Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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With summertime in full swing, many Chicagoans are excited to take their motorcycles out of storage and enjoy the open air. Our attorneys agree that this should be a safe and enjoyable time for all to take advantage of the warm summer weather, and for that reason is why we wish to address motorcycle safety issues and concerns with our readers. By abiding by safety as a motorcycle rider, or by being aware of safety concerns as someone who drives a passenger vehicle, we can all be safer both operating or around motorcycles.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation website discusses important issues for many motorcyclists. For instance, many drivers of passenger vehicles comment after being involved in accidents with motorcycles that they never even saw the motorcyclist next to them. For this reason, it is important that motorcyclists stay visible to other drivers, and that other drivers maintain a vigilant look-out for them. This means that both drivers and motorcycle operators should keep a safe distance between them and all other vehicles on the road.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation also acknowledges that the summer season is the busiest for motorcycle riding and the most important time to address safety concerns. In their safety publication called “Pretend You Are Invisible”, they address the issue of how many drivers do not notice motorcycles because they are distracted or simply lack expectation that a motorcyclist will be present. As our readers know, as vigilant as you may be, you can never stop another driver from acting negligently, so it is important that motorcyclists practice defensive driving skills to best protect themselves. By acknowledging and accepting that they can’t be seen, or pretending they are invisible as the article is titled, motorcyclists are much more cognizant and aware of ever-present dangers and constantly on alert. In addition to this vigilance, motorcyclists should do all they can to make themselves obvious to other drivers, such as wearing bright clothing and a light colored helmet, always having their headlight on, and using their high beam when they can.
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As the sun begins to shine in Chicago and the summer approaches, more and more motorcyclists are getting out on the road and enjoying the nice weather. According to Cyber Drive Illinois, there are about 344,000 thousand motorcycles on the road in Illinois. While this can be a great hobby for many, it is crucial to remember to always take all necessary safety precautions to ensure that both the motorcycle driver and everyone else on the road stay safe. Among the safety measures all motorcycles should take, no one should every drive a motorcycle if they do not have a permit or a special license to operate the motorcycle. In order to obtain a permit or license, certain rules must be learned and a test has to be passed. This helps ensure that all drivers know the safety laws for operating motorcycles in Illinois. One rule that many people may not know is that motorcyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as drivers of passenger cars, and that motorcycles may not pass between two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction unless there is an obstruction that would allow no other safe passage.

Another very important safety tip to remember is how important wearing a helmet while on a motorcycle is, to protect your head in the event of an motorcycle accident. A recent study has shown that one out of every five motorcycle accidents involves a head or neck injury, which shows how important it is to wear a motorcycle helmet. Motorcyclists may think they do not need a helmet when heading out for a quick trip and only wear a helmet when going for a long ride. However, most crashes occur within five minutes of starting a ride, so it is important to always wear a helmet on any motorcycle ride. Another surprising finding is that most accidents occur when a driver is traveling at speeds under 30 miles an hour. Motorcycle riders wearing a helmet are three times more likely to survive an injury involving a hit to the head than riders not wearing a helmet.

Also, never operate a motorcycle when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is not only illegal to drink and drive a car but also illegal to drink and drive a motorcycle. The risk of an accident increases greatly, and you will not have the same reaction time that you would have if you are driving sober, so please make sure to never drive your motorcycle after drinking.

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For most of us, Chicago construction is a minor nuisance that slows down our travel to work. However, when road construction is improperly supervised and construction companies don’t warn motorists of uneven surfaces of the pavement, that nuisance can turn deadly.

Devastatingly, that’s what happened to a Joliet Fire Lieutenant this past August. The 38 year-old man was riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle westbound on Interstate 80 when he hit a patch of uneven pavement near Chicago Street. The highway was reduced to one lane in that area, which further exacerbates liability on the part of the road construction company, in that the man had nowhere else to drive. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the man lost control of the bike and was thrown from the motorcycle, hitting the roadway. He was pronounced brain dead shortly thereafter.

Perhaps the most crucial fact is that the smallest change could have made a huge difference. The Chicago Sun Times reports that an attorney on behalf of the deceased’s estate says that there were no signs, markings, or other warnings given to motorists about the bump in the road. Had the Fire Lieutenant known of the hazard in the roadway, it may have made a difference in whether he lived or died.

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A middle-aged man faces DUI charges after his vehicle hit a motorcycle, injuring a grandfather and his 6 year-old granddaughter. The car accident resulted in personal injuries to the two individuals and the driver was arrested and charged with aggravated driving under the influence. Local police stated that the man was crossing a center line where the car crash occurred and neighbors describe that the area is tricky with “blind curves.” Blind intersections are not uncommon in the Chicagoland area – often times, buildings, trees, walls, or other features may prevent us from seeing cars entering the intersection. Sometimes even traffic can “screen” out oncoming traffic, creating a large curved wall you cannot see beyond.

