Chicago toddler’s family sues city and others involved in bike lane tragedy

Since Lily Shambrook’s death on a bike last June, the City of Chicago has made changes, including increasing fines for parking in bike lanes. Her parents, however, believe that none of this goes far enough and are now seeking legal action to hold the city, the truck driver, and all parties involved accountable for the toddler’s death.

On June 9, 2022, Shambrook’s mother, Kate Snow, was riding her bicycle around the city as part of her commuting and as a hobby when a semi tractor-trailer knocked her and her 3-year-old daughter off their bike.

“There was no other place for the bike to go except into a lane of travel,” Clifford Law attorney Bradley Cosgrove explained.

Using an animated recreation of the fatal collision to make their point, the family’s attorneys claimed Snow was trying to maneuver around a ComEd truck they claimed was illegally parked, blocking the bike lane on Leland Avenue near Winthrop in Uptown.

According to the attorneys, this is when the semi driver hit the bike and ran over Lily.

“We also believe he continued even after contact,” said Clifford Law attorney Richard F. Burke. “Tim Shambrook himself and other bystanders had to chase the truck and screaming for him to stop.”

Snow and Shambrook are now suing the semi driver, Mondelez International, the company he was driving for, and ComEd, alleging that they all contributed to their daughter’s death.

They’re also targeting the city of Chicago.

“They simply should not allow semi tractor trailers to be passing through this area of Leland,” Burke said.

The bereaved parents hope to improve cycling conditions throughout the city.

Mondelez International statement

Our hearts go out to the family who continue to mourn the loss of their daughter. Out of respect for their privacy and the continuing investigation, we have no additional comment at this time.

ComEd statement

Our thoughts remain with the family affected by this tragic accident. ComEd has cooperated fully with local authorities, and while we can’t comment on ongoing litigation, our top priority is and always will be the safety of the public and our employees.

Shambrook family statement

On behalf of our little girl, Lily, no words can express our devastation on losing her last June. In her honor, we are forever committed to making Chicago a safer biking community so that her death wasn’t in vain.

Just weeks after Lily’s death, the City of Chicago announced an aggressive plan to construct concrete barriers along every bike lane by the end of 2023 similar to a curb so as to prevent drivers from even entering bicycle lanes, but that was too late for Lily.

A Chicago city ordinance that was passed just last month regarding signage when construction work is occurring in the neighborhoods and towing of vehicles in bike lanes may be a first step toward increased safety, but it simply doesn’t go far enough and just papers over the real problems. I have spoken to city officials many times asking about tow truck response times to vehicles parked in bike lanes, camera enforcement of safe bike lanes or progress toward the 2023 city-wide curb program, and the answers from the city are deficient. Safety should be every elected official’s top priority and our little Lily paid the ultimate price for others’ misconduct and disregard for the safety of bicyclists.

We have hired Clifford Law Offices to investigate what occurred on June 9, 2022, when a Commonwealth Edison truck was parked blocking the bicycle lane painted on the street while other large vehicles were still allowed to also be in the same area with repairs going on in a residential neighborhood. I have witnessed this type of conduct continue after Lily’s death right in our same neighborhood. 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.

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