Motorists in Illinois tend to be acutely aware of bicyclist in certain areas, but often not as cautious in others. For instance, people driving in cities (like Chicago) with clearly-marked bike lanes or on residential streets where kids and their parents might be riding may have their attentions focused more on bicyclists than drivers on busy thoroughfares or rural highways. But the blunt truth is that motorists must always keep an eye out for bicyclists on all types of roads (other than perhaps freeways and toll roads).
Sadly, this may not have been the case in Cook County this week. Around 9am on Tuesday morning, a car was driving north on Interstate 294 in Schaumburg when it exited at Higgins Road and tried to turn right to go eastbound. But at the same time, a woman in her 30s was pedaling a bicycle as the car was making its turn, and the vehicle struck the bicycle. The woman was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died from her injuries about a half hour later. Illinois State Police are still investigating the bicycle accident.
As of now, it isn’t clear whether the man driving the car or the woman on the bike had the right of way, since a bicycle trail which runs through the adjacent Busse Woods area actually crosses the right-turn lane from the interstate service road to Higgins Road. It’s possible that the woman did not yield to the car on the roadway, which would make the accident her fault.
But if the driver of the car is found to be liable for the auto accident, the woman’s surviving family members would have solid grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against him. In this instance, a jury could choose to award the plaintiffs monetary damages for pain and suffering and loss of care or companionship, reimbursement for hospital and burial costs, and estimated unearned future wages.