Conditions That Contribute To Motorcycle Accidents

motorcycle accidents

Motorcyclists deal with many hazards when on the roads in the Schaumburg region and throughout Chicagoland. Because motorcycles have a much smaller profile than cars, you have a much higher chance of being in an accident because of the conditions and factors outlined below. If you were in an accident recently with injuries, our motorcycle accident lawyers in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law can help.

Bad Weather

Bad weather in Illinois can be a problem for all drivers, but even worse for motorcyclists. You should use extra caution when operating your bike in bad weather and slow down accordingly. Other drivers could lose control in wet weather, so always drive defensively on your motorcycle and pay attention to other drivers’ actions.

Failure To See The Motorcycle

The most significant reason motorcycle accidents happen is other drivers simply fail to see the motorcycle. The best advice to motorcyclists is to assume other drivers cannot see them and behave accordingly. Unfortunately, about 70% of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections because other drivers do not see the biker. This is also a frequent occurrence on the highway when people change lanes or just stop in traffic. You can make yourself more visible on the road by wearing bright-colored clothing, using your headlight and turn signals, and never sitting in another driver’s blind spot.

Uneven Roads

Car drivers may barely notice when a road is uneven, covered in gravel, or even railroad tracks. But motorcyclists need to be on alert for these road hazards because it is easy to lose control. If you are hurt because of a road hazard, your Schaumburg motorcycle accident lawyer can see if the state or local government that maintains the road can be liable.

Cars Making Left Turns

One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is drivers making left turns. It is much harder to see an oncoming motorcycle than a car, so some drivers turn into the motorcyclist’s path. Cars that make left turns can easily hit a motorcyclist on a straight road or in an intersection. These accidents often happen because of driver distraction, poor visibility, and speeding.

You can help to avoid these accidents by using caution when seeing an oncoming vehicle slowing down to make a turn. Be prepared to stop suddenly if the other driver does not see you. Also, ensure that your headlight is always illuminated.

Head-On Accidents

Almost 60% of motorcycle accidents happen because of head-on crashes. These tragedies can occur when either driver is going too fast and cannot slow down or avoid the crash. Many of these incidents happen because the other driver does not see the motorcyclist, so wear bright colors and always use your headlight.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is one of the most common conditions that leads to motorcycle accidents. If another driver was reckless in one of the following ways and caused an accident, you could receive compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Even if you were partially at fault, Illinois’ comparative negligence law means you can still collect compensation if you were less than 51% at fault:

  • Speeding: All motorcycle crashes’ severity is greater when someone is speeding.
  • Alcohol or drug use: If another driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, accidents are more likely, and if you were on your motorcycle at the time, you could have severe injuries.
  • Not wearing a helmet: You are not required to wear a helmet on your motorcycle in Illinois, but you should. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that helmets are 37% effective in avoiding motorcycle rider fatalities in accidents.

Taking Curves Too Fast

This is a common issue that new motorcyclists have: taking curves too fast. Slowing the motorcycle enough so you can safely navigate turns is critical. If you take the turn too quickly, you can lose control, leave the road, or even drift into oncoming traffic.

Lane Sharing

Some motorcyclists like to share lanes, but it is hazardous without staggering the riders. There is a high risk of a crash involving more than one biker if one has to swerve to avoid a road obstacle. Also, riding side by side increases the chances of hitting each other. Providing more staggered space when lane sharing reduces the chances of serious accidents.

Faulty Equipment

Every motorcyclist is responsible for ensuring their bike is in good mechanical condition. However, some motorcyclists let their brakes or tires wear too much, leading to a higher chance of accidents. That said, sometimes motorcycle accidents happen because of a part failure, which could be the basis of a product liability lawsuit or claim against a mechanical shop.

What To Do If You Are Hurt In A Motorcycle Accident

You can always be cautious on your motorcycle, but sometimes motorcycle accidents are unavoidable. After such an incident, the first thing to do is to check yourself and others for injuries. Motorcycle accident injuries can be severe but could be unnoticeable at first, so it is always wise to call 911 and get medical attention.

