Our Illinois car accident lawyers recently read a report about a severe motorcycle accident that occurred last week in Breese, Illinois. Stltoday.com states that at 9:20am, two motorcyclists were traveling west on U.S. Route 50 near Linden Grove when they decided to change lanes-going west in the eastbound lane-to pass a vehicle in front of them. As the motorcyclists changed lanes, an SUV was coming toward them in the eastbound lane. Police say the motorcyclists didn’t have enough time to get around the car they were passing before the SUV came towards them. The driver of the SUV swerved onto the shoulder of the road to avoid hitting the motorcyclists. One of the motorcycle drivers, a 40-year-old woman of East Saint Louis, Illinois, decreased her speed after seeing the vehicle swerve off of the road, while the other driver, a 50-year-old man of O’Fallon, Illinois, did not. He followed too closely behind the woman’s motorcycle and as a result, collided with it. Both driver’s were then thrown from their motorcycles and are currently in serious condition.
The report states that the driver of the SUV was wearing a seatbelt and was uninjured. Neither motorcyclist, however, was wearing a helmet, in addition to neither being properly licensed to operate a motorcycle. The Illinois State Police have cited both drivers for not having proper driver’s license classification, for improper overtaking of a vehicle, and for failing to have insurance.
Our Chicago auto accident attorneys understand that more people in Illinois have begun to rely on motorcycles as a means of transportation, especially during the summertime when gas prices are high and the weather is nice. As a result, fatal accidents involving motorcycles are greatly increasing. A primary reason for the severity of these accidents has to do with helmet laws, or lack thereof, in the state of Illinois. Officially enacted in 1970, Illinois does not have any helmet laws in place for motorcycle drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, 83% of the people who died from motorcycle crashes in Illinois were not wearing a helmet. This is among the highest percent nationally. In the United States, Illinois ranks 47th for lives saved and economic costs saved due to helmet use. Shockingly, compared to the 36 lives saved in states with a Universal Helmet Law in place in 2010, only 4 were saved in Illinois. Additionally, states with a Universal Helmet Law saved about $73 million dollars, while Illinois only saved $9 million.
From the perspective of a Chicago auto crash lawyer and many others throughout the state of Illinois, enacting a Universal Helmet Law should be considered. As most motorcyclists involved in serious accident die of head injuries, wearing a helmet at all times is vital. Many believe that helmets will reduce visibility or impair hearing while riding, however, these statements are both false. The risk of head injury would be reduced by 69%, and the risk of death would decrease by 37%. Thus, there is substantial evidence that increasing helmet use would not only save an enormous amount of money, but would save many lives and help to significantly avoid personal injury.
Because of the increase of motorcycle drivers on the road, our Illinois auto accident attorneys want to urge the public to be more cautious when traveling on roadways this summer. In addition to wearing a helmet, motorcyclists should be sure to drive defensively and take notice of all other vehicles on the road. Proper attire should be worn to make the motorcyclist more visible to others, as it is easy for trucks and cars to make turns or merges without noticing the motorcyclist nearby. They should also keep their motorcycle’s headlights on, and stay out of other driver’s blind spots.
Those involved in motorcycle accidents caused by another driver’s reckless or negligence behavior may have legal recourse available to them. If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries, medical expenses, or property damages as a result of a motorcycle accident, contact our Chicago car accident attorneys at Levin & Perconti. We are prepared to offer you the resources you need to seek legal action and determine what rights may be available to you.