Chicago’s Lakefront Trail Renovations Finally Complete

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual is leaving office at the end of the month after two (2) terms in office. He has his critics and others that praise the work he has done for the city. I think he has done incredible work over the last eight (8) years drawing businesses to downtown, renovation projects and beautifying the city. For example, he promised two (2) years ago that he would expand the lake front trail, which would include separate lanes for bicyclists and pedestrians. He fulfilled that promise, and as a result we have a safer and more beautiful lakefront park to enjoy. This not only includes better paths for bikers and runner, but also an expansion of green space for visitors to enjoy.

Below is a breakdown of what the lakefront trail renovations entails and how it improved safety for everyone:

  1. More space between cyclists and pedestrians: this is especially important for safety purposes as you have two types of travelers cruising and vastly different speeds.
  2. Limited encounters between pedestrians and vehicles
  3. Less Signage: most of the rules and regulations (including separate directions arrows for bicyclists and pedestrians) are now painted onto the sidewalk. This makes for a more aesthetically pleasing trail.
  4. Updated mile markers: those in it for the exercise can track how far they are running or biking.

This is an incredible accomplishment by the mayor and his office. I believe we will see fewer accidents on the trail, and more importantly more people will be able to enjoy the beautiful lakefront.

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

Chicago Department of Transportation Launched New Traffic App: ChiStreetWorks

Those who live in Chicago know how bad traffic is in this city. It can be incredibly stressful, especially during summer months as there seem to be an abnormally high number of people on the road. The cities’ Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) has launched a new web based application call ChiStreetWorks with the purpose of helping drivers plan their trips in order to avoid major traffic jams.

The new App allows you to see past, current and future projects, as well as view permits for water, sewer, gas or electrical projects impacting City streets. The website went live to the public on Tuesday.

The map also provides users with features such as bus routes and stops, parking impacts, bike lanes, viaduct heights, speed and red light camera locations, and current traffic conditions. It also allows you to view where special events are taking place. 

Users can browse specific areas of the city by searching by neighborhood, ward, ZIP code, street intersection, or address and then select which categories of data they want to see: construction projects, utility-related permits, resurfacing memorandums, events impacting traffic, street closures, and detours. There’s also a tool to filter results by time to show activity from the past month or up to one year in the future.

This is a great initiative by the city, which provides much more detail than a typical Google or Apple Maps. We will see if it helps free up traffic and hopefully decrease the number of traffic accidents in the area.

If you or a loved on have been seriously injured in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then please call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Truck Drivers Hold “Slow Roll” Protest Trough Chicago Area

If you were driving on or near Chicago’s expressways earlier this month, you may have seen dozens of semi-trucks all driving slowly in one lane. According to media reports, this was an organized “slow roll” protest in an effort to improve their driving conditions.

The protest was to gain attention and push for more flexible working hours, relaxed rules on electronic logging devices, more training for new semitrailer drivers and more truck parking and amenities along expressways. Another sticking point is better training programs they say are lacking, creating dangerous conditions for everyone out on the road. 

The truck drivers left south suburban Monee at 10 a.m. and got on I-57 and drove north to downtown Chicago and then to O’Hare before heading back south on the Tri-State Tollway. The drivers were going single file in the right lane at the minimum posted speed.

Illinois State Police had warned the group called, ‘Black Smoke Matters” that slow-moving trucks could cause traffic back-ups or crashes. Police said truckers who participate could be held liable for any accidents. Illinois State Police monitored the traffic backups to keep traffic moving and drivers safe and said no car crashes or other issues occurred.  No traffic accidents were reported as a result of this protest.

I understand and support the ideas behind this protest to a point. I think trucking companies do need to provide better training for newer drivers and better continuing education and training for long time drivers. Their complaint regarding the electronic logging of their hours, on the other hand, is absolutely necessary. A major cause of truck accidents can be traced back to a drivers logging too many consecutive hours without sleep. The burden of logging hours and taking breaks and/or days off is a requirement that must be followed. I will be following this closely to see if the federal government becomes involved or if states like Illinois enact statutes that require companies provide better training for their new drivers.

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

Kane County, IL To Hold Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign

According to the Kane County Chronicle, on April 26 the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, AAA Chicago Motor Club, the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and many other agencies will participate in the Kane County High Visibility Enforcement (HiVE) Campaign to help reduce crashes caused by distracted driving.

