April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and while people typically visualize car accidents when they think of distracted driving, it's important to remember that driving any motor vehicle while distracted could cause an accident. To illustrate this point, one motorcycle enthusiast of Quincy, Illinois, recently recounted his distracted driving episode to a staff writer with the Quincy Herald-Whig newspaper.
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.
Illinois summers offer wonderful opportunities for motorcyclists to get out and enjoy the roads. Unfortunately, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has been increasing in recent years throughout the State. Fatal accidents have risen even as the overall number of accidents has decreased. There are several possible explanations for why this has occurred, but what is most important is finding ways to ensure that motorcyclists are given the protection they need on Illinois roads.
While the safety requirements for cars and trucks have been steadily becoming more stringent for years, motorcycle helmet laws have been repealed or defeated in several states. At the same time, car crash fatality rates have declined while motorcycle deaths have increased. A recent study has demonstrated that in the places where mandatory helmet laws have been repealed or weakened, serious motorcycle injuries have risen. The study analyzed the cost per injury claim all across the nation.
The scenes of an accident involving a car and a motorcycle in Chicago can be disturbingly similar. Often, the car has some damage and the driver may be a bit shaken, but the motorcyclist has typically taken the majority of the impact and the rider and bike have often suffered irreparable damage. Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on the roads as other motorists, but sadly, they are often the ones who are hurt the most in a motorcycle accident.