Motorcyclists in Illinois are not required to wear helmets, although choosing not to do so can have serious consequences.
Warmer weather in Illinois means more people are likely to choose motorcycles as their preferred method of transportation. While riding a motorcycle is an enjoyable way to get around during the summer months, the risk of suffering serious injuries in a motor vehicle collision is significant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people killed in motorcycle accidents in the United States has been increasing over the past decade. From 1999 to 2008, the number of motorcyclist fatalities increased by over 50 percent across the country.
The CDC found that over 34,000 motorcyclists died in collisions between 2001 and 2008 in the U.S. In addition, more than 1.2 million motorcyclists suffered injuries in collisions with motor vehicles that necessitated emergency room medical treatment during that period.
Motorcycle collisions in Illinois
In Illinois, 148 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2012, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Illinois saw a 2 percent increase in the number of motorcyclist fatalities from 2011 to 2012. In all, motorcyclist deaths accounted for over 15 percent of all traffic fatalities in Illinois in 2012.
In addition, over 3,000 motorcyclists in Illinois suffered injuries in collisions with motor vehicles that year – an almost 10 percent increase from the year before.
One of the reasons for the high motorcyclist fatality rate in Illinois is likely the lack of a universal helmet law in the state. In 1970, the universal helmet law was repealed in Illinois. Since then, no helmet law has been in place for motorcyclists in the state.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 80 percent of the motorcyclists who died in collisions in Illinois were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Illinois falls short of most states when it comes to the number of lives saved by helmet use – just four lives were saved for every 100,000 registered motorcycles in 2010.
While other motorists are often at fault for motorcycle crashes, motorcyclists can take some precautions to help avoid serious injuries in a collision. Wearing a helmet and protective clothing on the road is a good first step. In addition, motorcyclists should never get on the road if they have consumed substances that could impair their ability to ride safely.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash in Illinois, the motorist responsible for the collision should be held accountable for the damage caused. It is a good idea, in such a situation, to promptly seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney, who will work with you to obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Keywords: Illinois, motorcycles, accidents