Abels & Annes

Ignoring a Motorcyclist’s Right-of-Way Can Be Deadly

81516Far too often, people who drive cars, trucks, and SUVs in Illinois fail to seriously consider the threat they pose to others on the roadways. One of the biggest concerns these drivers should face is their own personal conduct and how it contributes to or detracts from the safety of those in the area. Driving a reasonable speed, allowing others to merge, using turn signals, and leaving plenty of distance between your vehicle and others around you are all responsible actions. Tailgating, aggressively swerving in and out of lanes of traffic, speeding, and driving while distracted are behaviors that put a driver’s own interests before safety and that lead to millions of car accidents in the nation every year.

Motorcyclists fall victim to the actions of others with regularity in Chicago. Though bikers have the right to ride and to do so freely, other drivers often ignore of threaten that right with their conduct, leading to motorcycle accidents and other bike-related incidents that cause physical injuries and financial harm to victims. While bikers who are hurt may be entitled to seek relief through a personal injury claim and with the help of an attorney, it is always better to avoid these accidents long before they take place.

If you drive a car or other motor vehicle, know that each and every decision you make while driving can have a major impact not only on your future but on the futures of others. If you run a red light, turn against a traffic signal, or otherwise make a mistake and cause an accident, you could be liable for a traffic or criminal charges brought against you. You could face court fines and fees, the loss of your driver’s license, time in jail or prison, or other sanctions depending on your actions and the outcome of a crash.

But the fallout often does not end there. You may be held liable for the monetary harm that stems from your actions as well. Often, this can include a victim’s emergency medical expenses, future medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and anything else they suffered due to your actions. Automobile insurance may be available to cover some of these expenses but a typical driver in Illinois is drastically underinsured and may be personally liable for any damages above and beyond any insurance coverage they carry.

Summer and fall have high number of bikers in Chicago and if you drive a car, you should be prepared to encounter a motorcycle at any time. Keep in control of your vehicle and focus on the task that matters: driving and the changing traffic conditions around you. Resist the desire to reach for your phone, pass your children a snack, or pick up that item you dropped on the passenger seat so that your focus remains where it belongs and limits your odds of causing a right-of-way violation accident with a motorcycle. Do not crowd a motorcycle, attempt to pass when it is unsafe to do so, or otherwise assume a biker will do one thing or another. Rather, drive like you would if someone you knew and loved was on that bike and make sure you respect their right to occupy a portion of the road.

Prior Blog Entry:

Injured on the Job? You Have Rights in Chicago, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published August 12, 2016.