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How Common are Severe Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago, Illinois?

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

How Common are Severe Motorcycle Accidents in Chicago, Illinois?

As a motorcycle rider, you face certain risks every time you ride. No matter how skilled you are at riding, and no matter how careful you are to obey the law and ride within your limits, there is always a chance that someone else will hit you, total your bike, and leave you with serious injuries.

According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), there are approximately 10 motorcycle accidents in the state every single day. Of these accidents, nearly 99 percent (3,465 out of 3,504) result in injuries or death. On average, a motorcycle rider dies in Illinois three days out of every week, and more than one in four motorcycle accidents results in an incapacitating injury or death.

Illinois Motorcycle Accident Statistics Published by IDOT

Currently, the latest data available on motorcycle accidents in Illinois are from 2016. According to IDOT, these data show that serious and fatal motorcycle accidents are on the rise:

“Motorcycle crashes accounted for 1.1 percent of all crashes in 2016. The number of motorcyclists killed increased by 4.8 percent, from 147 in 2015 to 154 in 2016. These motorcycle fatalities accounted for 14.3 percent of all fatalities in 2016. The number of motorcyclists injured – 2,692 – increased by 1.9 percent in 2016.”

You read that correctly: While motorcycle accidents accounted for just 1.1 percent of crashes in Illinois in 2016, they accounted for 14.3 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities. This means that motorcycle accidents are far more likely to result in death than collisions between passenger vehicles.

Other notable statistics on Illinois motorcycle accidents from IDOT include:

1. Approximately one quarter (943 out of 2,692) of all motorcycle riders injured suffer incapacitating injuries.

IDOT defines an incapacitating injury as, “[a]ny injury, other than a fatal injury, that prevents the injured person from walking, driving or normally continuing the activities he/she was capable of performing before the injury occurred.” Examples include severe lacerations; broken bones; and, other head, chest, and abdominal injuries.

2. Motorcycle accidents rarely result in severe injuries to the driver of the passenger vehicle involved.

Of the 3,504 motorcycle accidents in Illinois in 2016, at most, 29 resulted in incapacitating injuries to non-motorcyclists. We say “at most” because it is possible that multiple passenger vehicle occupants could have been injured in the same accident.

3. More than half of all motorcycle accidents occurred while the motorcycle was traveling “straight ahead.”

According to IDOT, 1,920 of all motorcycle accidents in Illinois in 2016 occurred while the motorcyclist was “going straight ahead.” This is by far the largest proportion of accidents. Aside from “other,” the next most-common maneuver involved in motorcycle accidents was skidding or loss of control, which was a factor in 385 accidents. Other maneuvers listed include riding in slow or stopped traffic (271 accidents), sitting parked (148 accidents), making a left turn (144 accidents), making a right turn (110 accidents), passing or overtaking (109 accidents), and changing lanes (57 accidents).

These statistics are particularly noteworthy because the contradict the popular notion that motorcycle riders are risktakers who ride dangerously and put themselves in harm’s way. According to IDOT, more motorcycle accidents occurred while the rider was parked than while riders were attempting to pass, overtake, or change lanes.

4. The majority of motorcycle accidents involve multi-vehicle collisions.

More than 53 percent of motorcycle accidents in 2016 involved multi-vehicle collisions, while less than 47 percent were single-vehicle accidents. More multi-vehicle accidents resulted in injuries and death than single-vehicle accidents as well. While 47 percent is not an insignificant portion of the total number of accidents, what this single-vehicle accident figure likely belies is the fact that single-vehicle motorcycle accidents are often the result of riders being forced off of the road and into other dangerous situations by careless passenger vehicle drivers.

5. Motorcycle accident rates increased in Illinois despite a nationwide decline.

While the number of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents in Illinois increased in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the rate of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents nationwide is on the decline. What accounts for this disparity is not immediately clear, although the high volume of traffic in and around Chicago and other cities, Illinois’s often-harsh winter weather, and various other factors could all potentially be to blame.

Chicago Motorcycle Accident Statistics Published by IDOT

So, that’s Illinois. What about Chicago? IDOT publishes city-specific (and county-specific) crash data as well; and, here too, the most-recent data are currently from 2016. According to IDOT’s vehicle collision data for Chicago:

  • In 2016, there were 524 motorcycle accidents in the city of Chicago.
  • Of these 524 accidents, 12 were fatal and 263 resulted in injuries.
  • Approximately one in four motorcycle riders injured in Chicago in 2016 suffered one or more incapacitating injuries.

A few facts about these statistics stand out. For one, while approximately 99 percent of motorcycle accidents statewide resulted in injuries or death, in Chicago this number drops significantly to 52 percent (although it appears that there may be some inconsistencies between the statewide and city-specific data). Additionally, while Chicago is home to approximately 21 percent of the state’s population, less than 15 percent of all motorcycle accidents statewide occurred in Chicago in 2016. Interestingly, however, while the overall rate of injury-involved motorcycle accidents was lower in Chicago, a similar proportion of these accidents still resulted in incapacitating injuries.

What Should You Do if You Have Been Injured in a Chicago Motorcycle Accident?

Based on these statistics, if you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in the Chicago area, you are not alone. People have stood in your shoes before, and many of them have succeeded in recovering just compensation for their injury-related losses. Here are some steps you can take after a motorcycle accident to improve your chances of securing a financial recovery:

  • Follow your doctor’s advice. After any type of accident, one of the most-important things you can do is to follow you doctor’s advice. If you have suffered severe traumatic injuries, it will take time for your body to recover, and there is most likely sound medical reasoning behind your doctor’s treatment and recovery recommendations. Seek a second opinion if you feel that one is necessary; but, no matter what you do, do not simply ignore your doctor’s advice.
  • Avoid the temptation to ride. For most riders, one of the first things they want to do after getting knocked off is to get back in the saddle. But, until your doctor clears you to ride again, you need to avoid the temptation to do so. Not only is this something that the insurance companies could use against you; but, if you are physically limited due to your injuries, you could be putting yourself at greater risk for additional harm.
  • Start keeping records. In order to prove your claim, you will need evidence of the cause and effects of your injuries. While your attorney will need to hire an investigator to visit the scene as soon as possible, there are steps you can take to help prove your claim as well. These include keeping copies of all medical bills and receipts related to your injuries, keeping copies of any relevant employment records, and keeping a daily log or journal that details your injuries’ impacts on your life.
  • Keep the details to yourself. While you want to try to gather as much information to support your claim as possible, you also want to be sure to keep all of this information to yourself. Don’t give extra details to the insurance companies, and don’t post about the accident on social media. There will come a time to tell your story; but, for now, any discussions regarding the accident should only take place between you and your attorney.
  • Speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer. Due to the challenges involved in securing just compensation after a motorcycle accident and the risks associated with dealing with the insurance companies on your own, it is strongly in your best interests to hire an experienced attorney. You should choose a lawyer who has particular experience with motorcycle accident claims, and who is familiar with the local roads and highways in and around Chicago.

Ultimately, the statistics on motorcycle accidents mean little for your rights as an injured rider. While these statistics show that accidents involving passenger vehicles are common, it is up to you to protect your rights in your case. At Malman Law, we have over 25 years of experience representing injured riders in the Chicago area. If you have been injured and you are serious about maximizing your financial recovery, we encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation.

Schedule a Free Motorcycle Accident Consultation in Chicago, IL

For more information about your legal rights after a motorcycle accident in the Chicago area, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. To speak with a Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer at Malman Law as soon as possible, call 888-625-6265 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

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