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New State Law Clarifies: Bikes Get the Right-of-Way, Just Like Cars

A new state law takes effect this weekend, clarifying the rights of bicyclists. “Dennis’s Law” is named after a cyclist who died when a motorist ran a stop sign but was found “not guilty” by a judge.

Attorney Brendan Kevenides, who specializes in representing cyclists, said there are two issues: one is the law itself, the other is how it’s enforced.

“The law is actually pretty awesome in Illinois,” he said. “Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as other users of the roadways.”

However, police and judges don’t always fully appreciate that principle, he said.

That’s what appears to have happened in the case of Dennis Jurs, who was killed in a 2015 crash where a driver blew a stop sign.

The judge dismissed a failure-to-yield citation against the driver, and the family’s lawyer, Michael Keating, mounted a lobbying effort for what’s become known as “Dennis’s Law.”

It amends a paragraph of the vehicle code that already says the rules of the road apply to bikes. It adds a few words to emphasize that those rules include right-of-way laws.

Dan Weissmann is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him at @danweissmann.


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