A bill signed into law decrees that cars and bikes must be treated as equals in Illinois. House Bill 5912 was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The measure amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. According to a recent report by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the amendment to the code was prompted by the death of Dennis Jurs, a 68-year-old Army veteran who was biking when he was hit by a vehicle in Kane County last year. Jurs’s death occurred at an intersection where north and southbound drivers have stop signs, but east and westbound vehicles did not.
In the October 2015 case, the driver of the car was charged with a failure to yield, but the case was dismissed when the Kane County judge ruled that there were conflicting rulings showing that bicyclists did not have the same rights as automobiles under Illinois law.
According to the article, the Jurs family, with their attorney Michael S. Keating, drafted the amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code and pushed for its passage.
The amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code regarding the right of way for bicyclists was sponsored by Rep Anna Moeller, (D-Elgin). According to the article, Rep. Moeller encountered opposition from the Illinois State Police who feared the original measure, which said every driver shall yield the right of way to anyone operating a bike, might be too broad.
After the proposed bill was changed to clarify that bikers simply have the same rights as vehicles, the measure passed both Houses of the General Assembly with only one opposing vote.
In one important Illinois Appellate Court decision, People v. Isaacson, a lawsuit was dismissed where the charge of failure to yield was overturned after it had been dismissed. In that case, the defendant hit a bicyclist who was coming out of an alley. The Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District stated that the right of way statutes is for the protection of the person, not the vehicle.
Keating commented that Jurs was an amputee injured in the Vietnam war and was a member of a cycling team and an organizer for the Four Bridges Road Race in Elgin.
The new law is intended to provide more safety and awareness to all bicyclists to have the same right of way as other motorists. There are many more bicyclists on Illinois, Cook County and Chicago streets, roads and highways than anytime in recent memory. Awareness of bicyclists is imperative to motorists who should be watchful of bicyclists who are using the same streets and roads.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling bicycle accident cases, truck and automobile accident cases, motorcycle accident cases and wrongful death cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of another for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding areas including, Stickney, Burbank, Oak Lawn, Alsip, Harvey, Calumet City, Crestwood, Forest Park, Hickory Hills, Burr Ridge, Western Springs, Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Chicago (Roseland, Sauganash, Sheffield, South Loop, South Shore, Lawndale, Korea Town, Cragin, East Garfield Park, North Park, Near North Side, Bronzeville, Bucktown, Buena Park, Canaryville, Cathedral District, DePaul University Area, Wrigleyville), Glenwood, Geneva, Lisle, Oak Park and Niles, Ill.
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