In this motorcycle accident, the grandfather was taken to the hospital with leg injuries and chest pains; his six year-old granddaughter was transported to a Children’s Hospital with a serious leg injury. The driver charged with the DUI called 911 himself and was remorseful about the car crash. Motorcycle accidents are always especially worrisome because passengers on motorcycles are so vulnerable, not protected by any sheets of metal forming car walls. As our Chicago car accident lawyers recently reported, studies showing decreases in motorcycle deaths may be misleading. Wrongful deaths due to motorcycle accidents dropped two percent, but that may only signal a blip in the safety trend and not a lasting improvement in motorcycle safety. Fatalities started to climb during the last three of the nine months reviewed, which has safety advocates worried.

In 2009, there were 130 motorcycle fatalities in Illinois, which is far too many. Start Seeing Motorcycles.org offers several resources, information, and training needed to make motorcycling experiences safer, more pleasurable, and help reduce fatalities and personal injuries. Next month, May 2011, has been proclaimed Motorcycle Awareness Month in the State of Illinois to keep Illinois roadways safe through proper motorist awareness.

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Recent reports showing decreases in motorcycle deaths may be misleading. During the first nine months of last year, wrongful deaths due to motorcycle accidents dropped 2 percent, but the recent report by state transportation officials reflecting the lower fatalities may only signal a blip in the safety trend and not a lasting improvement in safety. From January to September 2010, there were 80 fewer motorcycle wrongful deaths than in the same period from the previous year. However, fatalities have started to climb again during the last three of those nine months reviewed, which has safety advocates worried. A report author – who also acts as a safety consultant – stated “[t]he drop is all in the front half of the year. It looks very much as if we’ve hit bottom and may be starting back up again.”

During the first three months of 2010, motorcycle fatalities were down 25 percent and still down 1 percent in the next three months after that. Then, the motorcycle fatalities went up 3 percent in the third quarter of the year. Since the late 1990s, annual motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled, peaking only three years ago at 4,312 motorcycle deaths. The motorcycle deaths plunged sixteen percent in 2009, correlating with the flailing economy. The cause of the drop in motorcycle deaths is a matter of debate. A spokesperson for the safety group indicated that recreational motorcycle riding appears to have declined while the recession was at its worst and that may explain why the number of deaths went down. This spokesperson is concerned that now that the economy is showing some signs of recovery, experts are concerned that a rebound in recreational motorcycle riding will lead to more wrongful deaths. Leadership of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, however, disagrees. They say that the economy appears to have increased, not decreased, motorcycle use.

Read more about the rate of motorcycle deaths at the Southtown Star.

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The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti are sad to report on recent deaths related to motorcycle accidents and motor vehicle accidents. In situations where victims are killed due to the negligence of another party, a Chicago wrongful death lawsuit may be filed.

First, a 48 year old River Grove man has passed away following a motorcycle crash last week. The man was involved in a motorcycle accident in Franklin Park and was taken in serious condition to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. He was pronounced dead on Saturday evening. Franklin Park police were called to the motorcycle traffic accident on Thursday evening. Witnesses stated that the motorcycle that the man was driving and a 1990 gray or silver Cadillac four-door were traveling east when the motorcycle accident victim lost control and crashed. Police stated that both the motorcycle and the car in the Chicago motor vehicle accident were moving at a high rate of speed.

In another suburban motor vehicle accident, a 28 year old Chicago man died after a crash in Mattoon involving several other vehicles. The motor vehicle accident victim was headed north just south of Mattoon when a driver in the southbound lanes swerved to avoid an animal in the road and lost control of the car. The other car crossed the median and slammed into the victim’s sedan. Then, the driver collided with a semitrailer ejecting the victim from the car. He was then hit by another northbound semitrailer. The passengers of the victim’s car were not seriously hurt. All individuals were wearing seatbelts.

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Over the past few days, several individuals received personal injuries and some unfortunately passed away after several individual Illinois motor vehicle accidents in the south suburban areas of Chicago. A teenager from a south suburb of Chicago died after he lost control of a sports utility vehicle that he was driving near the Illinois city of Country Club Hills. In addition to the Orland Park seventeen year old who passed away in the SUV accident, three other youths received personal injuries. The teenager was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle; there was no indication that alcohol or any other drugs were involved in the deadly motor vehicle accident.

