Throughout Illinois, in cities and rural areas, individuals have taken to riding bicycles to get around in a more healthy, cost-effective, and ecofriendly way. While many drivers have grown accustomed to sharing the roads with bicyclists, accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles still happen. These bicycle accidents are especially dangerous for cyclists because they are more exposed on a bike, and their bodies usually take the force of the blow from the vehicle.
The National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2017, 26 pedalcyclists were killed in traffic accidents in Illinois. Under Illinois law, drivers in the state are responsible for rendering aid to injured cyclists after an accident occurs. This is due to the fact that motor vehicles and bicycles can cause such serious injuries to any cyclists.
Illinois Code Requiring Drivers to Aid Injured Cyclists
In the Illinois Vehicle Code, Section 11-401 states that the driver who caused a motor vehicle accident that resulted in personal injury or death or property damage must stay on the scene until the police and emergency services arrive. Further down in that chapter, Section 11-403 elaborates more deeply on that requirement, and states that the driver who caused the accident must give information and render aid to the person they struck with their vehicle.
In terms of the information they must give, the section outlines that the driver must share their:
- Registration number
- Owner of the vehicle
- Driver’s license
Even if the driver who caused the accident does not know first aid, they still have a legal obligation to render aid to the person they struck with their vehicle under Illinois law. In general, this means that the driver must call 911 and get emergency medical services on the scene, but there are other ways that they can render service that we’ll look into later.
Abandoning a person they injured with their car is considered a hit and run accident and is against the law. Once the paramedics and police arrive on the scene and begin helping the injured person, the at-fault driver is no longer required to assist them.
How to Render Aid to an Injured Cyclist
Even if you aren’t CPR certified, you still are required by law to render aid to a person you injure when you hit them with your vehicle. Care must also be taken to not injure the victim further when providing help. In most serious accidents, the best thing to do is stay with the injured person and call 911.
Here are some other actions that count as rendering aid to an injured cyclist:
- Assisting the injured person in walking to a safer location
- Carrying the injured person out of the road
- Carrying them to a physician, surgeon, or hospital if treatment is necessary
- Performing CPR if certified
Although you have a duty to help the injured person, if it appears they have a neck, back, or head injury, moving them could make their injury worse. In that case, it would be best to call for emergency services and not move the injured person until medical professionals arrive on the scene.
At Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP, we know how devastating bicycle accidents can be. If you were a victim of a bicycle accident and are wondering what your legal options may be, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation so we can discuss your potential claim.