010. The law, which carries a possible $120 fine in Chicago and up to $500 in some other jurisdictions, replaced a requirement that drivers yield to pedestrians and stop when necessary.

Chicago police last year issued more than 1,200 tickets for failure to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, officials said. City officials say their goal is to eliminate half of serious pedestrian injuries during the next five years and the other half five years after that.

As I have written about multiple times in the past, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago officials have made it a priority to make city streets safe and accessible for bicyclists. I think equal attention needs to be provided for pedestrian safety. We live in one of the most congested cities in North America for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and this type of enforcement is necessary to ensure drivers are following the rules of the road, which will in turn protect everyone – – including pedestrians.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago pedestrian accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Officials Announce First Barrier Protected Bike Lane

The fantastic Chicago website reported this week that Chicago transportation officials have begun plans for the first concrete barrier protected bicycle lane. The lane will be constructed on a stretch of Clybourn in the Old Town neighborhood. “This would be the first use of concrete physical separation,” said Nathan Roseberry, a senior engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation. “We are going to be using this project as a means to study elements of the design to see how they work, see how they can be improved.”

The first proposal would include barrier-protected lanes on both sides of the street from Halsted Street to Division Street.

A second proposal, presented as an alternative, would include barrier-protected lanes from Halsted to Larrabee, and then a striped bike lane from Larrabee to Division. That option would preserve parking spaces, but would get rid of the physical separation between cyclists and vehicle traffic.

Both options would take Clybourn down to one lane of traffic at all times and result in a loss of parking along the street.

This is continued progress for Mayor Emanuel and his quest to make Chicago the most bicycle friendly city in North America. The positive development for me is that this should prevent potential violent traffic accidents between bikes and automobiles. The isolated  bike lane will protect bicyclists from vehicle collisions and dooring accidents. I will be interested to see if the city plans on adding additional barriers to bike lanes in other parts of the city, including downtown.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago bike accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Tribune Investigation Reveals Thousands Of Bogus Red Light Camera Tickets

I wrote last week about a class action lawsuit filed against the red light camera technology company, Redflex, that the city of Chicago contracted with for its red light camera enforcement. The basis of the lawsuit was that Redflex unjustly profited from ticket fines after it was revealed that they bribed their way into the contract with Chicago transportation officials.

Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the Chicago Tribune published an article based on a 10 month investigation about bogus tickets being produced by the Redflex technology. The investigation reported the following irregularities in ticket enforcement:

“Cameras that for years generated just a few tickets daily suddenly caught dozens of drivers a day. One camera near the United Center rocketed from generating one ticket per day to 56 per day for a two-week period last summer before mysteriously dropping back to normal.

Tickets for so-called rolling right turns on red shot up during some of the most dramatic spikes, suggesting an unannounced change in enforcement. One North Side camera generated only a dozen tickets for rolling rights out of 100 total tickets in the entire second half of 2011. Then, over a 12-day spike, it spewed 563 tickets—560 of them for rolling rights.

Many of the spikes were marked by periods immediately before or after when no tickets were issued—downtimes suggesting human intervention that should have been documented. City officials said they cannot explain the absence of such records.”

I think one of two things (or possibly both) will happen. First, the city and Redflex will offer refunds on tickets paid during this period of abnormal ticket enforcement. The second is another class action lawsuit against Redflex and possibly the city. Regardless if this glitch in the system was done intentionally or not (both the city and Redflex stated they knew nothing until the investigation came out), those ticketed on these dates should be reimbursed.

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


Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Former Chicago Red Light Camera Company

CBS Chicago reported today that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Redflex Traffic Systems alleging that they owe $100 million to motorists who received red light tickets while the company was doing business with the city of Chicago. The lawsuit alleges that motorists are owed a refund because Redflex only received the contract for their services through bribery.

