The Chainlink

Potential legal grey area on non-'roadway' bike trails for hit and runs

My father was involved in an cyclist-cyclist accident on the Robert McClory trail on July 4th near downtown Lake Bluff between 8-9am. It appears it was not his fault and the at-fault parties (not injured) refused to identify themselves or stay around until emergency responders arrived. My father broke his neck and had to surgery + stay in the hospital for an additional 5 days. His helmet saved his life and he will likely recover.

I spoke with the Lake Bluff police and they told me that basically there is no such law that requires a cyclist or pedestrian to identify themselves and stay on the scene when such accidents involving injuries happen on bike paths. Is this correct?

Obviously for an accident on a roadway, involved parties are legally mandated to stay on the scene (cyclists and cars), but I was surprised to hear that even the chance that there is a legal hit-and-run loophole for non-'roadway' bike trails. A quick google search showed that California specifically cleaned up the language in their laws to make it illegal for someone to leave the scene of a similar accident where injuries are involved https://www.sgvtribune.com/2018/12/31/a-bicyclist-hit-and-run-on-a-...

Thoughts? Is this 'loophole' due to a misunderstanding of the vehicle code in Illinois or is it a real possibility that someone is legally allowed to walk away from injuring another party accidentally on a bike path with out fearing criminal consequences for a hit-and-run? 

 I'm assuming that trails currently fall under the same legal grey area as parking lots and other types private property where police seem to be weary of filling out car accident reports. 

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That's terrible, and I hope your father recovers quickly.  

Unfortunately, sounds like you're correct.  As a general rule, it's not a crime to leave any scene at which you have engaged in non-criminal, tortious behavior (like negligence, which happened here), unless there's a specific statute that makes it so - like LTSA.  Unfortunately, it looks like it doesn't apply to trails.  I guess the best you could do is try to file a John Doe suit and then, once the suit is filed, use subpoena power to look for anything that might identify the wrongdoer.  I guess the upside is that, if you find him, his fleeing is pretty decent prima facie evidence of his liability.

Best of luck to you and your father.

What a s***ty thing that person did. I'm sorry for your father's injury, but I'm glad that he appears to be on the way to recovery. 

i'm recalling an incident on a trail a couple of years ago where a man suffered fatal injuries when a dog's leash became entangled in his wheel. It may have been on the North Shore trail? To the best of my knowledge dog and its owner were never identified; it seems they undid the leash and fled the scene, leaving the man lying there in the path.

Does anyone here remember this? What was the outcome? Was it ever resolved?

(i recently had the experience of a dog running across my path and its long retractable leash caught up in my drivetrain. Fortunately, i wasn't crashed. Let me just say here that i detest those 20'+ leashes- they're a menace!)

That happened to me a few years ago on the LFT north of Belmont.  Dog on one side of the trail, man facing away on the other side of the trail.  I didn't see a leash until the last second.  I braked hard and fortunately the man let go of the leash.  No one was hurt.

Two words:  Bicycle Registration

Registration is a key step in elevating the status and norming of cycling.  We have it for cars and motorcycles to help drive accountability, and need it for bikes, and such is the root of a host of objections on the topic to evade responsibility and accountability.  Dogs, boats, all sorts of things in the public must be registered, and the bike thing is on the way as society evolves and becomes more accepting of cycling. 

Meanwhile, in addition to the best wishes from everyone, Cooper's good counsel above is the way to go. 

Three words: Solves nothing; unenforceable.

Well, it solves a lot, like the lack of registration for one, and everything that comes with that including the lack of accountability such as we just read about involving the injured party above.  And it is enforceable as well of course, such as with cars and motorcycles and boats and and and..  Again, the real roots of the objection are widely understood. 

Cars are involved in hit and runs quite often, and they get away without being caught too. Registration has nothing to do with personal responsibility or ethics. 

Hey, why don't we make *people* register too? Everyone puts a license plate on their back and front.

Generally speaking, because they aren't otherwise as prone to being stolen or to be involved in collisions at the rate of pedal cycles and motorcycles. 

Better yet, just install micro chips and GPS devices at birth.

It is mainstream is for people things like birth certificates and social security numbers.

Also mainstream of course the registration of motorcycles and boats and snowmobiles and and and... all pretty basic.

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