If another driver was liable for the accident, there are several things you should do to ensure you get the most compensation:

  • Take photos and videos of the vehicles, damages, positions, and injuries.
  • Get a copy of the police report when you can get it.
  • Obtain witness statements immediately, as well as their contact information.
  • Obtain insurance information for all involved drivers.
  • Finally, have a doctor look you over immediately and note your accident injuries and get the medical treatment you deserve.

What Do Motorcycle Accident Cases Settle For?

Every motorcycle accident in Illinois is different; one settlement can be more than another. However, there are common factors your motorcycle accident attorney will review to determine the potential settlement value. They will look at your financial, physical, and emotional damages from the crash to understand what it could settle for. Major factors that influence the settlement value are:

  • Your motorcycle insurance policy.
  • The at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
  • The extent of the damage to your motorcycle.
  • How much your medical bills and future medical costs are. If you have serious injuries that require months of recovery, the settlement will be higher.
  • What your level of pain and suffering is. Serious injuries involve considerable pain and suffering, and that is worth more.

The best way to estimate a case’s value is to have a motorcycle accident attorney review it at no charge. If you use an online accident settlement calculator, it could seriously underestimate what the case is worth. Each case has too many variables for an online calculator to offer a fair estimate.

How Long Will It Take To Settle My Motorcycle Accident Claim?

The timeline to settle an accident claim varies widely. Your attorney will need to collect a lot of evidence to prove the other party was liable, and that takes time. Also, if you have serious injuries, it may take months for you to reach maximum medical recovery. Therefore, recovering as much as possible before starting settlement negotiations is always best.

If you settle with the insurance company too soon, you risk getting too little money for your injuries and future medical expenses. Most motorcycle accident cases end in settlement, but your attorney will take the case to court if necessary to get the best result.

Who Can You Sue After A Motorcycle Accident?

After the accident, your attorney will determine who was at fault. All drivers on the road owe a duty of care to other drivers, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. This means they must drive as a reasonable person would to ensure others on the road are safe. If a driver breaches their duty of care and hits you, they are liable for your damages. Potentially liable parties in motorcycle accidents include:

  • You: If you rode your bike in a way that caused or contributed to the accident, you can be held partially or entirely liable. However, it is possible to receive compensation in some accidents even if you were partly responsible.
  • The other driver: If another driver drove negligently, they can be held responsible.
  • The bike manufacturer: If there was a fault in the bike or part that contributed to the accident, the manufacturer could be liable.
  • Government agency: Sometimes accidents are caused by government employees or because of poor road conditions, lack of signs, and improper road design. Suing a government entity has unique requirements and necessitates the help of a personal injury attorney.

What About Suing The Other Driver?

In most motorcycle accident cases, the matter is closed once the liable driver’s insurance company offers a settlement amount you agree with. After you sign the settlement agreement, there is no turning back, so make sure you are happy with the amount you receive in the agreement. If you want more money, you should file a lawsuit. They will inform you if there is a chance to take the case to litigation and get more money.

Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers In Schaumburg

Were you hit by a car on your motorcycle? You could have serious injuries and be out of work for months, so talk to an attorney to find out if you have a case. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Schaumburg at SJ Injury Law can review your case, so call (847) 434-3555.

What Happens To Injured Passengers In Motorcycle Accidents?

motorcycle accident

Welcome to another edition of SJ Injury Law Facebook Live. Thank you for joining today. The purpose of our Facebook Live sessions is to educate the Facebook community, these videos are kept on file both on Facebook and other social media sites so that people can view them and get any information they could need to help them when they’re seriously injured in a car accident, truck accident, or today, we are talking about motorcycle accidents. You can reach us at or 847-434-3555.

Last week, we talked about motorcycle accidents. General injuries and mechanics regarding motorcycle accidents. Today we’re going to be talking about when a passenger is seriously injured when riding a motorcycle. In the next session we do, we’re going to be talking about what happens when there are a group of motorcyclists riding and one or more of those motorcyclists are involved in an accident. Remember, loud pipes save lives.

