Motorcycle accidents are less common than car accidents but they are usually much more serious. These collisions cause a variety of damage to the vehicles and people involved, depending on the point of impact, the speed of the vehicles, and the nature of the crash.
A head-on collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle is one of the most dangerous types of motorcycle accidents. These collisions can cause broken bones, skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries, back and neck injuries, and in some instances, death.
Injuries caused by a head-on motorcycle accident usually result in a large amount of medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering for the unprotected rider.
Have You Been Injured in a Head-On Motorcycle Accident?
If you or a loved one were injured in a head-on motorcycle accident, we can help. Having an experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer can help take some of the weight off your shoulders during an already stressful period. We will work to recover the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on your recovery.
Understanding Head-On Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago
There are many causes of motorcycle accidents but for head-on motorcycle accident collisions they usually start by a motorcyclist who is simply riding straight ahead on a road, street, or expressway. In all of the motorcycle-related collisions in 2012, more than half of them occurred while the biker was riding forward. This is opposed to a rider being stopped or a rider who is turning.
Head-on impacts occur when the front ends of two vehicles collide. In many cases, these accidents stem from a lane departure or a road departure incident. Here, one vehicle veers from an intended trajectory and causes a crash.
In other cases, head-on collisions occur at an intersection where vehicles traveling in opposite directions may occupy the same portion of the road, though they should be there at different times. The most common cause of motorcycle head-on collisions in intersections is drivers disobeying traffic signals. Drivers running red lights or trying to beat a yellow light create dangerous environments for other drivers.
Head-on crashes sometimes involve two motorcycles, a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle, or a motorcycle and a semi-truck. Regardless of the second vehicle involved, the biker is almost always the person that is seriously injured.
In the event of a head-on collision, riders will most likely be thrown from their motorcycle and land violently in the road. In extremely unfortunate incidents, riders can be hit by other vehicles or thrown into a roadside object. This can make a bad situation worse.
In accidents involving passenger cars, the enclosure a car provides, along with seat belts, prevent this from happening. But motorcycles do not have these protections.
In 2012, there were 897 head-on accidents causing injuries. Of these accidents, 96 resulted in fatalities. The dangerous nature of a head-on collision, combined with a motorcycle’s limited safety devices and protection, means that these are some of the worst accidents that occur in Illinois.
Learn more: Motorcycle Accident FAQ
Head-On Motorcycle Crashes Can Cause Serious Injury and Death
Motorcycle accident injuries range from cuts and lacerations to broken bones to even death. Others in these crashes may have injuries as well and may require medical assistance. Our Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys are well aware of the terrible injuries from these collisions.
Head-on collisions are disproportionately responsible for fatalities in Chicago and across the rest of the state. While head-on crashes are relatively uncommon compared to rear-end accidents, they are much more deadly.
This definitely holds true when a motorcyclist is in a head-on crash. Bikers are more likely to survive a rear-end crash or a clipping incident than they are a head-on collision. This is due in part to the forces involved.
Head-on motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries like:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lower-extremity injuries
- Facial injuries
- Skull fractures
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Road rash
Head-on Motorcycle Accidents Often Occur in Rural Areas
Head-on bike collisions do not occur solely in Chicago. In fact, a common setting for a head-on crash is a two-lane road or highway with a fast speed limit.
In more rural areas, which are often lightly populated, motorists may be lulled into a sense of safety by light or nonexistent traffic. This can lead to a driver’s mind wandering and his or her focus diverting away from the road. Once this happens, a driver may veer into an oncoming lane of traffic and collide head on with another vehicle.
Head-on collisions in rural areas may also be attributed to dimly lit roads, lack of safety barriers, drunk driving, and less enforcement of traffic laws.
A Motorcycle Can Be Difficult To See
Furthermore, motorcycles can be more difficult to see than other cars due to their small size. Therefore, a driver who is not paying attention may not notice a bike until it is too late.
If that driver is not careful to remain in the designated lane of traffic, the vehicle may cross the center dividing line. This sets up a head-on collision that may occur at a high rate of speed. With greater speed comes greater force and, at times, larger injuries.
Motorcyclists are also hard to see at intersections. As we have mentioned, this is another danger spot for riders. When car drivers don’t look twice before merging into a roadway, or fail to obey traffic lights, motorcyclists are put at serious risk of harm.
