Many Illinois residents prefer to get around with a motorcycle in the spring and summer. After the snow melts and the weather warms, it is enjoyable to drive a motorcycle in the sun and enjoy the outdoors. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 5,000 motorcyclists died in 2016 in traffic accidents.
Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Dislocated or broken bones
- Road rash or severe lacerations
- Crush injuries or amputations
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Sprains or strains
You can reduce your odds of getting in a motorcycle accident or being seriously injured. Details are provided below. If you were in a motorcycle accident and have injuries, please contact the experienced Hoffman Estates motorcycle accident attorneys at Claim Your Justice.
Illinois Motorcycle Laws
Riding safely in Illinois requires you to be aware of motorcycle laws:
- Motorcyclists must possess a valid driver’s license to ride legally. Riding without a license is a severe violation. You need to be at least 18 and complete a written and road test to obtain your motorcycle license.
- Register your motorcycle. The bike must be registered with the state.
- You must follow all Illinois traffic laws when riding your motorcycle. Remember that having a license does not mean you can drive however you like. One of the most important laws is never driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
- Your motorcycle’s headlamp must always be on to increase visibility. Further, you must always have at least one hand on the handlebar.
- Lane splitting is illegal in Illinois, and you cannot ride on one wheel.
- Riding without a helmet is legal but highly discouraged. However, you must wear goggles or other eye protection when riding.
If you are riding a motorcycle, these tips will help keep you safe:
Wear Your Helmet
Most states require at least some riders to wear a helmet. However, Illinois does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet. As a result, many Illinois riders go without a helmet. That can be a fatal mistake.
Studies show that wearing a motorcycle helmet significantly decreases your chances of serious injury or death in an accident. The NHTSA also states that 37% of fatal motorcycle accidents could have been avoided if the driver wore a helmet. Additionally, for motorcycle passengers, CDC statistics show that 41% fewer would die if they had a helmet.
In Illinois, hundreds of motorcyclists could have lived if they had worn helmets during an accident. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports 635 fatal motorcycle accidents from 2007-2011. However, a study revealed that only 30% of riders wore helmets. So, approximately 210 motorcyclists could have lived in Illinois if they had worn helmets.
Wear Proper Motorcycle Gear
Sometimes motorcycle accidents are unavoidable. For example, one of the most common motorcycle crashes is when a car driver does not see you and pulls out. As a result, you may need to lay down your bike on the road. This can cause severe injuries, but it helps if you wear the right gear.
Motorcyclists should always wear helmets, long pants, sleeves, and boots. Ideally, your clothing should be made of leather or rugged denim. The helmet should adhere to the safety standards issued by the Department of Transportation. You also should wear leather gloves and eye protection.
Make no mistake: Wearing protective gear when riding can protect you from severe injuries, including brain damage, spine injuries, and broken bones. Also, wearing leather clothing can prevent road rash, which can also cause horrific injuries all over your body.
Have A License and Training
You must be fully licensed. It is also helpful to take a motorcycle riding course that teaches safe riding practices.
The NHTSA states that 30% of fatal motorcycle crashes involve an unlicensed rider. Therefore, if you have not ridden in years, taking a motorcycle refresher class is highly recommended to reinforce what you learned earlier.
Perform a Pre-Ride Check
It is always wise to check your bike before hitting the road. Walk around the motorcycle and inspect the critical parts. For example, the horn, lights, and turn signals should all work perfectly. Many studies show that having these parts working will prevent many accidents.
Next, check the belts, brakes, chains, and driveshaft. Always check the tread and tire pressure, too. Finally, the motorcycle should be equipped with anti-lock brakes. If you do not have them, get them installed right away. Anti-lock brakes prevent your wheels from locking during an emergency stop. They allow you to maintain control and avoid a collision or loss of control.
Maintain Your Motorcycle
Performing regular maintenance on your bike will keep you safe while riding Illinois or southern Wisconsin roads. The last thing you want to discover in an emergency is that your brakes do not work!
Never Assume Drivers Can See You
Many motorcycle crashes happen because the other driver does not see you. Motorcycles are much smaller than cars, and many drivers look for large vehicles, not motorcycles or bikes. Motorcycles also can be swallowed up in a vehicle’s blind spot easily.
Avoid many motorcycle accidents by never assuming other drivers see you. Stay out of blind spots and always wear reflective, brightly colored clothes.
Never Drink and Ride
Drinking and driving is deadly. On a motorcycle without a vehicle protecting you, it’s even more dangerous. The NHTSA reports that 28% of motorcyclists who died in 2017 were drunk. Never drink or take drugs before riding your motorcycle.
Do Not Split Lanes
Never share a lane with a car. This is dangerous for both you and the car driver. Also, it is illegal to split lanes in Illinois.
If you ever get in a motorcycle accident and decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, remember the statute of limitations is only two years. Waiting longer than two years means forfeiting your right to sue for damages.
Automobile Driver Tips
Auto drivers are often at fault for many motorcycle accidents. When you drive a car, you are responsible for looking out for motorcyclists and keeping them safe. Following these tips will help you avoid accidents with motorcyclists:
Increase Following Distances
When driving behind a motorcycle, increase your following distance. You should slow down behind the motorcycle to at least double your following space. A motorcyclist could suddenly brake or lose control, and the extra distance can help avoid a severe accident.
Tailgating can cause a rear-end crash. This is dangerous with a car, but a rear-end collision can kill a motorcyclist. This is even more true if the rider does not wear a helmet.
Know Your Position on the Road
A car, truck, or SUV is much heavier and more powerful than a motorcycle. Driving aggressively in a large vehicle is dangerous for everyone else on the road, especially motorcyclists and bikers. Be aware of your vehicle’s size and power, remembering you have a legal responsibility to motorcycle riders and other drivers to drive safely.
Obey Traffic Rules
Illinois has laws for all vehicle drivers to keep people safe. Following every road rule in Illinois will protect you, other drivers, and motorcyclists.
For example, you should always carefully check your blind spot when changing lanes; motorcyclists can hide there. Also, stop at all intersections and look both ways for motorcyclists and other drivers. Finally, always go the speed limit and maintain safe following distances.
Do Not ‘Zone Out’
After we drive for years, it is easy to become so used to driving that we almost ‘zone out’ behind the wheel. However, not paying attention to the road leads to many fatal accidents. For example, many motorcycle accidents happen because the auto driver does not see them. You are responsible for always looking out for other motorists, whether in a car or on a bike.
Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings when you get behind the wheel. This includes looking out for motorcyclists, bikers, and pedestrians. Also, never be distracted by a cell phone or anything else when driving. You can be prosecuted and sued for texting and driving, so put away your cell phone before driving.
Contact A Schaumburg Motorcycle Accident Attorney Now
You probably will have severe injuries if you were in a motorcycle accident. It can take months or years to recover from a motorcycle accident, and you will need ample funds for the best recovery possible.
Our Schaumburg, IL, motorcycle accident attorneys possess more than 50 years of combined experience obtaining favorable outcomes for personal injury clients. We have collected millions of dollars in recoveries, settlements, and verdicts for our clients in Illinois and Wisconsin. Our attorneys also represent clients in auto accidents, slip & fall incidents, dog bites, and wrongful death.
Our personal injury attorneys serve the greater Chicago area and southern Wisconsin area, including the communities of Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Grove Village, Hanover Park, Arlington Heights, Oak Brook, and Streamwood. Please contact Claim Your Justice today at (847) 434-3555 for a complimentary consultation.