Further, on Sunday night, a speeding vehicle struck and killed a teen bicyclist in Dolton, Illinois. The Dolton driver that caused the Illinois wrongful death has continued to elude police and was eluding police when he was speeding and struck the teenager.

Another individual received serious personal injuries after a south side motor vehicle accident on Monday. The injuries occurred after the motorcycle accident victim crashed his motorcycle on outbound interstate 57 at 127th Street in Illinois. Around the same time in another South Side suburban neighborhood, Country Club Hills, a Mexican restaurant was hit by a car and received extensive property damage.

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An Illinois man, only twenty-five years of age, was pronounced dead early yesterday morning after the motorcycle he was driving crashed this morning in Park Forest, a suburb of Chicago. Officials say that the victim of the Illinois motorcycle crash was pronounced dead at 8:10 a.m.

Another young Illinois man, only twenty-eight, was pronounced dead yesterday morning at 4:00 a.m. after an Illinois car crash on the westbound Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago. The 28 year-old man was a passenger in a car and the driver got in a race with another car on the Expressway. The Illinois car crash victim was sitting in the front passenger’s seat when he was partially ejected and killed when the car left the road, overturned on the right embankment, and hit a tree. The Illinois driver of the vehicle was also ejected and taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital of Cook County. A backseat passenger was also taken to Stroger with non-life-threatening injuries. No individual in the vehicle was wearing a seat belt.

Remember, in Illinois, the law states that each driver and front seat passenger of a motor vehicle must wear a safety belt. Each year in Illinois, lives are needlessly lost in Chicago car crashes simply because individuals were not buckled in. As for motorcycles, more individuals in Chicago hit the road on their motorcycles when the weather is nice in the summer. Please practice safety – wear protective gear, especially a helmet, and try to pick a bright color for the helmet. Please remember to obey the rules of the road.

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An Illinois motorcycle accident resulted in two people killed Sunday night in Elk Grove Village, a northwest suburb of Chicago. Chicago Tribune reported that based on the Elk Grove Village press release, Illinois police officers responded Sunday evening around 7:40 p.m. to a call of a crash of a black Harley Davidson traveling westbound on Higgins Road. The 31-year old motorcycle driver was pronounced dead at the scene; he was identified as a Schaumburg resident. According to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, the motorcycle accident victim died of multiple injuries. The driver’s girlfriend, a 32 year-old Schaumburg resident, also died of multiple personal injuries sustained in the Illinois motorcycle accident Sunday night. She was pronounced dead at local Alexian Brothers Medical Center. Police indicated that the cause of the deadly Illinois motorcycle accident is still under investigation.

The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti are devastated to acknowledge that this is the second deadly Illinois motorcycle accident we have read about this month. Just last week, we told our readers about the deadly motorcycle accident near Oak Forest, Illinois on I-57. As we mentioned last week, more than 38,000 motorcyclists have died in single vehicle motorcycle crashes between 1975 and 1999. From 1990 to 1999, there were a total of 11,038 fatal single vehicle motorcycle crashes. In 2008, Chicago alone had 156 fatal Chicago car crashes. Click this link (the Illinois Department of Transportation’s website) to find out how many Illinois fatal car crashes were in your city and county in 2008.

More information about the deadly Illinois motorcycle accident is available here.

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An Illinois motorcyclist died early Friday morning after he crashed on Interstate Highway 57 in the south suburbs near cities of Oak Forest and Country Club Hills, according to the Chicago Breaking News Center. Around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, Illinois State Police responded to a motorcycle crash in the right hand southbound lane of I-57 north of I-80. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the victim as a 51 year-old Chebanse man, who was pronounced dead at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields. The Illinois man was riding south when he attempted to pass a vehicle in a construction zone. The front motorcycle wheel left the pavement and a 3-inch drop in the pavement caused the Illinois man to lose control of the motorcycle and crash. The Illinois motorcycle accident victim was not wear a helmet at the time and struck his head on the pavement. Oak Forest paramedics transported him in critical condition to St. James. No other vehicles were involved.

It is always heart-wrenching to read about fatal motorcycle accidents, which seem to happen far too often. Single vehicle motorcycle crashes account for almost half of all motorcyclist fatalities. More than 38,000 motorcyclists have died in single vehicle motorcycle crashes between 1975 and 1999. According to one report, from 1990 through 1999, there were a total of 11,038 fatal single vehicle motorcycle crashes. During that same time period, there were an estimated 294,000 non-fatal single vehicle motorcycle crashes. Of those, an estimated 39,000 involved property damage only and 225,000 involved personal injuries.

More information about the motorcycle accident is available at Chicago Breaking News Center.