Yesterday authorities closed three of four lanes on Interstate 80 in an effort to recreate the crash that claimed a seventeen year-old motorcyclist’s life early this week. According to the Chicago Tribune, the motorcyclist was thrown off his bike after he hit the rear end of a semi truck while merging onto the freeway.
The article is fairly succinct, using only 200 words to recall this unhappy event, but it got our attorneys thinking about the larger nature of the American motorcyclist.
Motorcycling is a culture all its own, and contrary to the all too common stereotype of the brawling-deadbeat biker propagated by movies and television, most bikers are hard working, successful members of society. In fact, the average income for a home that owns a motorcycle is almost $10,000 more than those that don’t. (Motorcycle Industry Council)
The excitement and freedom of a motorcycle has a unique and powerful allure, and the number of people who are choosing to purchase them is growing. A recent study conducted by the Motorcycle Industry Council showed that since 2003, the number of households owning motorcycles has risen by more than 25%. That, coupled with statistics that show an increase in the number of female riders, as well as in ownership for all age groups, leads us to believe that the pastime may finally be shedding its negative stereotypes.
Our accident lawyers know that motorcyclists are most often safe responsible people, and many go their entire life without getting into an accident. However, as the tragic events of this week illustrate, the lack of size and visibility of a motorcycle on the road presents a very real danger in biking, no matter how careful the rider.
According to the U. S. Department of Transportations National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are more than 35 times more likely to experience a deadly accident on the road than their motorist counterparts. Additionally some 80,000 motorcyclists will be injured this year, more than half of them in accidents involving another vehicle.
Motorcyclists have no air bags, no seat belts, and no roll cages. There have been fantastic innovations in motorcycle technology and safety in the last twenty years, but it can only do so much. Additionally, in many states, riders are not required to wear helmets, thereby increasing their risk for serious brain injuries. Despite all efforts to improve rider safety, motorcycle accidents still occur and can be severe and life altering. Accidents on a motorcycle have serious repercussions, from broken bones on one end of the spectrum to paralysis, brain damage, or even losing a limb on the other.
In this particular incident, it does not appear that the semi-truck driver’s actions played any part in the unfortunate accident. However, oftentimes accidents involving multiple vehicles are the result of one person’s careless behaviors. Our lawyers know that injuries sustained in serious accidents can result in medical bills, lost wages, and worries of whether your insurance company will pay for future treatments. If you have been injured, or if you are a family member of a motorcyclist who has been killed or injured as a result of another person’s reckless or negligent action, you may qualify for compensation for your losses.
If you think you might have a case, call our experienced team of lawyers to discuss your options. We will work with the insurance company and all parties involved to ensure that your case is handled quickly and appropriately.