The parents of a three-year-old child who was killed by a lorry driver in Chicago as her parents were forced to move out of a cycle lane due to a utility company’s truck being parked there are suing the owners of both vehicles, as well as the city, for wrongful death.
Elizabeth Grace ‘Lily’ Shambrook, who was being taken by her parents to a summer day camp, was sitting on the child seat of her mother Kate Snow’s bike as they cycled with her father Tim Shambrook on 9 June 2022 when they had to move into the road due to a Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) truck reportedly being illegally parked in the bike lane at a traffic light, reports ABC News.
That brought them next to an articulated lorry belonging to global food industry giant Mondelez, and when the driver of that vehicle moved away from the traffic lights, he knocked Ms Snow and her bike over, with Lily crushed beneath the rear wheels of the vehicle.
Clifford Law Offices, which is acting for the parents, has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County alleging negligence on the part of ComEd and Mondelez, as well as Penske Truck Leasing, which employed the driver of the articulated lorry.
The city of Chicago is also being sued for “wilful and wanton misconduct” in relation to its failure to monitor ComEd’s actions after issuing it a city permit and for failing to effectively protect and separate cyclists using the bike lane from other traffic.
Richard Burke, a partner at the law firm, said: “Multiple factors converged to make this an unsafe location and intersection on the day this happened.
“That starts with the fact that Kate Snow – Lily's mom – was riding in a designated bike lane on what is primarily a residential neighbourhood.”
Burke added that the infrastructure was meant to allow people to cycle “with ease and presumably with safety, and so they were doing exactly what they were entitled to be doing on the street.”
On the other hand, the complaint alleges negligence on the part of ComEd for “intentionally and knowingly usurping use of the designated bike lane” and illegally parking in an “unsafe” place.
Mondelez and Penske Truck Leasing are also accused of having “negligently operated, managed, maintained and controlled their tractor-trailer truck”, “driving their vehicle without making sure it was safe to do so”, and for allegedly continuing to drive on after colliding with the Ms Snow and her child.
Finally, the city of Chicago is being sued for “wilful and wanton misconduct”, as the law firm’s senior partner Robert Clifford argued that the authority’s “concern for others” was missing when it allowed ComEd to drive and park its large and heavy vehicles in residential neighbourhoods.
“The City of Chicago issued a permit to ComEd without adequate concert for the size and amount of heavy equipment that would be brought into the neighbourhood, or where their vehicles actually would be parked,” Clifford said.
“We all co-exist in a society where it takes cooperation and concerns for others who need to do their jobs to ensure that senseless tragedies like this cease. That concern was missing.
“The flagrant and repeated disregard for the safety of bicyclists and lack of respect for designated bike lanes by operators of trucks and vehicles create deadly hazards that simply can’t be tolerated.”
Following the youngster’s death, the city of Chicago announced that it would place concrete barriers alongside cycle lanes to stop motorists from entering them.
It has also passed a law requiring signs to be put in place warning cyclists when construction work is taking place within bike lanes – although Mr Shambrook and Ms Snow said such measures were “too late for Lily”.
They said: “In her honour, we are forever committed to making Chicago a safer biking community so that her death wasn’t in vain.
“People have to care. The city has to care. Corporations have to care. They all need to respect bicycle lanes and the bicyclists using them.”
“Hopefully, this lawsuit will open the eyes of many because we would never want this tragedy to happen to any other family anywhere.”
The shocking video, which was captured on a motorist’s dash cam, prompted local Green Party councillor Carolyn Moore – speaking at a meeting on the Road Safety Authority’s ‘Be Safe, Be Seen’ campaign, which encourages cyclists and pedestrians to wear bright, reflective clothing at night so they can avoid being struck by motorists – to call for the campaign to instead focus on the behaviour of drivers.
We’ve noticed you’re using an ad blocker. If you like road.cc, but you don’t like ads, please consider subscribing to the site to support us directly. As a subscriber you can read road.cc ad-free, from as little as £1.99.
If you don’t want to subscribe, please turn your ad blocker off. The revenue from adverts helps to fund our site.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, then please consider subscribing to road.cc from as little as £1.99. Our mission is to bring you all the news that’s relevant to you as a cyclist, independent reviews, impartial buying advice and more. Your subscription will help us to do more.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.
Doesn't even have to be dark... camera / phone flash is normally enough with Proviz stuff
It's a thankless task being responsible for a BTL with these weirdos. What did they do with themselves before t'internet?
No problem !...
If only it'd been wearing a helment and hi viz. Seriously, Grove Lane is in a 20mph zone. If you can't drive down there without hitting something,...
You can't get a fridge along there!!
Well of course cars are driven by right thinking conservatives you see. Bicycles meanwhile are the preserve of lefty, tofu eaters who are a danger...
No doubt this new rule was heavily advocated for by Lawrence Stroll.
Thanks for the article on what was a truly striking bike.
Did Speed Buggy and Herbie retire to the Isle of Man? I think you mean 'scare the bejaysus out of the drivers of other passing vehicles'...