Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Illinois-motorcycle-safetyThere are approximately 340,000 motorcycles registered in the great state of Illinois and many will be hitting the roads for the first time since last fall in the next few months. Not many riders are out during the winter months.

In fact, in 2010 there was not one fatal crash December through February and only 7 total in November and March. As owners pull out their bikes and get ready for that first ride of the season, it is a good time to look at the dangers out on the road and prepare for a safe riding summer.

Illinois Motorcycle Crash Statistics

The good news on motorcycle riding in Illinois is that even though motorcycle riders seem to be growing in number, the amount of injuries and fatalities are not. The amount of registered motorcycles increased 73% from 1999 to 2010 in Illinois, adding almost 150,000 more motorcycles onto to the road in a little more than a decade.

However, there are still plenty of crashes that involve motorcycles and unfortunately, fatalities as well. The Department of Transportation statistics on traffic crashes between 2007-2011 can shed some light on when these crashes happen and to whom.

  • Lowest accident rate in five years. 2011 had the fewest Illinois motorcycle accidents in many years. There were 3,756, down 14.5% over the past 4-year average of 4,395
  • 145 Fatalities. In 2011, there were 145 fatalities, up 5.1% over the previous 4-year average of 138
  • More crashes going straight. As unlikely as it seems, by far the largest amount of motorcycle accidents happen when the motorcycle is going straight. Over 2,000 of the accidents in the last five years were going straight at the time of the crash
  • Older riders in more crashes. In both injury and fatalities, the largest age group is 35 and older. 61% of all injury accidents and 66% of fatalities in 2011 were in this age group

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Older Motorcyclists Involved In More AccidentsRiding a motorcycle on the road gives a feeling of joyous freedom and a free-flow of adrenalin that is heady to experience. It is not surprising that a lot of middle-aged motorcycle riders go out on the road to feel the wind against their faces as they gun their engines down the road. But the excitement of riding motorcycles down the road is accompanied by several dangers that arise out of unfamiliarity with modern motorcycle parts and due to a disconnect with riding under modern road rules. The fact that older riders are mentally and physically tuned to older rules and machines is often a contributing factor in motorcycle accidents.

Training can help avert motorcycle accidents

Many middle-aged motorcycle enthusiasts take to riding a motorcycle years, or even decades after their last experience several years back. The result is that most of them have typically forgotten how to control the bike in a dangerous situation and their reflexes in an emergency situation is a little rusty. Some states have now implemented what they call mandatory training sessions that are required for motorcycle riders for retaining validity of their riding licenses. The training helps older riders get back in touch with riding knowledge as well helps them practice their reflexes with a qualified instructor before heading out on their own.

Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Drivers On Cell PhonesIllinois law bars drivers from using a cellphone while driving in a school zone, construction zone, or within fifty feet of an emergency zone.  625 ILCS 5/12-610.1(e).  Drivers are also banned from composing, sending, or reading electronic communications while driving.  625 ILCS 5/12-610.2.  And, drivers under age 19 years who have an instruction permit or a graduated license may not use a cellphone while driving.  625 ILCS 5/12-610.1(b).

Repeated Violations of Illinois Law

In 2011, 4103 traffic stops were made in Illinois for violations of the state’s cellphone laws.  There were 2818 stops for using cellphones in school and construction zones, which resulted in 1880 citations.  There were 1300 stops for texting while driving, which resulted in 839 citations.  This is a much lower number than the 7800 drivers who were stopped for violating the same laws in 2010.

Car AccidentAs attorneys who represent people injured in car accidents in the Chicagoland area, our office spends quite bit of time reviewing police reports related to the incident. Formally known as an Illinois Traffic Crash Report, it is a document prepared by local law enforcement agencies following every motor vehicle accident involving an injury or property damage within their jurisdiction.

Generally, for incidents occurring on City streets, the reports are prepared by the police officers within the municipality where the incident occurred. For incidents taking place on an Interstate, the reports are prepared by the Illinois State Police.

Lots Of Concise Details About Each Accident

Motorcycle RidersMost people out on the road have seen large groups of motorcycles riding together. They also may have noticed that they generally stay together as a group and actually have a formation that they follow. These formations are not by accident and are organized to keep all the riders safe from both accidents related to collisions between riders as well as improve visibility for other vehicles on the road.

