Over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune reported a Lake County motorcycle accident involving two passengers. A motorcyclist was driving, with his daughter as a passenger, when they hit a car while turning left. The motorcyclist was killed in the accident, and his young daughter was seriously injured.
Motorcycle safety information is not only important for motorcyclists, but also important for all drivers to be aware of how to operate safely when sharing the road with motorcyclists. Although in this accident it sounds like the motorcycle driver was at fault, in many instances motorcycle accidents can happen because drivers may not be able to see motorcycles, especially if their undivided attention is not on the road.
Also, this example highlights the importance of helmet use for motorcyclists. Although motorcyclists are not required under Illinois law to wear them, our Illinois injury attorneys strongly support helmet use. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2008 in Illinois, there were a total of 121 motorcycle riders killed. Of those 121 riders, only 25% were wearing helmets, and 74% were not. Though helmets cannot protect motorcyclists from all accident related injuries, perhaps if some of these victims had worn helmets, they could have had suffered less serious injuries. The article continues to say, “Helmets are estimate to be 37-percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders”. Motorcyclists are not protected by a hard exterior, like a car, so they must rely on their helmets and other gear (i.e. goggles, boots, gloves, denim, leather, etc.) for protection.
Another factor in this accident was that the motorcycle was making a left turn. Left turns are always tricky, especially at an intersection with a traffic signal. If a traffic light turns yellow while a driver is waiting in an intersection to turn left, there can certainly be a potential collision if drivers do not yield. The Illinois Rules of the Road claim that over half of all motorcycle accidents happen at intersections. They continue to say that the most common situation in which a motorcycle accident occurs is when an “oncoming automobile makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle.” Drivers should always watch for motorcyclists and other vehicles before turning left. Motorcyclists must follow the rules of the road just like all other drivers, and the Illinois Rules of the Road say that when turning left, always signal and follow traffic signs. The rules also say that motorcyclists should always yield the right-of-way to vehicles currently in an intersection, including checking oncoming traffic, even if it may be your turn to make the turn, in order to avoid an accident.
Our Illinois car accident attorneys encourage all drivers to stay focused on the road, to avoid potential collisions such as this one. If you have been a victim of a car or motorcycle accident, or have lost a loved one due to any type of driver negligence on the road, please contact us to see how we may be able to help you. Serious injury can lead to costly medical procedures, medications, doctor visits, and hospital costs, and coping with a loss can take a severe emotional toll. Our Illinois accident attorneys may be able to help you receive fair compensation for your injury or loss.