Increase in Chicago motorcycle accidents blamed on distracted drivers

At least four Chicago-area motorcycle accident deaths in May have advocates looking at ways to punish distracted drivers and increase awareness to prevent motorcycle accidents as the summer riding season gets into full swing.

The Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys at Abels & Annes have been active in promoting motorcycle safety awareness on this blog, publishing 10 things drivers should know about motorcycles, and a safe riding blog earlier this month.

Abels & Annes is also taking a look at distracted driving as part of its Summer Safe Driving Series.

“We are a nation of distracted drivers and it’s costing us lives and property damage,” Mami Pyke wrote in the Daily Herald on Sunday. “One local case that’s provoked outrage is the death of motorcyclist Anita Zaffke of Lake Zurich, killed May 2 by another driver who was polishing her nails instead of watching the road, police say.”Pyke said Zaffke’s death is giving weight to a call to give authorities additional means to punish distracted drivers in addition to charges like reckless homicide, which can be difficult to prove against distracted drivers.

Legislation sponsored by Rep. William Blake, R-Danville, would create a misdemeanor category of negligent vehicular homicide, which could result in up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Black pushed for the reform after a 25-year-old Urbana cyclist was killed by a driver who went off the road while downloading ring tones on her cell phone.

Illinois motorcycle accidents and fatalities continue to increase. From 4,119 in 2005 to 4,819 in 2007. There were 154 Illinois motorcycle deaths that year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“This is the ugliest start to riding season in Illinois that we ever have seen,” Dean Akey, a veteran biker and owner of an Allstate Insurance business in St. Charles, told the Daily Herald.

Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable travelers on our roads. Please give them a break this summer. Pay attention while driving, return or motorcycle friends home safely to their families and give yourself a break from the grief and heartache hitting a motorcyclist can cause.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed on a motorcycle, there are things you can do to help protect your rights. The Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free appointments to discuss your case. There is no fee unless you win. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

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