A bicyclist has been killed by a truck in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood, marking the city’s third bicyclist death this year.
Bicyclist Pulled Under Truck
On November 6, 2019, at around 7:00 a.m., 37-year-old Carla Aiello of the Union Ridge neighborhood was riding her bicycle southbound in the 3800 block of North Milwaukee Avenue alongside a dump truck. The truck driver then reportedly started turning right onto Kilbourn Avenue at a green light. The bicycle was caught under the truck’s wheel, pulling Ms. Aiello under the truck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The unidentified 21-year-old truck driver, who told police that Ms. Aiello was in his blind spot, has been cited for negligent driving and making an improper right turn. Chicago law requires motorists to look for bicyclists and pedestrians before turning.
The Chicago Police Major Accidents Unit is investigating the fatal bicycling accident, though two witnesses have confirmed the truck driver’s account of the events leading up to Ms. Aiello’s death.
Third Chicago Bicyclist Death This Year
Carla Aiello is the third bicyclist to be killed in Chicago this year. The other two incidents were hit-and-runs.
In September, Richard Williams, 56, was fatally struck by a Chevy Trailblazer when he was riding his bike in the 4500 block of West Lake Street in Garfield Park. On October 20, 26-year-old Vincent Tran was hit as he cycled on Irving Park Road at Kimball Avenue by a dark-colored vehicle. He died a week later from a head injury. The Chicago Police Department reports that no arrests have been made in either bicyclist death.
In response to the most recent fatal bicycle accident, cycling advocacy group Bike Lane Uprising organized a vigil to honor the life of Carla Aiello and raise awareness about the need to have more protected bike lanes. Participants in the vigil gathered in the bike lane to prevent motor vehicles from veering into it.
Risks of Biking in Chicago
In spite of the protest, many insist that biking in Chicago is safer than ever. According to the Chicago Department of Transportation, the city is on pace to have a lower bicyclist death count than in 2018, when Chicago recorded eight biking fatalities.
Additionally, Chicago aldermen have passed an ordinance requiring sideguards to be installed on trucks operated by private contractors by 2021 and on the city’s entire truck fleet by 2026. The sideguards are designed to prevent bicyclists from being “hooked” by trucks when they turn and to keep them from being pushed under tires.
But regardless of these improvements, biking in major cities like Chicago still carries significant safety risks. Chicago has more than 248 miles of bike lanes. However, only about one-third of these lanes are currently protected either with barriers or by buffers that provide additional space between bicyclists and motor vehicles. The majority of these bike lanes still leave Chicago riders vulnerable to the unique dangers of bicycling. With no metal frames surrounding them, as with cars and trucks, bicyclists are exposed to direct contact with other vehicles, obstacles, and the road itself.
Have You Been Injured While Riding a Bicycle?
Given the risks of biking in Chicago, far too often what starts out as a pleasant ride can turn into a devastating event. In an instant, you can find yourself dealing with serious injuries, mounting medical bills, and significant wage loss. To help get your life back on track, contact the Chicago bicycle accident attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers today.
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients in more than four decades in practice, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our attorneys have a proven record of success in maximizing the value of bicycle accident victims’ claims. We can be particularly helpful in cases in which you were struck by a large truck or commercial vehicle. Our Chicago truck accident lawyers have extensive experience identifying all the parties that may be responsible for your injuries so as to not leave any potential compensation on the table.