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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident due to another’s negligence, contact Willens Injury Law Offices because insurance companies often want to reach a quick settlement at an amount that suits their bottom line.

Not many people are brave enough to take their bikes out during Chicago’s cold winter months, but as soon as the weather begins to warm up, riders like to get out on their motorcycles. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle riders are 35 times more likely to become victims of fatal accidents compared to drivers of passenger vehicles. In view of this statistic, our Chicago motorcycle accident attorney’s would like to help drivers of both motorcycles and other vehicles understand the most common factors that lead to motorcycle accidents.  This may help prevent future motorcycle accidents, injuries and deaths.

  • Speeding – According to available statistics, about 40% of motorcycle accidents are caused by speeding. While most people ride motorcycles for the fun and thrill of speed, it has been shown that exceeding the posted limits can increase the risk of a fatal accident by over 100%.
  • Stopping distance and maneuverability – In many cases, drivers of other vehicles overestimate or misjudge the ability of motorcycle to get out of their way. While motorcycles are definitely more maneuverable than cars, and have a shorter stopping distance, they have a large disadvantage in icy, windy and rainy conditions. So, it is important for other drivers to give motorcycles ample space for maneuverability and easy braking.
  • Turn signals – Many motorcycles do not have turn signals that automatically turn off. A lot of newer riders, and even some experienced ones, forget to turn them off and this confuses the other drivers around them. When driving a car, one must be attentive and make efforts to understand whether the turn signal is purposeful or not. Also, if the bike does not have turn signals, it is important to know the correct hand signals and use them.
  • Brake lights that are not easily visible – For motorcycles, this is particularly dangerous as riders often reduce their speed just by down-shifting or letting off the throttle. This does not turn on the brake light. So, it is important for other drivers to be ready to slow down when driving behind a motorcycle, even without a visual warning.
  • DUI – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is among the most common factors that cause motorcycle accidents. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 30% of all motorcycle accident deaths involve riders with BAC that is above legally permissible limits. While riding a bike, balancing is crucial and use of alcohol or drugs can seriously impede the rider’s abilities and increase the risk of a fatal crash.

These are just some of the factors that can increase the likelihood of a motorcycle accident. There are various other factors that can increase the risk, so it is important to be cautious at all times, ride safely and follow all traffic regulations.

3 Ways to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago

By getting your license renewed regularly, you update your familiarity with the laws regarding motorcycle driving (as opposed to car driving) and give yourself more knowledge about how to drive safely.

If you’re already licensed, consider taking an annual course on motorcycle training. Most states offer these programs for experienced riders who want to stay alert and safe on the road. The course usually costs a few hundred dollars, which you can often make up in your motorcycle insurance – many insurance providers offer discounts for motorcycle riders who take a regular training course.

Stay Visible

As a regular motorcycle rider, you are probably highly aware of the vehicles around you. Their presence and danger is immediately apparent to you, because there is nothing between you and the other vehicles. Car and truck drivers are often not as aware. Many get lazy in their driving style and only casually glance to the next lane while changing. They’re looking for something the size of a car, not a motorcycle, which puts you in danger.

To attract the attention of a car driver, wear full reflective gear and consider getting your protective gear and/or motorcycle in a bright color that is easy to notice. Stay out of a driver’s blind spot and notice which drivers do not signal before turning or making other moves on the road – these are drivers least likely to be aware of you. Check to be sure all of your lights are working and always drive with your lights on, even in the daytime.

Riding in Low Visibility Conditions

If you can possibly avoid it, do not drive in rainy conditions. Visibility in rain is difficult even for large vehicles and a motorcycle all but disappears in heavy rain. For similar reasons, you may also wish to avoid riding at night, particularly if you live in a city, where the single light of your motorcycle’s headlamp may not show up as clearly. If you do ride in low visibility conditions, be hyper-aware of your surroundings and drive extremely cautious – you will likely be the only one on the road who knows you’re there.

Wear Protective Gear

Sadly, many motorcycle drivers do not suit up to ride, even though it’s extremely dangerous. Many of the deaths in motorcycle accidents would have been avoidable if the driver had been wearing proper protective gear – make sure you keep injury to a minimum in any accidents by suiting up properly.

Buy a new helmet that fits properly and has Department of Transportation compliance. If your helmet has ever been dropped or has sustained any kind of blow, it’s no longer safe to use – get a new one. Wear eye protection, a sturdy protective jacket (a vented one will ensure you’re comfortable in the hot summer months), thick protective pants, riding gloves, and over-the-ankle boots with good treads.

In Case of Accident

First, get out of the danger zone as fast as you can. It’s very difficult to see a person prone on the ground, so get out of traffic if at all possible. If you can’t get up, wave your arms and make yourself as visible as possible. Flag down a car to block you from oncoming traffic and ask the driver to contact emergency services.

If the car that hit you stops, get the name and insurance information of the driver, or ask someone who has stopped to help to do it for you. If the driver disappears, continue to flag down other vehicles and ask any eyewitnesses to stick around and give statements. Collect names and phone numbers; these are the people who can help you track down a hit and run driver, and you’ll want to be able to get in touch with them. If you’re injured, leave the statement-taking to the police and get to the emergency room.

Contact a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorney

When it comes to motorcycles, we know that no matter how careful you are, you cannot control the choices of truck and car operators. After a motorcycle accident, insurance companies may want to work out a quick settlement that makes sense for their bottom line. They will not take your specific needs into consideration.

We suggest you call us for a free consultation with a lawyer at 312-957-4166 or fill out our online contact form.

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