Redflex was removed of their services in 2013 after it was revealed that the company had bribed a city of Chicago transportation official in order to gain the contract for the red light cameras.  The lawsuit states in part:

“As a direct result of the bribery scheme, defendants were able to contractually retain approximately 20-25% of all ‘ticket revenue’ generated by tickets… Both Redflex and the City of Chicago have recognized that the Redflex contract with the City of Chicago was secured through corrupt behavior… As such, Redflex’s $100 million (+) dollars in revenue since 2003 generated under the corrupt contract represents ill-gotten gains that have unjustly enriched Redflex. Defendants’ retention of said benefit violates the fundamental principles of justice, equity, and good conscience.”

Both personal injury and class action attorneys often receive a bad rap for the work they do. They are portrayed by the insurance company lobbyists and in the media as greedy and self –serving. As a result, the general public overlooks that the work performed by the plaintiff’s bar is done to make our society safer or to correct a wrong where companies have been unjustly enriched at an expense to the public. It must be recognized that plaintiff and class action attorneys work hard to save lives and also give a fair shake to everyone. This is most evident when companies are made aware of and forced to repair a faulty product like defective car seats or strollers. Or, in this situation where a private company may be forced to pay back millions in profit they received from bribing city officials. I say this class action lawsuit is just and was a long time coming.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Tracy Morgan Files Lawsuit Against Wal-Mart & Truck Driver

Famous actor and comedian, Tracy Morgan, has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in New Jersey regarding the deadly truck accident that killed another passenger in Mr. Morgan’s limousine and seriously injured two others. The limousine was travelling to New York from a show in Delaware when they slowed down for construction on Interstate 95 near Cranbury Township, N.J., and were hit by the truck just before 1 a.m. The vehicle collision forced the limousine into six other vehicles.

The lawsuit alleges negligent and reckless behavior by Wal-Mart and their employee and the complaint specifically states, ““Wal-Mart knew or should have known that it was unreasonable for Mr. Roper to commute more than 700 miles from his home in Jonesboro, Georgia to work at a Wal-Mart facility in Smyrna, Delaware, especially immediately before he was to commence a long shift operating a truck that weighed approximately 30–40 tons.” The lawsuit also alleges that the truck driver fell asleep at the wheel at the time of the accident. 

If it is determined that Wal-Mart and it’s employee were negligent and caused this accident, they will be responsible for Mr. Morgan’s and the other injured passengers’ medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Something that is unclear at this point is whether the Mr. Morgan’s attorneys will be seeking punitive damages against the defendants. Punitive damages are awarded above the normal economic (bills and lost wages) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering) as a form of punishment of willful and wanton behavior by a defendant. For example, Mr. Morgan can allege that Wal-Mart consciously disregarded the safety of others by allowing their driver to continue to drive without sleep even though they knew this created an extreme danger to fellow motorists and violated state and federal trucking statutes. This will be an interesting case to follow as it involves a famous plaintiff and defendant but unfortunately truck accidents happen like this to everyday people around the country.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.


Rideshare Bill Awaits Gov Quinn’s Signature, While Uber Announces Big Chicago Expansion

I have written multiple times about the battle between rideshare companies like Uber and their battle with taxi companies. Specifically, I wrote in May about the new legislation passed by the city council, which regulates the rideshare companies by requiring minimum insurance, caps on surge pricing and background checks for its drivers, among others.

The state version of rideshare legislation has passed both the House and Senate and is currently sitting on Governor Quinn’s desk. The state version, which can be read here, is viewed to be much more far-reaching in it’s’ regulation. It would include that all drivers obtain a chauffer’s license. The sponsor of the bill, Mike Zalewski, told Crain’s magazine “I applaud Uber for wanting to grow its business in Chicago. There is no reason why that cannot happen with this law in place to put customer safety first, as supported by a strong bi-partisan majority of the Illinois House and Senate. I hope the governor will sign it into law soon.” Zalewski believes that the regulations are in the best interest safety and welfare of the commuting public.

Meanwhile, Uber announced this month that they plan a huge expansion in Chicago that would add 500 new well paid jobs. They are urging Governor Quinn via social media and other avenues to veto the rideshare bill.

