Safety Tips to Reduce the Chances of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Web Admin - Monday, June 04, 2018
Rolling Meadows motorcycle accident lawyerAs summer approaches in Illinois, more and more motorcyclists are enjoying the warm weather and spending time on the road. However, the increased number of motorcycles on the road means that motorcycle accidents are more likely. 

Motorcycle drivers and their passengers are much more likely to be injured in a collision than those who are driving or riding in vehicles. In fact, the National Safety Council has reported that while only 3% of registered vehicles in the United States are motorcycles, motorcyclists make up 13% of all traffic fatalities. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that motorcyclist fatalities occur 27 times more often than fatalities in other motor vehicles.

Since motorcyclists do not have the safety features and protections provided by a car or truck, they should take extra care to protect themselves and take precautions to avoid accidents. Here are some safety tips that all cyclists should follow:

- Wear a helmet - Helmets are not required for adult motorcyclists in Illinois, but wearing one is strongly recommended, since it can greatly reduce the chances of head injuries. In fact, cyclists who wear helmets are three times more likely to survive head injuries experienced in a collision. Helmets should be approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and they should be securely fastened while riding.

- Use proper eye protection - Goggles can protect cyclists’ eyes while riding, but a full face shield offers more protection from insects, dirt, rain, or other elements that can cause pain and distraction. Goggles or face shields should be shatter-resistant and free of scratches while providing a clear field of vision, and they should be fastened securely so they do not come off while riding.

- Wear proper clothing - Cyclists should wear clothes that fully cover their arms and legs. This provides protection from weather and the moving parts of a motorcycle, and it can also provide protection in a crash. Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing can help ensure that a cyclist will be seen by other drivers on the road.

- Drive defensively - Many motorcycle accidents occur because drivers do not see motorcycles around their vehicles. Cyclists should take extra care to ensure that they do not drive in other cars’ blind spots or follow vehicles too closely, and they should always follow the rules of the road.

- Never drink and drive - Alcohol impairment makes it unsafe for a driver to operate any vehicle, but the loss of coordination and reaction time can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Even if a cyclist is not above the legal blood alcohol limit of .08%, it is best to avoid operating a motorcycle after drinking any amount of alcohol or using drugs that can impair one’s driving ability.

Contact a Palatine Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured in a collision than other drivers, and when an accident is caused by a person’s negligence, a cyclist may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can work with you to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact a Schaumburg personal injury lawyer today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

Ken ApicellaAbout the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.


Illinois Motorcycle Accidents: Unique Laws Differ from Car Crashes

Web Admin - Thursday, May 08, 2014

illinois motorcycle accident attorneySome of the most dangerous traffic accidents that occur in Illinois involve motorcycles. These crashes can often cause more severe injuries due to the lack of some safety features that are common in cars. In fact, while motorcycle crashes account for only 1.5 percent of total crashes, they are responsible for 16.7 percent of fatal crashes, according to a report released by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Motorcycle accidents are an unusual case of traffic accident. While the law surrounding them is similar to the law surrounding ordinary car crashes, there are technical differences between cars and motorcycles that can make motorcycle accidents unique.

Motorcycle Accident Law

The law surrounding motorcycle accidents is much like the law surrounding other traffic accidents. The most common person from whom the victim attempts to receive compensation is the other driver involved in the accident. However, some cases may also involve lawsuits against the manufacturer of the motorcycle or against the municipality in which the accident occurred.

In a case against another driver, the most common legal theory will be one known as negligence. To prove that the other driver was negligent, the victim will need to show four things:

  • 1. The other driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care not to harm the other driver (this is almost always true of people sharing the road);
  • 2. The other driver acted in some way that breached that duty (speeding, talking on the phone, etc.);
  • 3. That breach caused the accident; and
  • 4. The accident caused harm to the plaintiff.

If a person is pursuing a case against the manufacturer, then their lawyer will be arguing that the product, in this case the motorcycle, was flawed in some way. This could be from issues like substandard manufacturing or poor overall design. Finally, in rare cases, a victim may be able to sue the city in which the accident occurred, if poor upkeep of infrastructure caused the accident.

Unique Concerns for Motorcycles

While the law that applies to motorcycle accidents looks very similar to the law that applies to traffic accidents, there are some unique considerations for bikers. One of the most common issues is that of “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence is a doctrine that tells injuries to reduce the damages that a victim can recover if the victim’s negligence also led to the accident in some way. While this doctrine applies to standard car accidents as well as motorcycles, riding a motorcycle requires extra skill and may involve more danger, so there are more chances to apply the doctrine. Similarly, suing the manufacturer after the motorcycle accident can also present unique challenges because of the differences in engineering and technology for motorcycles as opposed to automobiles.

If you have recently been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer today. Our skilled attorneys handle cases from across the northwest suburbs, including towns like Deer Park, Barrington, and Des Plaines.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

Motorcycle Crashes in Illinois: How to Stay Safe and What to If You Can’t

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Motorcycle crashes represent a particularly dangerous brand of traffic accident, often with far more serious injuries than a typical car wreck. A report issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation stated that, even though motorcycle accidents made up only 1.6 percent of total crashes in Illinois, the proportion of the total crashes that involved a fatality shoots up to 16.7 percent. With accidents that are so often so dangerous, riders should know what steps they can take to keep safe, as well what they should do in the unfortunate event that they end up involved in a serious accident.

How to Drive Safe

As with all motor vehicles, following the rules of the road, and practicing defensive driving are key to a safe, enjoyable ride. However, Illinois law places restrictions on riders beyond those of a normal car. Illinois law requires:

  • • The use of the bike’s headlights at all times, regardless of weather conditions or light levels;
  • • Motorcyclists to refrain from lane splitting, or driving between two lanes of traffic;
  • • Proper seats and footrests if the motorcycle is carrying a passenger;
  • • Insurance coverage similar to that required of automobiles.

  • Riders can also take further steps to ensure that they stay safe. Helmets, while not required by law in Illinois, can decrease the likelihood or severity of head trauma, a common cause of death in motorcycle accidents. Additionally, regular bike maintenance can decrease incidence of equipment failure mid-ride, which makes getting into an accident less likely.

    What to do After an Accident

    The steps to take after a motorcycle accident very much resemble those taken after a car crash:

    1. 1. Check on everyone involved in the crash to see if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
    2. 2. Call 9-1-1, to inform them of the accident; do this even if no one has been seriously hurt, since you should still report the accident to the police.
    3. 3. Collect as much contact information as you can from the other people involved in the crash, especially a phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information
    4. 4. Document the scene of the accident. If you have a camera or a camera-phone handy, get pictures of the scene, as well as the individual vehicles involved. If you don’t have a camera available, try to take some pictures of the damage to your bike once you get home.
    5. 5. After you have spoken with the police and made your report, contact your insurance company to report the accident. They may ask you for an interview to provide them with the details of the accident. Make sure not to provide this information without first consulting with an attorney.

    If you have recently been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney today. Call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member our team today. We serve the northwest suburbs of Chicago including Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and other nearby communities.

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