It’s summer; the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the motorcycles are humming all across the roadways of Illinois. This, of course, means that it is also accident season. The Chicago Tribune recently reported the death of the co-founder of the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run, which was caused by a severe motorcycle crash in Grundy County, Illinois. Yesterday in DeKalb, Illinois, two people were seriously injured in a motorcycle crash. USA Today reports that boxing champion Paul Williams has been paralyzed due to a recent motorcycling accident.
These are just a few of the many examples that characterize the potential dangers inherent in driving. Such dangers are exacerbated as motorcycle ridership increases in the summer time. Additionally, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently cautioned military members to use extreme caution when riding, claiming that, “Highway fatalities, particularly from motorcycle accidents, make up the majority of summertime deaths.”
In other blog posts, our Chicago car accident lawyers have analyzed the statistics and have reaffirmed this trend. Motorcycle fatalities and accidents have both been on the rise, and the importance of motorcycle safety is becoming more important than ever. Why is this the case? Motorcycles are generally much smaller than most cars, and often many drivers to not see them on the road until it is too late. Often times a negligent driver is on the cell phone, or is in a condition unsuitable for the road, and merges without adequately checking his or her surroundings.
Furthermore, motorcycles riders are also much less protected than someone who is driving a car or truck. Motorcyclists should take extra precautions, i.e. wear a helmet and thick clothing, such as a leather jacket. However, many do not and are often left unprotected.
Our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers recognize that these shocking facts carry with them very real consequences. Aside from physical injuries, there are many large financial burdens that may result from a motorcycle accident. Medical expenses, property damage, loss of income and opportunities, as well as psychological pain are all possible consequences.
Fortunately, there are many ways to increase your safety should you decide to hit the road on your motorcycle. Wear a helmet, but not just any helmet. Wear a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation safety standards. According the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, helmets prevent motorcycle accident fatalities 35% of the time. When considering that over 4,000 people die each year from motorcycle accidents, helmets could save thousands of lives.
It is also important to stay visible. Wear bright clothing, keep your headlights on, and stay out of other driver’s blind spots. You can also practice a classic movie staple and rev your engines. That way you can show off your bike while making your surroundings safer by raising awareness of your presence.
Summer can be a great time to go for a ride, but it can also be a dangerous time as well. Remember to have fun but stay safe this summer. Should anything happen, you can contact our office to speak to an experienced Chicago car accident attorney to find out what legal rights may be available to you.