The questions remains for me: what is the best protection for the commuters and for pedestrians? It seems to me that the city legislation that passed in May was a good compromise. It required that companies like Uber increase their insurance coverage to protect injured passengers in case a significant car crash or pedestrian accident. It will be interesting to see what Governor Quinn does in this case and whether he decides to veto. I will be watching this closely and will report and write about it once any news breaks.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a serious Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago Added 12 New Speed Cameras

If you have a history of speeding around the city, beware, because My Fox Chicago reported over the weekend that 12 new speeder cameras were being installed around the city. As I have written in the past, despite the city’s claims that these are being used as a safety measure, these cameras seem like a money grab to me. Regardless, warnings will be issued for the first 30 days after cameras are installed, the department said. When fines are instituted, speeders will be charged $35 for driving 10 mph over the speed limit and $100 for going 11 mph or more.

Below is a list of the 12 new locations where the cameras will be installed:

Taft High School, 6545 W. Hurlbut St.

-Ashmore Playlot Park, 4807 W. Gunnison St.

-Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St.

-Chicago Vocational High School, 2100 E. 87th St.

-Loop Lab School, 318 W. Adams St.

-Wicker Park 1425 N. Damen Ave.

-Keystone Park, 1655 N. Keystone Ave.

-Frazier International Magnet School, 4027 W. Grenshaw St.

-St. Gall Elementary School, 5515 S. Sawyer Ave.

-Foster Park, 1400 W. 84th St.

-Dulles Elementary School, 6311 S. Calumet Ave.

-Mulberry Park, 3150 S. Robinson Ct.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Illinois Governor Quinn Signs New Boating Safety Bills Into Law

It is summer time and the boating season is full swing. If you live in Chicago you can see that Lake Michigan is filled with hundreds of boats daily. The same can be said for lakes throughout the state of Illinois. Boating safety was a priority for Illinois lawmakers in 2014 and according to the Chicago Tribune; Governor Quinn signed 3 new boating safety bills into law.

The sponsor of the bills was State Sen. Julie Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat, whose 10-year-old nephew died when a boater under the influence of alcohol and cocaine struck and killed him on Lake Petite Lake near Lake Villa on July 28, 2012. 

The bills signed Saturday both increase the powers of law enforcement and put new restrictions and requirements on boaters.

Under one of them, a persons’ watercraft can be seized after multiple DUI offenses. In a second bill, all people born after January 1998 will be forced to take a boater safety course and hold a boater safety certificate before they can operate a boat with an engine over 10 horsepower, according to Quinn’s office.

The final bill requires that any water craft that are towing a person display a bright orange flag no less than 12 inches per side.

In 2014 so far, there have been 16 boating fatalities reported on Illinois waterways. Drinking and boating is equally as dangerous as drinking and driving and the penalties for doing so should be stiff. People’s lives are at stake if a boater is driving negligently, untrained and obviously under the influence. Quite frankly, I believe the new law requiring boaters born after 1998 to take safety courses does not go far enough. Why not extend to 1993 (or anyone 21 years and under).

If you or someone you love has been injured in an Illinois boating accident or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago To Introduce Bicyclist Rest Stations Along Bike Lanes

I wrote a few weeks back about Chicago officials’ plans to press forward towards another 60 miles of bike lanes throughout the city. According to CBS News, the city is now planning to add new rest stations along portions of certain lanes. This is another step officials have taken to make Chicago a world-renowned bicycle friendly city. The rest stations was borrowed from similar contraptions used in the Coppenhagen. The stations contain a bars used as arm and foot rests. These little creations are called a “Curbees,” and will be placed at stop lights and  presumably only allowed for use at red lights. The first of these rest stations has already been placed at the busy intersection of Milwaukee and Ogden.

There is no doubt that Mayor Emanuel and his staff have continued where former Mayor Daley left off in making Chicago a bicycle friendly city. Hopefully bicyclists will take advantage of these stops and will lead to safer roads for both motorists and bicyclists.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago bike accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.