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Fatal Motorcycle Accidents Increasing

On June 18, a car driven by a 43-year-old woman made an illegal turn. As a result of that turn, a 30-year-old motorcyclist was killed. The driver of the car got a ticket. Motorcyclists are all too frequently viewed in a negative light by other motorists. The truth is that many motorcycle accidents are the result of car and truck drivers acting negligently. The increase in distracted driving behaviors may be what is behind an increase in fatal motorcycle accidents seen in recent years throughout Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recorded 131 fatalities in motorcycle accidents in 2010. In 2012, that number had risen to 148 fatal crashes. That is a 13 percent increase in these tragic accidents. The rise in fatalities may be a simple product of the increasing popularity of motorcycles as a means of conveyance. Over the past 10 years, the number of registered motorcyclists is up by more than 50 percent. Many of those are likely new riders who may not have the experience or training necessary to safely avoid the hazards of the road.

Motorcyclists face a much higher risk of catastrophic injury or death than other motorists when they are involved in a collision. The dangers of distracted driving are much clearer to a person on a motorcycle than to a person in a car. The failure to signal a turn or to check to make sure it is safe to make a lane change can cost the life of a motorcyclist. As motorcycles continue to grow in popularity, the deadly interactions between vehicles are only likely to increase.

Source: Northwest Herald, "Motorcycle deaths rise in Illinois," by Chelsea McDougall, 28 July 2013

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