Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

July 22, 2011

A rash of Illinois motorcycle accidents leaves 5 riders dead

It has been a dangerous week of Chicago area motorcycle crashes as a string of collisions have the claimed the lives of five people.

A 37 year-old woman was killed in Dolton, Illinois after a man driving a Ford SUV failed to yield to her before taking a left turn, causing her to collide into the SUV. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the motorist involved in SUV vs. motorcycle crash, who was driving with his 16 year-old nephew, exited his vehicle, removed his license plate, and attempted to leave the scene after the accident. A group of residents were able to restrain the man until police arrived, however, and he was soon placed under arrest.

According to 2008 nationwide statistics from the NSTSA, these types of accidents, where an automobile driver taking a left turn fails to yield to an oncoming motorcyclist, accounted for 41% of all fatal accidents involving a motorcycle and another car. This type of collision is particularly dangerous because the rider’s momentum continues as their vehicle comes to a sudden halt, resulting in them being launched headfirst into the street at a high velocity.

In another incident, a 26 year-old man and a 23 year-old woman were killed in Wheeling after the motorcycle they were riding lost control and struck a utility box. The Chicago Daily Herald is reporting that prior to the crash, Buffalo Grove police attempted to pull over the man and his passenger after they sped away from a gas station on the 200 block of Milwaukee Avenue. After seeing the officer’s emergency lights, the pair sped away at what was described as a high rate of speed. As is protocol, the officer did not pursue the riders and alerted the Wheeling police that a speeding motorcycle was headed their way.

Soon after, at about 3:07 a.m., Wheeling police responded to a crash at the intersection of Milwaukee Road and Center Avenue where the riders were found dead. It appears that the riders, who were not wearing helmets at the time, were traveling at a right rate of speed when the driver lost control. Police are still working on reconstructing exactly how the crash occurred.

The Chicago Tribune reported on two other accidents where motorcyclists were killed as well. The first occurred in Glenview, Illinois when a 26 year-old man failed to obey a stop sign on Magnolia Street before attempting a left turn onto East Lake Avenue. A driver traveling eastbound down the center lane struck the rider, who was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. The other accident reported in the Tribune involved a 51 year-old man who died after rear-ending a car on the Dan Ryan expressway and losing control of his vehicle.

Summers are traditionally a dangerous time for riders in Illinois. After the long winter, motorcyclists come out in droves to take advantage of the state’s warm weather and lack of mandatory helmet laws. In fact, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the number of registered motorcycles in Illinois has risen 76% since 1999 to go along with the 26% increase in fatalities during that same period.

While motorcyclists cannot control the negligence of automobile drivers on the road, there are a number of things they can do to hopefully reduce their injuries:

• WEAR A HELMET! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that wearing a helmet saved the lives of 1,829 riders in 2008
• Drive defensively and do not assume other drivers can see you or are aware of your presence. The NHTSA reports that the majority of multiple-vehicle motorcycle accidents happen because the motorist does not see the rider
• Make sure your lights are functioning so people can see you
• Don’t drive too fast. Even experienced riders can lose control

Continue reading "A rash of Illinois motorcycle accidents leaves 5 riders dead " »

May 20, 2011

Alliance Support Group Offers Help to Victims of Chicago Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents

Active Transportation Alliance continues to offer resources to bicyclists and pedestrians and their families -- including support groups for injury victims, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Our Chicago accident lawyers understand that bicyclists and pedestrians are most vulnerable to suffering serious or fatal injuries in an accident.
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The Tribune reports that 34 people were killed and 503 were severely injured in Chicago pedestrian accidents in 2009. Chicago bicycle accidents killed six riders and seriously injured 165 that same year.

The Alliance offers support groups that meet once a month in the conference room of the organization's downtown office -- it is perhaps the only group of its kind in the country. The organization is dedicated to biking and walking safety. The support group is facilitated by personnel from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

The organization also operates a crash support hotline, which it started in 2010.

The group was instrumental in pushing for the tracking of bicycle accidents caused by dooring, as we reported recently on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog.

The Alliance is sponsoring the Ride Lake Shore Drive event on May 29, one of spring's most popular cycling events.

The group is also promoting the Bike Commuter Challenge June 11-17

Continue reading "Alliance Support Group Offers Help to Victims of Chicago Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents" »

April 25, 2011

Decreasing numbers of motorcycle accidents could be good news for Chicago

The United States Department of Transportation recently reported a 2 percent drop in motorcycle deaths. The country experienced 80 fewer motorcycle fatalities from January through September of 2010 as the same time period the year before, according to The New York Times.

