November 12, 2018

November 12, 2018

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Illinois Supreme Court Holds Absolute Immunity Not Applicable to Bike Path

We recently wrote about the confusion in Illinois law on what constitutes a “Riding Trail.” It explained that this definition is important because Section 3-107(b) of the Illinois Tort Immunity Act grants total immunity to public entities for incidents that occur on “riding trails.” With more local governments creating paved bicycle and pedestrian trails, the question became: Are these trails considered “riding trails"?

Last week, in the case of Corbett v. The County of Lake, the Illinois Supreme Court weighed in. The court rejected the idea that a riding trail is defined as only a forest path or a mountain pass. In a state with no mountains, the court determined that this definition was unworkable and arbitrary. The court concluded that under the Act, absolute immunity for “trails” applied only to rustic trails in their natural environment and did not include paved or otherwise finished trails, such as those designated for on-road bicycles. In other words, shared-use bike paths intended for bicycles, pedestrians, and in-line skaters are not considered trails under the Act.

© 2018 Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C


About this Author

Anne Mergen, Heyl Royster Law Firm, Peoria, Tort Litigation and Environmental Law Attorney

Anne concentrates her practice on casualty and tort litigation, environmental law, and governmental law.

Prior to joining Heyl Royster, Anne was an attorney in the General Counsel’s office of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in Springfield (2014-17). Her experience at the IDNR encompassed transactional work including real estate matters, contracts and grants, as well as administrative proceedings. Anne’s experience also encompassed drafting administrative rules and included cases challenging the IDNR’s administrative authority. Anne...