Anatomy Of A Group Formation

For group rides, motorcycle “packs” will have a ride leader and a drag or sweep rider that brings up the rear. The idea is for these two riders to encompass the group and make sure they communicate if there are any problems ahead or with any of the group members.

Illinois HighwaysYou would be hard pressed to find a long haul truck driver that does not pass through Illinois in his trips across the U.S. Illinois has 23 interstate highways, 13 of which cross the borders and continue on to other states. With so many routes crossing the state and with Chicago being one of the largest cities in the Midwest, it is no wonder there are so many large trucks on Illinois highways.

Common Routes For Semi-Trucks

The Chicago area has five interstate highways that connect to the area and the amount of vehicle miles traveled on them are considerable. With I-90, I-80, I-88, I-55 and I-57 all interconnected with the local freeways; passenger cars and large commercial vehicles are all heading into or through the Chicago area. The daily vehicle miles traveled through Chicago on interstates in 2011 were 47, 490, 835! The freeways in and surrounding Chicago had less than 2 million, to give you an idea of the difference in how many vehicles are coming into and through the city on interstates.

Subdural Hematomas and TreatmentsSubdural hematoma (inter-cranial bleed) occur when blood vessels burst between the brain and the membrane covering the brain.  (See Nursing Homes Abuse Blog: “Even Common Falls Put Elderly At Risk For Developing Subdural Hematomas”)  This blood can put pressure on the brain, which can cause serious injury.  It is important that subdural hematomas are diagnosed early because if allowed to continue bleeding, the increased amount of blood will put additional pressure on the brain, causing further injury.

Doctors and hospitals, especially nursing homes, must be mindful of the symptoms of subdural hematoma because early diagnosis and treatment is so important in outcome.  Elderly persons in nursing homes are more susceptible to falls and are at increased risk of subdural hematoma because they are commonly taking anticoagulant medication (blood thinners such as aspirin).

In the elderly, even a mild head injury could cause a subdural hematoma.  This is because their veins have already stretched usually from brain atrophy as a result of aging, which makes the veins more susceptible to injury.  To further complicate diagnosis, sometimes symptoms do not appear until days or weeks after the head injury, as more blood collects, eventually causing the typical signs and symptoms of a subdural hmatoma.

Personal Injury CaseIf you’ve been injured in an accident or due to another person’s negligence and the responsible party’s insurance contacts you for details about the incident, your first thought may be that the insurance company is trying to be helpful. The duty of a claims adjuster is to limit the amount of money for which the insurance company is liable— not to offer you a fair settlement.

Many claims adjusters will ask that these phone interviews be recorded for quality control, but they are really making an attempt to gather evidence that can be used to excuse their company from liability. Always speak to a reputable injury attorney before communicating with any insurance company about your injury case in order to protect yourself from being caught in this trap.

Refuse to Give a Recorded Statement

Consumer SatisfactionWhen an insurance company makes the claim that it ranks high in customer satisfaction, ask the question of what criteria have been considered in that ranking. While one insurance company may have more satisfactory rates and initial service, another may rank much higher in claims satisfaction. Also consider that just because an insurance company has and retains a lot of customers does not necessarily mean that it is retaining happy customers. You would be surprised to learn how many unsatisfied customers continue to pay a premium to an insurer that they are not completely satisfied with.

Poor Service Doesn’t Seem to Chase Customers Away

In a consumer satisfaction study conducted among auto insurance policyholders, it was found that 65% of those who were very unsatisfied with the price that they pay for their policies still planned to renew them. The numbers were almost identical when considering customers who were dissatisfied with their insurance company’s claims service. Once again, a large majority—67% said that they would renew their policies even though they were extremely dissatisfied with the claims treatment they received.

Chicago, IL, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has resolved an uninsured motorist case for $250,000 on behalf of a 41-year-old carpenter who sustained cuts to his face and injuries to his back and neck.  The incident occurred when a hit-and-run driver veered into his lane of traffic and collided with him head-on.

Un-Insured / Under-Insured Motorist CasesAfter receiving emergency care at the scene from paramedics, the man was transported to an emergency room where a plastic surgeon removed the bits of glass from his face and closed the wounds with approximately 20 stitches.  Due to ongoing lower back pain, our client’s family physician referred him to an orthopedist who confirmed that the pain was due to a bulging disc in the lower back.

After several months of physical therapy, our client made a good recovery and was able to resume most of his activities.