This campaign will coincide with Illinois Distracted Driving Awareness Week. Part of the campaign will include the posting of police officers in high collision areas during peak travel times in an attempt to improve safety.

“The aim of the HiVE campaign is to deter drivers through increased visibility and proactive law enforcement from participating in unsafe roadway activities, including distracted driving, and to improve overall driving behavior,” North Aurora Police Chief David Fisher said.

Campaigns like this have become increasingly important to law enforcement as three (3) Illinois State Troopers have been struck by vehicles and killed in 2019.

I will be following up and writing more about Illinois’ Distracted Driving Awareness week later in the month. Remember, as always, put your phone down while driving.

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

Houston Astros Fan Sues Team For Injury Caused By T-Shirt Gun

During the summer of 2018 a woman was attending a Houston Astros baseball game. Between one of the innings, the Astros’ mascot was launching free t-shirts into the crowd. One of those t-shirts struck this women in the hand, and apparently caused a serious injury. Since that time the woman alleges she has had multiple surgeries, missed time from work and has suffered serious pain and suffering. As a result, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the woman against the Houston Astros alleging negligence by the team and their mascot.

There have been similar lawsuits filed against in Major League Baseball in the past. I wrote about the case in Kansas City where a fan was hit in the face by a hot dog launched by a similar style gun. That man suffered a detached retina in one of his eyes, and unfortunately he lost his case before a jury. Major League franchises, including teams in the baseball, have in the past been protected with immunity for injuries that come as a result of foul balls and broken bats. All teams put a disclaimer on their tickets stating fans are assuming the risk of these potential accidents and injuries while attending games.

This is often called the “baseball rule.” That legal theory, in place for about a century, presumes an inherent risk among those attending a baseball game, and assigns fans responsibility for paying attention and being prepared for the occasional ball or bat coming their way. But should that apply to antics put on by the team in between innings like launching t-shirts into the crowd?

I have not seen the complaint filed in the Astros case, but I am curious if they have filed a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the t-shirt launcher. They could allege that the gun is inherently dangerous and/or defective due to the speed in which the t-shirts are launched. Also, I would imagine that the attorneys for the Astros will file multiple affirmative defenses including comparative negligence. These types of defenses attempt to shift the blame on the Plaintiff, and will depend on the facts of the accident that will come out during depositions. Specifically, that type of defense would hinge on how active this women was in attempting to catch the t-shirt. Did she stick her arms out and partake in attempting to catch the t-shirt? Or, was the just an innocent bystander? Also, the Astros defense team will more likely than not file a motion to dismiss based on the assumption of risk disclaimer discussed above.

I think this woman faces an uphill challenge of getting her case actually before a jury (due to expected motions to dismiss), and ultimately winning at trial. I wish her and her team luck as she appears to have suffered real permanent damage to her hand, and I believe the courts have gone way too far out of their way to protect teams when injuries like this occur. Especially, when the injuries are caused by acts by the mascots rather than foul balls or broken bats.

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

Chicago Transportation Committee Approves Exclusive Lyft-Divvy Partnership

The Chicago Sun Times reported yesterday that the Chicago city council’s, transportation committee approved an exclusive partnership between ride share company, Lyft, and bicycle share company Divvy. If approved by the city council, Lyft would be the exclusive owner and operator of all Divvy bikes throughout the city. Despite backlash from incoming mayor, Lori Lightfoot, and a number of aldermen, the deal is being touted by transportation head Rebekah Scheinfeld. Scheinfeld told the press that this agreement would be a huge boon for the city for the following reasons:

1.The city would get $77 million over nine years earmarked exclusively for transportation projects.

2. Lyft would keep all bike-sharing revenues up to $20 million annually, with the city sharing 5% of everything over that.

3. Chicago taxpayers would also receive $1.5 million a year in minimum guaranteed revenue from advertising and promotions.

4. Lyft would be free to raise bike-sharing rates, but only up to 10% per year. Anything above that must be approved by the Chicago Department of Transportation.

5. Assumption of any liability would be Lyft’s responsibility

This last point, “assumption of liability,” is something I am very interested in. If I am reading this correctly, if there any accidents caused by Divvy riders or if the the equipment on a Divvy bike fails, causing a personal injury or traffic accident, then Lyft would be liable. I assume there will be an insurance policy available on a all of these bikes in case of accident (caused by the bicyclist) or failed equipment. If this is true, and this is the agreement between Lyft and the city, then this would shift all of the potential liability costs away from the city and onto Lyft. This would be a big win for Chicago, and also to any potential injury victims.

Uber and Jump, two other ride share companies, have panned the deal as they were not included in any of the planned agreements. Though the introduction of electric scooters is still available.

We will be watching this closely once agreement plan is taken to a vote with the city council as a whole.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Chicago bicycle accident, or a Chicago traffic accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation.

Hyundai To Recall 20,000 Veloster Cars Amid Fire Concerns

The Associated Press reported last week that Korean automaker, Huyndai, has recalled 20,000 Veloster vehicles after finding a new problem that can cause its car engines to fail or catch fire. The issue is apparently fuel can prematurely ignite in the cylinders around the pistons. That can cause excessive pressure and damage the engine, causing vehicles to stall and in some cases catch fire. This specific issue covers only the 2013 Veloster with 1.6-liter engines. This issue is due to a software problem that has been found only in that model year and not in other Hyundai engines.

According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), this recall is completely separate from the earlier issues with the Soul SUV, which was recalled in February due to engine fire and engine failure problems, and the previous 1.4 million recalls for other engine issues dating back to 2015.

The Center for Auto Safety says it has found more than 300 Hyundai-Kia fire complaints with the NHTSA, including one death. If you own a Hyundai vehicle that was manufactured in 2010 or later, it is incredibly important to take your vehicle to your dealer, or any Hyundai dealer, to insure that the engine software is replace or any other issues related to these recalls.

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

Ralph Nader: All 737 Aircrafts Should Be Grounded For Good

Longtime consumer rights advocate, Ralph Nader, who is best known for pushing automakers to install seat belts, made a very strong statement yesterday against Boeing. He stated all of their 737 aircrafts should be grounded and should never fly again.

Nader’s comments come just one month after his niece,
Samya Stumo, died while aboard the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 plane crashed in Indonesia, which killed all 157 passengers.

“Those planes should never fly again,” Nader stated. He is also pointing blame at the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), who is charged with overseeing the safety of all air traffic in the United States. “If we don’t end the cozy relationship between the patsy FAA…and the Boeing company, 5,000 of these fatally flawed planes will be in the air all over the world with millions of passengers,” Nader said.

Both Boeing and the FAA are still trying to determine the exact cause of the plane crash. A preliminary report has pointed towards faulty software installed by Boeing on the 737s. “It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it, and we know how to do it,” stated Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg in a statement released by the company last week. Boeing said it is still working with the FAA and regulatory agencies to develop and certify an “anti-stall” software update designed to keep the system from being activated unintentionally, along with additional training for pilots.

This obviously is not enough for Nader and other family members of the 737 crash victims. Nader has advocated for consumer right over the last 50 years and has succeeded in the push for change in the auto, food and drug
industries, workplace safety and clean air and water. Thankfully, the 737 Max 8 planes are currently grounded. T Boeing must correct their errors quickly and completely before any consideration to put them back in the air.

If you or a loved has been seriously injured in a Chicago product defect case or suffered a serious personal injury, then call Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-106.

April Is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Throughout the month of April, Police departments across the state of Illinois are cracking down on drivers who text while behind the wheel. April is the national distracted driving awareness month, and Illinois’ police departments are taking it seriously.

More than 100 police agencies across the state are planning to add new hands-free driving enforcement zones that will target drivers using their phones, according to the Naperville Police Department.

Despite laws on the books in every state, including Illinois, banning texting and driving, injuries continue to go up due to distracted driving car accidents. According to the National Highway Safety Council approximately 100 people are injured per day in traffic accidents caused by texting and driving. One reason these numbers continue to grow is due to the expansion of wi-fi capabilities on smart phones.

Extra police patrols and other costs related to the Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign are covered by federal funds allocated to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

I think this push to crack down on distracted drivers is encouraging. My only issue is this should not be a one (1) month a year focus. Police departments should have their patrol officers trained to look for distracted drivers on a regular basis, just like they would monitor for drunk drivers.

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