May 13, 2013

Sharing Illinois Roads with Motorcyclists is an Essential Part of Traffic Safety

by Levin & Perconti

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation have been working tirelessly for decades to promote driver safety in the United States, and because of their efforts, car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents have all seen historic declines in fatalities and injuries. However, in the midst of this wave of successful safety campaigns, motorcycle deaths have increased 13 of the past 14 years, and remain one of the biggest safety concerns for future projects. With May being Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, it is about time that we publish an article on the topic.

Whether they are on a Harley or a sport bike, motorcyclists are often stereotyped as reckless. In reality, the stereotyping of motorcyclists as reckless individuals is seldom true, and most of the risk associated with motorbikes doesn’t come from the operators or riders, but from other people on the road. Our lawyers want to remind drivers to keep an eye out for motorcyclists. A motorcycle is much smaller than most of the vehicles that it shares the road with, and it is easy to see how bikers can get lost in blind spots, or missed entirely when the sun sets. In a recent press release, the U.S. Transportation Secretary emphasized the importance of mutual caution, stating: “Motorists and motorcyclists have a common responsibility to safely share the road together…increasing safe riding and cooperation among all road users is essential to reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our nation’s highways.” (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Department of Transportation)

Aside from a helmet (when worn), a motorcyclist has little to no protection against the trauma of a vehicle collision. As lawyers who regularly work with victims of Chicago motorcycle accidents, we know that the results of a vehicle sideswiping a biker can be catastrophic. Head, neck, and spinal cord injuries are all very common in motorcycle accidents. In some cases these injuries can take many months to recover from, but in some cases victims will never fully recover.

Over two-thirds of the three million traffic injuries in the United States are permanent, and motorcyclists are no exception. The prospect of continual medical bills and the inability to work can be pretty intimidating, and every time our attorneys are able to recover a settlement or verdict for our clients, we hope to ease their burden. If you or someone you know has been killed or injured by the reckless or negligent actions of another driver, you do not have to accept being relegated to a hospital bed; we can help you take action to hold wrongdoers responsible while spreading public awareness surrounding the increase in motorcycle accident injuries and deaths.