‘I Just Felt My Husband Had Been Killed Again’: New Bicycle Law Gives Purpose to Grieving Widow’s Pain

A new bicycle law that goes into effect in January is particularly meaningful to a grieving widow with a message to share.

Julia McClendon said it’s been one year, three months and 11 days since she received the call informing her that her husband, Dennis Jurs, of Hampshire, was killed when his bike crashed with a driver last year. McClendon said her 68-year-old husband was passionate, experienced cyclist.

“On the coldest day of the winter, he’d go out for a 25 mile ride,” she said.

The new bike law is named “Dennis’ Law.”

The driver who hit Jurs was ticketed for failing to yield the right of way, but McClendon says a Kante County judge dismissed the citation.

“Because the failure to yield law only applies to two vehicles … I just felt my husband had been killed again,” McClendon said.

She fought to change state law and won.

Recently, the Illinois legislature voted that bicyclists are entitled to the right-of-way and have the same rights as drivers.

Chicago attorney Jeff Kroll says his law firm is litigating an increasing number of bike death alwsuits—including one that’s considered the first bike-share death in the country. In July, Ginny Murray was riding a Divvy when a flatbed truck crashed into her.

“The message to driver is ‘pay attention.’” Said attorney Jeff Kroll. “For a while we were trying to get drunk drivers off the road. Now distracted drivers are the ones causing these deaths.

Kroll called rules like Dennis’ Law “tremendous.”

The measure had widespread support, including the Illinois Trucking Association.

“We appreciate and support any initiative out there that leads to a safer environment on the roadways,” said Matt Hard, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association.

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