Often motorcyclists have passengers. When the accident happens, and the passenger is seriously injured, what claims can the passenger make?

The passenger on a motorcycle has similar rights to a passenger in a car. They can pursue a claim for personal injuries, generally serious injuries when involved in a motorcycle accident. They can recover their medical bills, and their pain and suffering, which is the biggest component generally.

Disfigurement, which frequently happens in a motorcycle accident, a scar, or G-d forbid a lost limb, are examples of permanent disfigurement. They can make those types of claims. The claims can be made, generally, against whoever’s responsible. We had a case where a young lady was riding on the back of a motorcycle, the motorcyclist lost control of the motorcycle, and the woman skidded along the pavement. As gross as it sounds, she lost her left buttock. The word is avulsed. Those types of accidents happen.

Who can those personal injury claims be asserted against?

Sometimes it goes directly against the motorcyclist who’s operating the motorcycle, sometimes it’s against the car or truck that struck or pulled out in front of the motorcyclist. Oftentimes, you have a combination, where you have maybe the motorcycle driver is partially responsible, and the driver of the car or truck is also partially responsible.

There will sometimes be some tension because it could be the passenger’s boyfriend or girlfriend who’s driving the motorcycle, or it could be some other type of relationship. So sometimes there is a concern about pursuing that person. My advice is always to look to the future. In the future, you’re going look back and say, should I have made that claim? You’re going to want to get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries

Can a claim be made against the passenger’s uninsured motorist carrier?

That’s a great question. The general thinking would be;

“Hey, I’m not in my car. Therefore, I shouldn’t be able to maintain a claim against my own car insurance, uninsured motorist portion of the policy.”

I would encourage you to let go of that negative thinking and let us do our work to show you how we can wrap that uninsured motorist carrier into coverage for the accident, and it would apply when the person responsible doesn’t have insurance. That driver is uninsured, and if you look at the language of most policies, it would provide coverage to the passenger.

You’ve discussed underinsured motorist cases. Can you please explain that again and whether it would apply?

Sure. Let’s talk about the underinsured motorist. An underinsured motorist means that there is a claim for liability. There’s an initial insurance policy limit to attack, which is called third-party coverage, and that policy limit is not sufficient to compensate my client for their injury, pain and suffering, medical bills, disfigurement, wage loss, and things like that.

What happens is that the person who’s injured is now considered underinsured, as the name implies. As we talked about a moment ago with an uninsured motorist, you would be able to attack your underinsured motorist coverage limits for the amount that you’re underinsured in your particular type of injury. Again, we’re talking motorcycles, many of these injuries are very serious.

Contact Our Schaumburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Thank you for listening. Remember, for any serious injuries suffered with an auto accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, worker’s compensation, or slip & fall, contact us at You can reach Jessica, you reach me, and you can reach us at 847-434-3555. Until our next session, have a successful week, and be safe out there. Thank you.

Schaumburg Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Motorcycle Accidents & Injuries

motorcycle accidents

Motorcycle Accidents & Injuries

Welcome to another edition of Claim Your Justice Facebook Live. Today we’re going to be talking about motorcycle accidents, and the injuries that result from those motorcycle accidents. You can reach us online at, over the phone at 847-434-3555, or on Facebook.

The weather is starting to shift from cold and rainy to warm and sunny. What happens when it gets a little warmer, a little sunny? Lots of motorcycles come out. This topic is perfect for our discussion today because there are going to be more motorcycles out on the road.

Drivers on the roads aren’t going to be used to seeing the motorcycles because they’ve all been hibernating for the winter. The spring months, namely the end of April and early parts of May are when the highest frequency of motorcycle accidents occur, and people are seriously injured.

