Drivers navigating congested traffic in metropolitan areas in Illinois often struggle to find convenient parking spaces. The problem is especially pronounced by delivery vehicle drivers. Heavy traffic and limited or nonexistent parking can force motorists to stop in designated bicycle lanes when they only need to exit their vehicles briefly. However, stopping in unauthorized locations reduces safety.
Unsafe bike lane blockages
Bicyclists who encounter a blocked bicycle lane must merge into the main traffic lane with vehicular traffic. This action strips them of the relative safety offered by the bicycle-only lane and exposes them to the risk of being hit by a motor vehicle.
If you block a bike lane and it causes an accident, you might face liability for someone’s injuries. Chicago expressly forbids motorists from parking in bicycle lanes. This violation of traffic law could support claims by accident victims that you acted negligently. After a motor vehicle accident, negligence is an important factor in who receives compensation.
Sharing roads with bicyclists
Although it can be inconvenient, the law obligates motorists to find legal parking spaces even if stopping momentarily. When no realistic parking is available, delivery drivers may stop in a traffic lane, activate their hazard flashers, and set up orange cones. This alternative is not without risk, though. Blocking a whole lane worsens traffic congestion and forces traffic to shift around the vehicle.
Identifying liability for accidents
Situations like a blocked lane illustrate how fault for an accident can be unclear or distributed across multiple parties. A bicyclist hit by a car after shifting out of a blocked bicycle lane might initially place blame on the vehicle that struck the bicycle. However, the vehicle blocking the lane might actually bear a share of responsibility.