Typically this wouldn't be cause for celebration. However, motorcycle accidents had been on the rise for more than a decade, despite a steady decline in the overall number of traffic accidents nationwide.
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Our Chicago car accident lawyers remind motorists that spring is the most dangerous time of the year for Illinois motorcycle accidents. While officials are cautiously optimistic regarding the decrease, many do not expect it to last. As conditions in our state improve along with the nation's economy, officials worry that the risks of a motorcycle accident in Illinois will increase as well.

"The drop is all in the front half of the year," said report author Jim Hedlund, a safety consultant. "It looks very much as if we've hit bottom and may be starting back up again."

More than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were an additional 96,000 motorcyclists injured in the same year. Illinois saw more than 120 fatalities in 2009.

“Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable of highway users, and we want to work together to promote motorcycle safety and help protect all of the motoring public,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.

As we recently discussed on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, a campaign was launched in Illinois to address the number of accidents that involve fault on the part of the rider. The "Gear Up" campaign kicked off statewide in effort to encourage riders receive the proper motorcycle riding training and to wear proper equipment while biking. The Illinois Department of Transportation, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association and a Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) were the organizations behind the campaign.

The Illinois Department of Transportation offers these motorcycle safety tips to help our riders stay safe on our roadways:

-Drive to survive. As the smallest vehicles on our roadways, a motorist is not offered much physical protection in the event of an accident. Drivers are asked to pay close attention to signals, other vehicles and brake lights. Always practice defensive driving and be extra cautious of the movement of other vehicles.

-Never ride between lanes, share a lane with another vehicle or drive aggressively.

-As motorcycles accelerate faster than other vehicles, it is important for you to keep a close eye on your speed.

-Wear protective gear. Motorcycle riders should often wear a helmet, a jacket, gloves and boots to protect themselves from debris, unpleasant weather conditions or an accident.

-Be aware of no-zones. As all vehicles have blind spots, be sure to steer clear of these areas. If you can't see the driver the driver can't see you.

Continue reading "Decreasing numbers of motorcycle accidents could be good news for Chicago" »

October 31, 2010

Government touts half-century of safety initiatives for reduction in traffic fatalities even as fatal Illinois car accidents are on the rise

The government has released a report detailing a half-century of safety initiatives as part of the reason for the historic decline in serious and fatal car accidents. However, as our Chicago injury lawyers have reported, the economic downturn has also played a significant role in the reduction. And, as the economy slowly recovers, the number of fatal Illinois car accidents is again on the rise.

Car accidents and traffic fatalities have been declining steadily since reaching a peak of 43,510 in 2005. Most recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that traffic fatalities declined from 37,423 in 2008 to 33,808 last year -- a level not seen since the 33,186 deaths that occurred on the nation's roads in 1950.

Safety officials are quick to point toward the success of enforcement efforts aimed at increasing seat belt use and reducing drunk driving.
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“Today’s numbers reflect the tangible benefits of record seat belt use and strong anti-drunk driving enforcement campaigns,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland in announcing the record-low fatalities. “But we are still losing more than 30,000 lives a year on our highways, and about a third of these involve drunk driving. We will continue to work with our state partners to strictly enforce both seat belt use and anti-drunk driving laws across this nation, every day and every night.”

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have frequently reported the drastic decline in traffic crashes. But recently that trend has changed. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that 746 people have died in Illinois car accidents thus far in 2010, compared to 742 during the same period a year ago.

That increase could be linked to the (albeit slow) economic recovery -- many cite the sagging economy as a primary reason for the reduction. To counter this argument, the government points to an overall increase in miles traveled. However, it does not report whether a significant reduction in peak congestion (due to high unemployment and less holiday and vacation travel) could be partially responsible.

Additionally, not every category bears good news: Motorcycle accidents and bicycle accidents have continued to increase over a three-year moving average.

Recently, the government completed a study that does offer some insight into where the reductions are occurring, even if the reasons why remain a mystery.

-Crashes involving young drivers declined 17 percent between 2007 and 2008.

-Fatalities involving children under the age of 16 decreased by 20 percent.

-Multiple-vehicle fatalities decreased by 13 percent.

-Fatalities involving large trucks decreased by 12 percent.

-Weekend fatalities decreased by 11 percent.


The government cites a number of safety milestones along the historic downward trend in traffic fatalities that began in the 1970s:

1968: Front-seat lap and shoulder belts are required for all vehicles.

