On August 12, 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 5912, commonly referred to as Dennis’ Law. This law is named after Dennis Jurs, a 68 year old bicycle enthusiast who was killed in May 2015 in a collision with a motor vehicle. The driver was originally cited with failure to yield the right of way to Dennis, but a Kane County Judge dismissed the citation because the Court found that a bicycle was not a vehicle.
Before the current change to the Illinois Vehicle Code, there were conflicting opinions regarding whether a bicycle was considered a vehicle under the Illinois Vehicle Code. The newly passed Dennis’ Law states, “a driver of a vehicle upon a highway shall yield the right-of-way to any person operating a bicycle.” The new law also grants every person riding a bicycle upon a highway all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver.
With the passing of Dennis’ Law, the hope is to raise awareness for bicyclists on the road, and to ensure that drivers throughout Illinois will now clearly understand that bicycles are to have the same rights of way as any other motor vehicles.