That being said, large injuries can result from any type of motorcycle accident. To learn more about more specific types of motorcycle accidents refer to:
- Chicago broadside motorcycle collisions
- Chicago right-of-way motorcycle accidents
- Left turn motorcycle accidents in Chicago
- Drunk driving motorcycle accidents in Chicago
If you were injured in a head-on motorcycle accident, speak to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today.
Motorcyclists Can Reduce Their Risk of Being in a Crash
Drivers may have difficulty seeing a rider due to the reduced size of a motorcycle. A motorist may do an initial check of their surroundings, not spot the rider, and maneuver into the rider’s path without even knowing it. It is crucial that riders practice defensive driving practices and remain alert at all times to avoid accidents.
Wearing bright and reflective clothing can help increase the chances of being spotted and reduce the chances of being involved in a dangerous accident. Motorcycle riders should follow the rules of the road at all times and avoid unsafe and illegal driving maneuvers (such as lane splitting) that can cause accidents.
Learn more: What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident
Wearing a Helmet Can Make a Big Difference
When a motorcycle rider is involved in a head-on collision, wearing a helmet can make a massive difference in the outcome.
In most cases, a motorcyclist will be thrown from their bike when they are struck at the front. This usually means that they are going to suffer some injury. If a rider wears a proper helmet, they can reduce the risk of injury to the brain.
Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent and reduce the risk of death by 42 percent.
Head injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability in America. If you are involved in a head-on collision, a helmet can help save you from this fate.
What Are Common Causes of Head-On Motorcycle Collisions?
When a vehicle decides to pass another vehicle on a two-lane road, they have to be careful to not put other drivers in danger. If the passing driver heads out into the oncoming lane without enough leeway, they are putting everyone at risk. If they decide to pass in a no-passing zone, in a blind area like a hill, or without enough time, they can cause a serious head-on collision.
Increased speeds increase the margin of error on the road. At high speeds, reaction times and stopping times are lowered, making it more difficult for drivers to avoid head-on collisions.
Crossing the Centerline
Drivers who are not paying attention or who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol may fail to maintain their lane. Crossing the centerline into the opposite lane of traffic is highly dangerous and can result in serious injuries or death for the offending driver and other drivers and passengers on the road.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of all motor vehicle accidents. When a person doesn’t pay full attention to the road, they can swerve out of their lane, not see someone coming, or have a slower reaction time. The state of Illinois prohibits the use of hand-held cell phone devices while operating a motor vehicle. Those who violate this law can be found at-fault for their negligence if they cause injury to another on the road.
A tired driver can easily nod off at the wheel. Even a few seconds of driving with eyes closed can cause a serious head-on crash with a motorcyclist or other passenger vehicle. Truckers who drive long hours without a break can also cause deadly head-on collisions with motorcycle riders. Anyone who recognizes that they are nodding off should pull over and get some sleep. Even a 15 minute nap can make a difference in getting home safely or causing a head-on collision.
Wrong Way Driver
Much like drivers who cross the centerline, drivers who drive the wrong way down roads are a major hazard to those around them. In urban areas, it’s fairly common for a driver to become confused with one-way roads and not realize they are heading in the wrong direction. This can also occur on highway entry ramps. In some cases, cars have even driven into the oncoming lane while intoxicated.
Contact a Chicago Head-On Motorcycle Collision Lawyer
Victims of motorcycle accidents do not have to suffer silently as they try to piece together their lives again. Instead, the laws of Illinois and Chicago enable these victims to seek relief for their damage from any and all responsible parties. Whether it’s an at-fault driver, or even the employer of a driver who is on-the-job at the time of a crash, legal help is available.
The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. believe in fighting for the rights of those with injuries from accidents. This includes motorcycle collisions. We offer a free case consultation to all victims who contact us at (312) 924-7575. Further, we offer it without any obligation.
If you prefer to meet with us in person but your injuries are too serious to travel to our offices, we also offer free in-home and in-hospital consultations. This, so that you can get the answers you deserve whenever you need them.
If you have injuries from an accident, do not continue to suffer as your medical bills add up and your pain and suffering continues. Call Abels & Annes, P.C. and let us fight for your rights.
If you have been hurt in a head-on motorcycle accident in Chicago, call us toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free consultation.