Thousands injured or killed in Illinois motorcycle accidents each year

This time of year is popular for motorcyclists across the country to get on their bikes and enjoy the open air. For motorcycle enthusiasts, nothing can be better than the freedom of the open road, taking in the warm summer weather and beautiful scenery. However, motorcyclists face certain dangers as soon as they enter traffic. Because they are smaller and faster than other vehicles, motorcycles can be hard to see and are often missed by drivers, especially in their blind spots. Despite a drop in overall traffic fatalities, a large number of motorcyclists are seriously injured or killed each year throughout the U.S., says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 148 motorcyclists were killed and an additional 3,312 injured in Illinois crashes in 2012.

Helmet laws vary from state to state and may affect each region's accident statistics. Consumer Reports says that wearing a certified motorcycle helmet can reduce the risk of a motorcyclist dying in a crash by up to 40 percent. However, helmets do not always prevent a biker from being hurt. Illinois currently has no laws regarding motorcycle helmets. Despite laws, the drivers of other vehicles play a large part in keeping motorcyclists safe while sharing the roads.

Motorcyclists often killed being struck from behind

One of the most common types of accidents motorcyclists face involves being hit from behind by a driver who did not see the bike or misjudged its speed. Being struck by a vehicle pulling out into traffic is another common type of crash, for the same reasons. Earlier this month in Bridgeview, a car hit a motorcycle carrying two people, reported CBS Chicago. Tragically, both riders were killed in the accident. It was not immediately clear how the other vehicle struck the motorcycle, or whether the riders were wearing helmets.

Even if a serious brain injury is prevented by wearing a helmet, motorcyclists often face a variety of other injuries, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include:

  • Neck and spine injuries.
  • Broken bones in the arms and legs.
  • Injured internal organs.
  • Road rash.

Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to these types of injuries because they lack the structural protection that drivers of larger vehicles have. All of these injuries can take months of recovery time. Many drivers may not realize that motorcycles need a longer following distance because they can stop much faster than other cars and trucks; also, they can lose control more easily in bad weather or on uneven roads.

Getting help from an attorney

Motorcycle crashes can be devastating. If you or a loved one was hurt by another driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away.