1970: NHTSA is formed by an act of Congress.

1971: Standardized training for EMTs.

1974: Nationwide 55mph speed limit enacted by Congress in response to energy crisis.

1978: First child safety-seat law enacted.

1980: Mothers Against Drunk Driving is formed.

1984: First seat-belt law enacted by New York.

1987: Passive restraint rules (airbags) began with the 1987 model year.

1988: All 50 states have raised minimum drinking age to 21.

1990: NHTSA begins providing crash worthiness tests.

1996: Safety campaign to move children to rear seats.

1998: All 50 states have zero tolerance alcohol policy for drivers under 21.

2002: First nationwide "Click It or Ticket" campaign.

2005: All 50 states have .08 legal limit for alcohol.

2008: Seat belt use up to 83 percent as states continue to enact primary enforcement laws.


Continue reading "Government touts half-century of safety initiatives for reduction in traffic fatalities even as fatal Illinois car accidents are on the rise" »

October 12, 2010

Mujer de Chicago murió en un accidente de motocicleta en el Norte de Lake Shore Drive

El Sun-Times de Chicago informa que un carro de Chicago contra accidente de motocicleta ha resultado en la muerte de un residente local. El accidente ocurrió en la madrugada del lunes por el bloque 3700 Norte de la Lake Shore Drive.

La investigación de los agentes de policías informan que la motocicleta golpeó la parte trasera del otro vehículo y que ambos intentaron cambiar de carril, al mismo tiempo. El motociclista fue lanzado fuera de su vehículo y golpeó el pavimento. Fue pronunciada muerta en la escena. Ella llevaba puesto un casco.

El conductor implicado no resultó herido, y no emitió ninguna violación móvil en la escena. Sin embargo, el conductor recibió tres violaciónes de cumplimiento (No se informo de que fueron las violaciónes).

La unidad de investigación de accidentes del Departamento de Policía en Chicago esta manejando la reconstrucción del accidente. Se espera que sea capaz de determinar si el vehículo adelante utilizó una señal para cambiar de carril, y si otros factores tuvieron algo que ver en el accidente. Se ha reportado por WGN-TV que el vehículo pudo haber faltado el espejo del lado y/o espejos traseros de vista.

En el año 2009, hubo 3,846 accidentes de motocicleta en el Estado de Illinois. 130 murieron en esos accidentes.

October 11, 2010

Chicago woman killed in motorcycle accident on North Lake Shore Drive

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that a Chicago car versus motorcycle accident has resulted in the death of a local resident. The accident occurred early Monday morning and 3700 block of N. Lakeshore Dr.

Investigating police officers reporting that the motorcycle hit the back of another vehicle as both attempted to change lanes at the same time. The motorcyclist was thrown off her vehicle and struck the pavement. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She was wearing a helmet.

The driver involved was not injured, and was not issued any moving violations at the scene. However, the driver was given three compliance violations (what the violations were for was not reported).

The Chicago Police Department's major accident investigation unit is handling the crash reconstruction. They will hopefully be able to determine if the vehicle in front used a turn signal to change lanes, and whether or not any other factors played a role in the crash. It is being reported by WGN-TV that the vehicle may have been missing side view and/or rear view mirrors.

In the year 2009, there were 3,846 motorcycle accidents in the State of Illinois. 130 were killed in those crashes.

September 3, 2010

Chicago injury lawyers retained in Illinois motorcycle accident case

Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have entered into an agreement to represent a motorcyclist from the North Side who was injured in an August 27 accident. The collision occurred as our client rode his motorcycle northbound on Milwaukee Avenue near its intersection with Paulina.

At that time the driver of an SUV failed to see our client and turned left without yielding. There was a collision and the plaintiff was knocked to the ground.

A Chicago Fire Department ambulance rushed the plaintiff to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He sustained multiple lacerations on his legs, a left ankle injury, multiple bruises and abrasions, and neck and back injuries. 52 stitches were required to repair his lacerations.

The injured motorcycle rider is following up with a medical doctor for further treatment.

The Chicago Police Department investigated the accident. The driver of the SUV was ticketed for failing to yield while turning left.

Continue reading "Chicago injury lawyers retained in Illinois motorcycle accident case" »

August 24, 2010

Semi, taxi cab involved in pair of Chicago motorcycle accidents

A Chicago car accident claimed the life of a cab driver early Monday morning after colliding with a motorcycle and then slamming into a utility pole, WGNTV reported.