I love motorcycles, I have friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors who are avid motorcycle drivers. So this is a topic that is very near and dear to me. I’ve had several cases where people have been injured on motorcycles, some not so serious, some very serious, so I take this matter very personally. I want to make sure the community out there knows what to do in the event of a motorcycle-related injury.

Can you explain what loud pipes save lives means?

It’s not a childhood rhyme or riddle. It’s something that a client told me many years ago. I believe in loud pipes save lives.  The motorcycle exhaust system is designed to have something, I think, called baffles on it. That loud noise you hear when a motorcycle passes by is coming from the exhaust system and it’s intended to let other drivers know that a motorcycle is out there. I know some people may think that loud pipes are annoying, but I think the motorcycle community out there should practice “loud pipes save lives” because they do.

How many motorcycle accident fatalities are there per year?

Sadly, it’s a growing number each year. The last year that data was compiled was 2021 and it was more than 6,000. Think about that. Someone goes out in the morning, they breathe in the fresh air. They can’t wait to get on the motorcycle. They go out and their family gets a tragic call that their relative, friend, or family member died in a motorcycle accident. More than 6,000 of those calls were made just in 2021, and the number keeps growing. Especially with gas prices going up and motorcycles becoming more practical.

What steps do we need to take when an injured motorcyclist hires us to be their lawyer?

Once a client contacts us about themselves or a family member who has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, we first want to make sure the client is going to get all the medical treatment that they deserve. Sometimes there is so much medical treatment involved, the person needs to be retrained on how to walk, or someone may be paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. We need to make sure they are taken care of at the hospital, and that they go through rehab.

My primary goal with any client who’s injured seriously in a case like this is to make sure they get the medical treatment that they deserve. If the person is on public assistance there may be some challenges to the extent of the medical services that they’re entitled to. My job is to step in and say, wait for a second, this person is seriously injured and we’ve got to get them help.

Goal number two is I want to secure the motorcycle. So what does that mean? The motorcycle accident happens, the client is taken to the hospital, and the motorcycle is left sitting on the ground for a tow truck to load on a flatbed. The tow truck will take it to the body shop or the tow yard, and leave it there.

I want that motorcycle, I want it for two reasons. Reason number one is you may want to get it tested. Perhaps the cycle malfunctioned because it was out of use over the fall and winter months, they take it out for the first time and perhaps the mechanic didn’t tighten up what they need to tighten up. I want to be able to investigate that because I want to see if I have another target defendant. The second reason is, well we’ve all heard the expression that a picture says 1000 words, and it’s true. However, if I have the motorcycle, and I can see the mangled damage or even some blood spatter from the incident on the motorcycle, I can show that motorcycle to a jury in a potential jury trial.

A picture may be worth 1000 words but the motorcycle could be worth millions of dollars in extra value because the jury could see the devastation that the client may have suffered.

What are the fact patterns you most often see in motorcycle crashes?

I see a lot of intersection cases. A motorcycle accident case we’re representing a client on now was using a left turn pocket, turning onto a street. He’s going southbound and wants to go eastbound, and a driver coming out of westbound traffic on the street is turning eastbound and doesn’t even pay attention. Runs right into our client. Maybe the motorcycle was harder to see, I don’t know. Fortunately, our client was wearing a GoPro.

Another accident I see is a driver in a car or truck switching lanes and there is a motorcycle in that lane they’re switching into and the driver doesn’t pay attention. Maybe they are distracted, maybe the motorcycle was in the blind spot, etc. So that’s another type of frequent situation.

We also have cases where a driver is going too fast and the motorcyclist either slows down or their speed isn’t what the driver of the vehicle thinks, and they run into them from the rear putting the motorcycle down bad. Those are the three most common fact patterns we see. During the next session, I want to talk about the rights of a passenger who’s on a motorcycle when the motorcycle is involved in an accident. We’ve had a couple of cases like that and there are extra additional rights that the passenger will have. Stay tuned for that.

