Abels & Annes

Chicago Motorcyclists at risk for Accidents while Merging

8816The summer season is the prime time for motorcyclists to hit the open road. Whether heading out on a multi-state road trip or just a cruise along Lake Shore Driver, May through September is the best season for motorcyclists in Chicago.

However, as the temperature rises the number of accidents involving motorcycles increases as well.

Cook County repeatedly reports the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in Illinois, which is no surprise considering the often congested traffic on highways, interstates, and city streets. This congestion is made worse by summer travel and the flood of tourism the Chicago area experiences during summer months.

One of the biggest causes of motorcycle crashes and motorcyclist fatalities is carelessness. Too often other drivers on the road fail to give motorcyclists they space they need, or while driving distracted they fail to see motorcyclists at all. This is especially true in the case of merging. Because motorcycles are smaller than the average passenger vehicle it is very easy for motorcycles to be hidden in vehicle’s blind spots. Pickup truck, SUV, van, and semi-truck drivers must be extra cautious while merging because these vehicles tend to have larger blind spots. Merging on highways or interstates pose an even greater risk given the high speeds and numerous lanes.

If a driver improperly changes lanes and collides with another vehicle while merging, the driver will be held legally liable for any damages or injuries that follow. Every driver on the road has the duty to ensure they are driving with reasonable care and in the case of merging this means checking ones mirrors and blind spots to avoid collisions. If a driver cuts off a motorcycle while merging, forcing the rider to swerve into the next lane or stop suddenly causing an accident, that driver can be held liable even though he or she was not actually involved in the collision. With this liability the at-fault driver may be held responsible for compensating the victims of the collision. This compensation can include the costs of medical treatment, vehicle repairs, or monetary relief for pain and suffering.

The following tips will hopefully help you and you loved ones avoid motorcycle merging accidents so that everyone can enjoy the summer sunshine while we still can!

Tips to help Motorcyclists Avoid Merging Accidents
• Try to give merging vehicles as much space as possible
• If you’re merging always use the proper signal
• Be seen! Reflective gear and proper headlights go a long way
• Avoid dark roads at night
• Never get in between a vehicle and the exit ramp
• If you notice a vehicle drifting or driving erratically move out of the way

Tips to Help Others on the Road to Avoid Merging Accidents with Motorcycles
• Always give motorcyclists the same amount of space you would give any other vehicle
• When merging make sure to use the proper turn signal so others on the road give you space
• Check your blind spots, and then check them again!

Prior Blog Entry:

CTA Transportation Can Be Dangerous in Chicago, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published August 5, 2016.

Resource:

Illinois Crash Data Trends 2010-2014, Illinois Department of Transportation.