The life and legacy of fallen Illinois cyclist Dennis Jurs was honored Sunday during the Dennis Jurs Memorial Race in Elgin. Dennis Jurs lost his life in May of 2015 in a collision with a motor vehicle while on a training ride.
The Illinois law known as “Dennis’s Law” is named after Dennis Jurs and came about after a Kane County judge dismissed a traffic citation against the motorist involved in the crash for failing to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming bicyclist. The judge incorrectly ruled that the right-of-way laws in the Illinois Vehicle Code did not apply to bicyclists. The judge cited non-traffic related cases that held that a bicycle was not a “vehicle” under certain legal definitions. The judge then dismissed the charges against the motorist involved in the fatal collision because of the uncertainty between the Illinois Vehicle Code and the case law.
“Dennis’s Law” makes it absolutely clear that Illinois bicyclists are to receive all the same rights in traffic situations involving the right-of-way as the drivers of motor vehicles. Previous to this change, there was a conflict as to whether a bicycle was considered a “vehicle” under Illinois law and was therefore entitled to the right-of-way between vehicles. Since the prior right-of-way laws in Illinois referenced “vehicles” there was an issue as to whether the right-of-way laws explicitly applied to bicyclists.
New Bicycle Law Provides Clarity To Existing Laws
This change in Illinois bicycle law makes it absolutely clear that bicycles are “vehicles” as defined in the Illinois Vehicle Code and that motorists must provide the right-of-way to bicycles when the bicyclist is entitled to the right-of-way. “Dennis’s Law” has been the law in Illinois since January 1, 2017. Keating Law Offices attorney Mike Keating was one of the attorneys who represented the family of Dennis Jurs in the civil case and lobbied on behalf of “Dennis’s Law” by working with legislators and outside advocacy groups to push the legislation in Springfield. “Dennis’s Law” passed both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate with only one vote against it prior to being signed into law by the governor.
The Dennis Jurs Memorial Race – The Intelligentsia Cup
Dennis Jurs was a longtims member of Team MACK and was an organizer of the Four Bridges road race. He was a Vietnam Veteran who took up cycling later in life to rehabilitate an injury he suffered after stepping on a land mine. The 2018 Dennis Jurs Memorial Race was also the Illinois State Road Race Championship for the Illinois Cycling Association. The race is also a part of the Intelligentsia Cup which brings elite-level road racing to communities throughout northern Illinois.