Contact Our Schaumburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Remember, SJ Injury Law is here to protect you, your family, and your friends. Anytime you’re seriously injured in a car, truck, motorcycle accident, workers’ compensation, slip and fall, construction, or any type of incident where you think you’re seriously injured. Contact us at 847-434-3555 or online at We look forward to the next SJ Injury Law live session. Thank you for your time.

Tips To Avoid Motorcycle Accidents In Illinois

motorcycle accidents

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.

Motorcyclist Tips

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.

Never Tailgate

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.

How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago?

accidents in Chicago

Motorcycles aren’t just for transportation. For many, they are a way of life, a culture, or a symbol of independence and freedom. This is especially true in Illinois, a state that has the sixth most registered motorcycle registrations in the country. In addition, the cost of gas is a fraction of driving a car.

But unlike many recreational or fun vehicles, motorcycles have to share the road, and the rules of the road, with cars and trucks. Because of that, motorcycle accidents in Chicago can be very common. When these incidents do happen, the injuries suffered can be even more devastating than car accidents.

Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago: Common, and Often Fatal

The news about Chicago motorcycle accidents is often tragic and speaks to the very high degree of injury that people in motorcycle injuries suffer. Stories abound of riders killed in suburban areas, on Chicago’s highways, as well as injuries and deaths to passengers in motorcycles.

The best way to understand how common motorcycle accidents are in Chicago is by looking at statistics from all of Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, in 2018, although motorcycle accidents made up fewer than 1 percent (2,973 accidents) of all accidents on the roads, they made up 12% of all fatal crashes. That is a large disparity, which speaks to how devastating motorcycle accidents can be.

National statistics bear the same result. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2019 calculated that motorcycle riders were 29 times more likely to die, on a per-mile traveled basis than drivers or passengers in car accidents. A 2016 study also showed that motorcyclists were 28 times more likely than those in cars to be killed in accidents.

Despite more public awareness of motorcycle safety, nationally, motorcycle injury and death rates have generally remained consistent. In 2019, about 975 motorcyclists per 100,000 registered cycles were injured, and 58 per 100,000 were killed.

Where Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen and Who Gets in Accidents?

Although being on side streets would seem to be safer, in fact, they are not. According to State of Illinois statistics, more motorcyclists were killed on city streets and roadways, than were killed on larger highways. Age doesn’t seem to make a difference; about the same number of Illinois motorcyclists were killed who were over the age of 45, as were killed under the age of 45.

Larger motorcycles, which likely are used on busier highways, contributed to a much higher percentage of fatalities. Of all fatal accidents, motorcycles with over 150 cc motors were involved in 149 deaths. Those with under 150 ccs, contributed to only 7 deaths in 2018.

Just like with cars, alcohol plays a factor in motorcycle accidents as well. About 38% of victims in fatal Illinois motorcycle accidents tested had a blood-alcohol level of .01 or higher. The statistics for non-fatal injuries are just as serious. In 2018, nearly 800 people were injured in motorcycle injuries in Illinois

Motorcyclists may have a reputation for being daredevils who drive recklessly, but the statistics don’t bear this out at all. In fact, the majority of motorcycle crashes, 1,638, occurred when motorcyclists were simply driving straight.

Motorcycle accidents are caused by things that can include factors the driver can control, as well as those the driver cannot. For example, “loss of control” is cited by the state as a major factor contributing to motorcycle accidents. Loss of control could include a reckless or inexperienced driver, but could also involve poor weather conditions, or another negligent driver causing the motorcyclist to lose control,

Why Are Motorcycle Accidents So Dangerous?

The severity of motorcycle accidents, and the disproportionate number of deaths that occur in these accidents, are likely explained by obvious factors.

Motorcycles do not have the heavy sheath of metal protection that a traditional vehicle has. Weight disparity between a motorcycle and a car contributes to the severity of injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. A minor accident, such as a “fender bender” between two cars, can be a major impact collision when it is between a car and a motorcycle.

A motorcycle driver is more likely to be thrown from a vehicle in an accident. This makes injuries such as lacerations, abrasions, amputations, burns, traumatic brain injury, or paralysis, much more common than they are for those occupants inside of cars or trucks.