The motorcycle rider was among two other accident victims that were transported to Resurrection Medical Center for treatment. The Chicago Breaking News Center reported that the rider was reported to be in good condition. It's unknown whether the other victim was a passenger in the cab.

The accident pushed the utility pole into a garage, which collapsed from the impact.

Also early Monday, a motorcycle rider was killed in an accident with a semi in Chicago. The 33-year-old rider was killed on the Dan Ryan Expressway about two blocks from 35th Street. The accident happened shortly after 1:30 a.m. and closed the expressway's inbound lanes for about three hours.

Riders are expected to be out in force through the remainder of summer, hitting the roads through the long Labor Day weekend and into fall as long as weather permits. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports that more than half of all motorcycle accidents involve another motorist who is usually at fault in the crash.

In 2008, a total of 5,290 riders were killed and more than 96,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Illinois motorcycle accidents killed 121 riders.


The Foundation offers safe driving tips for avoiding motorcycle accidents.

July 4, 2010

Safety courses teach riders what to do in the event of a Chicago motorcycle accident

A local trauma nurse is hosting a first aid class aimed at teaching riders what to do in the event of a Chicago motorcycle accident.

The Sun-Times reports that the clinical nurse at Loyola Center for Heart & Health Medicine in Park Ridge developed the idea after a decade of treating motorcycle victims in the emergency room and suffering a motorcycle accident of her own in 2006. That accident was caused by a motorist throwing a Gatorade bottle out the window. The nurse suffered a dislocated shoulder, broken ankle and severe road rash after laying her bike down on I-55.
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Fellow riders assisted her during the 40-minute wait for emergency personnel to arrive.

"I realized how ill-prepared motorcyclists are for accidents -- including me at that time," said Teresa McClelland. "And I realized how important it was that the riders with me knew what to do."

She began teaching a class called A Crash Course for the Motorcyclist to motorcycle riders, scooter riders, EMS workers and nurses. The crash focuses on what to do in the minutes after a motorcycle accident to secure the scene and assist the injured until professional help arrives.

As Chicago injury lawyers we applaud such programs and encourage every rider to take advantage of safety instruction.

"Usually, the first person at the scene [of a motorcycle accident] is another cyclist -- and often these accidents are in rural areas," she told the Sun-Times. "I am trying to train bikers how to handle that golden hour between the accident and when the emergency response team arrives."

Advice in the class includes information on securing the scene, how and when to move an injured rider, traffic control, how to move a motorcycle, and the proper information to provide a 911 dispatcher. McClelland is also the director of training and curriculum for Rescue Riders, a non-profit group of volunteer bikers who lend their emergency response training to large motorcycle events.

She understands the grim statistics faced by riders -- 17 percent of crashes involve motorcycle riders, who are eight times more likely to be seriously injured than car drivers. Ninety-eight percent of motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle result in injuries to the rider. Almost half result in serious or life-threatening injuries.

Not only does she encourage every rider to take a safety course, she encourages them to get CPR training and to enroll in an accident management class as well. Basic and advanced safety courses are being offered at Loyola University Health System on the following Saturdays: July 24, Sept. 4, Sept. 18, Oct. 2, Oct. 16, Nov. 13 and Nov. 27.

For additional information visit www.accidentscene.org.

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June 28, 2010

Weekend accidents injured Chicago motorists by car, train and motorcycle

Two women were killed in a Chicago car accident early Monday morning when their car crashed into a tree in suburban Wilmette, the Breaking News Center reported.

There were other passengers in the car and at least one other person was seriously hurt in the accident, which occurred about 3 a.m. in the 700 block of Sheridan Road when the black four-door sedan left the road and slammed into a tree. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the deaths. Cause of the crash remains under investigation.

A woman was struck by a train near the W. Lake St. station in Hanover Park on Sunday night. The News Center reports that she was taken to St. Alexius Medical Center, where she died from injured sustained in the accident. She was struck by the Metra train operating on the Milwaukee District West Lane sometime around 8:30 p.m.

Seven people were injured in an auto accident on Saturday in the Far North Side's Edgewater neighborhood. Three people were seriously hurt in the crash, which happened at the intersection of Granville Avenue and Sheridan Road. The News Center reports that the injured were taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital in Evanston and Weiss Memorial Hospital. The accident remains under investigation and no other information was reported.

A Chicago motorcycle accident claimed the life of a rider on Saturday in the Roseland community on the Far South Side. The News Center reported that the crash occurred shortly before 4 a.m. in the 11200 block of South Yale Avenue. The accident is being investigated by Illinois State Police and no other information was released.