Most of the time, when a motorcycle is involved in an accident, it is not the biker’s fault. Drivers of cars, trucks, and buses often fail to notice or fail to perceive a biker on the road until it is too late and a crash has occurred. Regardless of who caused the collision, the forces involved mean that a biker is almost always more likely to be hurt or killed than a driver in a vehicle if a crash between the two results.
In fact, in 2011 alone, there were 3,756 crashes involving motorcycles in Illinois. Of those, 2,745 resulted in injuries and 142 proved fatal. Motorcycles account for a small portion of all accidents and disproportionately high number of fatalities, so it is important to recognize the common causes of motorcycle accidents and to take all practical steps to avoid them. In our experience as personal injury attorneys, we have found the following to be the most common ways a motorcycle crash occurs:
- Left Turns: One of the most common accidents between a motorcycle and another vehicle occurs when a car attempts to turn left in front of an oncoming bike. If the driver of the car does not have enough time to complete a turn before a bicycle reaches the area, a collision will result. In these accidents, a motorcyclist usually impacts the passenger side of the car or truck and injuries are likely to result.
- Rear-End Collisions: Motorcycles need less time and less distance to stop than heavier vehicles. As a result, drivers should allow extra space between themselves and a motorcycle in front of them. This increased cushion is necessary in case traffic comes to a stop or a biker must brake for another reason. Despite this, many drivers follow bikers more closely than they would another vehicle. This can lead to a dangerous situation where drivers cannot stop in time to prevent a rear-end collision with a motorcycle. While rear-end crashes between cars can sometimes be minor, they rarely are when a motorcycle is involved.
- Changing Lanes: Onany road, a motorcyclist is at risk when another vehicle decides to change lanes. Bikes are harder to see than cars because of their small size so it is easier for bikes to hide in a driver’s blind spot. Drivers may also fail to look for a motorcycle before changing lanes and may cause an accident as a result. Collisions that begin with a vehicle changing lanes cause a motorcycle to be side swiped which usually results in the rider being thrown to the ground. This is another source of serious injury among the biking community and these accidents can be fatal.
- Distracted Driving: Distraction can be caused by an object inside or outside of a vehicle. Everyday things like a cup of coffee, a conversation with a passenger, or even the radio can cause distraction. More problematic are cell phones and other devices with communication abilities. Distracted drivers are more likely to cause an accident and studies show that drivers who text are nearly as deadly as drunk drivers. These distracted drivers cause crashes with motorcycles and the bikers are the ones who are likely to be hurt.
- Dooring: Dooring is the term used when a passenger in a vehicle opens a vehicular door into traffic. Most often, this happens after a car parks on a street and the driver and passengers try to exit. When motorists fail to look for oncoming traffic before opening a door, they risk opening the door into the path of another car or motorcycle. When a car strikes an open door, the occupants of the car are not at significant risk for serious injuries. This is not true of bikers who too often get killed in these accidents. It is the responsibility of a driver to make sure that no door is opened into the path of an oncoming motorcycle and failure to do so puts the driver at fault for a crash.
- Driving Under the Influence: Whether it is another motorcyclist or the driver of a car, if an operator is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, fatal crashes are a very real possibility. Motorcyclists account for a large number of those who are arrested and charged with driving under the influence every year. These drivers present not only a risk to themselves but also a risk to everyone else on the road.
- Sudden Stops: Vehicles making sudden stops may end up in rear-end accidents. While rear-end collisions are some of the most common traffic crashes in the nation, they usually involve passenger cars and larger vehicles. These accidents may produce damage only to the vehicles involved or they may cause injuries to the drivers and passengers involved. But when a motorcycle is involved in a sudden stop accident, like a rear-end crash, the results are almost always serious and can cause a rider to lose his or her life. Sudden stops cause complicated legal cases that may entitle victims to seek relief depending on the facts surrounding the crash and the people involved.
With over 10 motorcycle accidents occurring every day in Illinois, the threat of injuries are too great to be ignored. Unfortunately there is no guaranteed way to prevent an accident but recognizing the frequent causes of crashes can help a rider avoid them. Vehicular drivers also need to realize their part in preventing crashes and to watch for motorcycles as they drive. It is always better to be cautious and to avoid an accident then to suffer the penalties for causing a biker to lose his or her life.
If you have been injured or hurt in a motorcycle accident in Illinois, contact the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. and let us provide you with a free case consultation. We never charge a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf and we are standing by 24 hours a day to take your call toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575. We can also be reached online for your convenience. Call us today and let us help you.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or if your loved one was hurt or killed, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free case consultation.