While fatal accidents involving all motor vehicles have been slowly declining both in Illinois and nationwide over the past decade, the number of deadly crashes involving motorcycles has been going in the opposite direction. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fatal crashes involving cars and light trucks reached an all-time low in the United States in 2008.
At the same time, deaths as a result of motorcycle accidents rose to an all-time high, more than doubling between 1999 and 2008. With more people riding motorcycles than ever before, the CDC calls motorcycle accidents “an important public health concern.” Their annual total economic cost, including medical care and lost productivity, is estimated to be $12 billion.
According to the Illinois Division of Traffic Safety, motorcycles are the most vulnerable types of motorized vehicles on the road because they are smaller and lighter than everything around them, they do not have seat belts, and riders can be thrown off them. They are also harder for drivers of large trucks to see because motorcycles can get lost in their “blind spots”. Cycles also accelerate and brake faster than larger vehicles, leaving vehicles behind them less time to stop. Motorcyclists must be especially proactive about driving and maintaining their bikes in the safest manner possible.
Following are national and local crash trends.National Motorcycle Accident Statistics
- Motorcycle crashes killed 4,502 people nationwide in 2010.
- Between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed.
- As the population ages and more people ride motorcycles, the age of cyclists involved in serious crashes is rising. In the 2001-2008 period, most deaths and injuries occurred among people in their 20s. In 2010, more than half of the people killed in motorcycle crashes were
- Total motor vehicle crashes in Illinois were 956 in 2012, which was up over 2011, but overall fatal crashes in the state have been declining steadily since the 1970s.
- Meanwhile, motorcyclist fatalities continue to rise each year, up more than 19% in 2012 from
- There were a total of 148 fatal crashes involving motorcycles of all types (including motor scooters and mopeds), killing motorcycle operators and their passengers.
- 115, or 78%, of the 148 cyclists killed were not wearing a helmet.
- Motorcycle crashes resulting in injury totaled 3,312, and most occurred in urban areas.
- The average age of all motorcycle rider fatalities was 43. 92% were male.
- Most crashes occurred in clear, dry weather conditions.
- Motorcycles comprise just 3%-4% of all motor vehicle registrations, but accounted for over 15% of motor vehicle fatalities.
- Illinois remains one of only three states in the U.S. that does not mandate use of helmets for any age
- In general, more motor vehicle fatalities of all types occur in the densely populated greater Chicagoland area than in any other region in Illinois.
- In Cook County, there were 233 total fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2013, down from 252 in 2012. In Chicago, that figure was 121 for 2013, down from 134 in 2012.
- 35 motorcycle riders were killed in Cook County in 2013, including passengers, up from 30
- Motorcycle riders can reduce their chances of having accidents by not riding between lanes or in the same lane as another vehicle.
- Maintain cycle in safe working order and do safety inspection before each ride.
- Wear helmets and other protective gear.
- Never ride after drinking alcohol.
- Check out IDOT’s Cycle Rider Safety Training Program
For additional information on motorcycle safety:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Motorcycle Safety Data: http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsMotorcycleSafety/