New data shows that the number of motorcycle deaths in Illinois is increasing and that deaths in 2012 are up 13 percent from those in 2010. While some are looking for one factor to blame, many think a number of factors are influencing the fatalities.
One reason for the increase may be that motorcycle riding has increased 57 percent in the last decade. With the price of gas and traffic congestion in Chicago, it may not surprise drivers to learn that motorcycles are becoming much more popular. Bikes are easier and can be cheaper to park, adding to their attraction. Though despite this increase in ridership, the number of motorcycle collisions has been decreasing in the state. Fewer crashes but more fatalities has led some to wonder what is behind this new and disturbing trend.
Illinois does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets and riders without helmets are more likely to die in crashes. Motorcycle accidents that are survivable with a helmet may not be so if the rider chooses to forego a helmet or wears a helmet that is not designed for safety. It may sound odd but not all motorcycle helmets are treated the same. Some are constructed and designed to act as a safety device and to limit injuries to a biker’s face and head. Other helmets are designed for aesthetic reasons and to meet the helmet requirement of some states but are not designed for safety. Similarly, riders who choose to wear street clothes instead of protective clothing are also more likely to die when involved in a crash.
Others believe that current riders are less skilled and knowledgeable than those who rode in prior decades and that this lack of skill is leading to fatalities. With an increase over 50 percent in ridership in 10 years, Illinois has seen a lot of bikers that weren’t riding before. Some of these bikers may have been riding in other states and some may have returned to biking after a temporary absence. But speculation is that many of these are new riders who just began biking within the last 10 years, making them less experienced and less tested then some with more time on the road. Safety experts recommend that new bikers take safety courses before they begin riding. These courses regularly cover topics like defensive driving, weather-related hazards, and how to avoid dangerous drivers on the road.
Depending on the age of the rider and the type of motorcycle license sought, Illinois may require a motorcycle road test before granting a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license. This should not be confused with a safety course as they are two separate programs. As an added bonus, successful completion of a safety course may entitle you to an insurance deduction with some carriers and under some policies.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to make a claim for your damages. Call the Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free consultation and to learn about your legal rights. We only represent those who are injured in a crash and we do not take a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf. Call us today at (312) 924-7575 and let us help you.
Prior Blog Entries:
Hockey Brings Injuries for Fans in Two Separate Games, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 19, 2013.
10 Year Sentence for Drunk Boater Who Killed Child, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 18, 2013.
Illinois motorcycle deaths on the rise, Associated Press/ABC 7 News, published June 14, 2013.