Motorcycles tend to be less visible to other vehicles, and less stable than traditional cars. Reduced visibility means that maneuvers such as avoiding debris on the road, or trying to swerve from an oncoming negligent driver, can lead to a deadly accident. Compared to the same situation whereas there may be no injuries at all in the same situation if the accident was between two cars.

Protective Gear, Helmets, and Motorcycle Safety Laws

Sadly, many drivers do not wear protective equipment, such as helmets, when on a motorcycle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Authority predicted that almost 2,000 people were saved in motorcycle accidents because they wore their helmets in 2017. Between 37 and 41 people per 100 riders could be saved in otherwise fatal motorcycle accidents, had they been wearing a helmet.

Despite these figures, there is currently no law in Chicago or Illinois that requires that a motorcycle driver wears a helmet (only Illinois, New Hampshire, and Iowa have no mandatory helmet laws). Illinois used to have a helmet law, but it was declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Should you (smartly) opt to wear a helmet, remember that because Illinois has no helmet law, there are also no laws setting standards for motorcycle helmets. Make sure that whatever helmet you wear, is accredited by a safety board or organization.

The law requires that operators wear glasses or goggles on their eyes or be protected by a windshield. Goggles must protect both the front and the sides of the drivers’ eyes.

The same law applies to passengers or riders other than the driver. Passengers must have separate passenger seats that have footrests, and passengers must straddle the bike unless seated in a sidecar.

Additional laws are in line with common-sense safety measures, such as making it illegal to ride on one wheel, and mandating that the driver’s hands be on the motorcycle. Hand grips must be at, or below, the head of the driver. These are just Illinois requirements. Federal laws place other requirements, usually on standards for the making of cycles, or safety features on them.

If you are a new motorcycle rider, consider getting training courses, many of which are offered by the State of Illinois. Motorcycle training courses in Illinois teach riders how to operate both two and three-wheel cycles. The state even offers courses geared towards experienced, trained riders.

Finally, remember that “loud pipes, save lives.”

Suing For Motorcycle Accident Injuries in Chicago

An accident involving a motorcycle works just the way a car versus car or car versus truck accident would. Our motorcycle accident lawyers can sue a car driver if the driver’s negligence caused an accident. However, the main difference between a car versus car case, and one that involves a motorcycle, comes in the number of available defenses that someone can use when trying to avoid responsibility for a motorcycle accident.

There is no legal bar to suing a negligent driver, just because you, as a motorcycle operator, did not wear a helmet. But just because the law doesn’t require that a motorcycle occupant wear a helmet, doesn’t mean that a jury cannot or will not find you contributorily negligent for not wearing one. Often, when a motorcyclist sues after a motorcycle accident, the other side will try to use the failure to wear a helmet as a defense, arguing that the failure was a contributing cause of the motorcyclist’s injuries.

Motorcyclists also have to be aware of the inherent stigma against them, fair or not: That there is a reputation or feeling in the general public that Motorcyclists are reckless. This is a prejudice that many jurors hearing motorcycle injury cases bring with them into the courtroom. Our motorcycle injury lawyer can help you overcome that stereotype, and point out that you, like many other riders, operate your motorcycle safely when you are on the Chicago roadways.

Apportionment of Liability in Motorcycle Accident Cases

Remember that whenever a negligent car driver tries to claim that you, as a motorcyclist, caused your own injuries by not wearing a helmet, or by being inexperienced, or by being reckless, a jury can apportion liability between you and the negligent driver. If a jury thinks that you, as the victim, were 51 percent or more responsible for your injuries, Illinois’ comparative negligence statute prevents you from recovering any damages at all.

That’s why it is so important to call our aggressive and experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers.

Motorcycle accidents injuries can be serious, and catastrophic. To learn more about your rights if you are in an accident, call our Schaumburg, IL motorcycle accident attorneys at Claim Your Justice to schedule a free consultation at 847-434-3555.