Motorcyclists are not protected the same way car drivers and passengers are. That’s why they are more likely to be injured or killed in a crash. Even though motorcycles represent only 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the U.S., motorcycle accidents account for about 14 percent of all highway deaths each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says. According to the NHTSA, about 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. In contrast, that number is around 20 percent for auto accidents.
A report published in July 2012 by the NHTSA contains some startling figures. They show the vulnerability of motorcyclists on our nation’s roads. For example:
- Per registered vehicle, the fatality rate for motorcyclists in 2010 was six times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants.
- 4,502 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2010, marking a slight increase from the 4,469 motorcyclists killed in 2009. There were 82,000 motorcyclists injured that year.
- Motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of total traffic fatalities, 16 percent of all occupant (passenger) fatalities and 4 percent of all occupants injured in 2010. This includes mopeds, two- or three-wheeled motorcycles, off-road motorcycles, scooters, mini bikes and pocket bikes.
- 2,351 (51 percent) of the motorcycles involved in fatal crashes collided with another type of motor vehicle. In two-vehicle crashes, 75 percent of the motorcycles involved were struck in the front. Only 6 percent were struck in the rear.
In Illinois, the Department of Transportation’s 2011 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics says there were:
- 3,756 motorcycle crashes in Illinois, which resulted in 145 motorcyclists killed and 3,020 motorcyclists injured. These numbers include motorcycles, scooters, motorbikes and mopeds.
- Motorcycle crashes accounted for only 1.3 percent of all crashes in 2011, but motorcycle fatalities accounted for 15.8 percent of all fatalities in 2011.
- 85 people died in motorcycle crashes on urban roads (state routes, interstates, city streets and roads) and 61 people were killed in motorcycle accidents on rural roads (state routes, interstates, county and local roads).
Why do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in Illinois?
The NHTSA’s 2010 Traffic Safety Facts and Statistics report for motorcycles also looked at the causes of motorcycle accidents in the United States. The report found:
- In 2010, there were 1,999 two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 39 percent (770) of these crashes, the other vehicle was turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle. Both vehicles were going straight in 446 crashes (22 percent).
- 35 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2010 were speeding, compared to 23 percent for passenger car drivers, 19 percent for light-truck drivers and 8 percent for large-truck drivers.
- In fatal crashes in 2010, a higher percentage of motorcycle riders had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher than any other type of motor vehicle driver. The percentages of drivers involved in fatal crashes found to have a BAC of 0.08 percent or more were: 28 percent for motorcycles, 23 percent for passenger cars, 22 percent for light (passenger) trucks and 2 percent for large (commercial) trucks.
The 2011 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics report says that, of motorcyclists involved in crashes in 2010:
- 2,029 were traveling straight ahead
- 512 were skidding / had lost control of their bikes
- 312 were slowing / stopped in traffic
- 177 were making a left turn
- 114 were making a right turn
- 88 were passing / overtaking another vehicle
- 39 were changing lanes
- 35 motorcyclists killed had a BAC of 0.08 percent (the legal limit) or more.
Contact a Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, protect your rights by contacting Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. We represent motorcycle accident victims throughout Chicago and Illinois, including residents of Cook and Lake counties. Call us today at our toll-free number or use our online contact form.