Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog

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.

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.

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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.

“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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

May 25, 2010

Chicago car accident involving ambulance concludes series of weekend accidents

- A Chicago car crash involving an ambulance injured a fire department paramedic and a patient early Monday morning on the Northwest Side, the Breaking News Center reported.

The ambulance was on a transport run to Resurrection Medical Center when it was struck in the 6000 block of West Foster Avenue. The 46-year-old driver of the other vehicle was also injured and taken to the hospital. He was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

- A Chicago bus accident involved two other vehicles and injured three people just after 7 a.m. Monday. The fire department reported the crash happened near the intersection of Lawrence and Elston avenues.

- A Chicago motorcycle accident seriously injured a man Sunday night when his motorcycle hit a guardrail on the Dan Ryan Expressway. He was thrown over the rail and landed on a residential street beneath the bridge. The rider was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition.

- A Chicago train accident claimed the life of a 35-year-old Wisconsin woman early Sunday. The woman was struck by a train in suburban Glenview about 3 a.m.

Through Sunday, a total of 299 people have been killed in Illinois traffic accidents, compared to 325 people killed during the same period last year, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

April 22, 2010

Pair of Chicago motorcycle accidents a reminder that spring riding season is here

A pair of Chicago motorcycle accidents in the last week offers a sobering reminder of the dangers of spring riding season.

As Chicago car accident lawyers recently reported on the Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer blog, a total of 121 Illinois motorcycle riders were killed in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nationwide, 5,290 were killed and almost 100,000 injured in riding accidents.

On Thursday morning, a motorcyclist was killed when his bike collided with a car on the Southwest Side, the Breaking News Center reported. Police report that the motorcycle's speed may have contributed to the accident, which occurred at the intersection of 55th Street and South Laramie Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. The rider pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn.

On Sunday (April 11), a motorcyclist was seriously injured after striking a median on the North Side, according to the News Center. The accident at the intersection of Irving Park Road and Ashland Avenue sent the 27-year-old rider to the hospital.

Spring is a dangerous time for riders for a number of reasons. New riders often begin riding in the spring and even veteran riders can take some time to get reacquainted with their equipment and area roads, where conditions often change over the winter. Additionally, it frequently takes motorists time to begin looking for motorcycles again as the weather improves and riders begin taking to the roads for the spring and summer months.

The popularity of motorcycle riding has exploded in the last decade; registered motorcycles in the United States have increased from 4 million in 1998 to more than 7 million this year. With the increase in riding has come an increase in serious and fatal motorcycle accidents. While nationwide traffic fatalities are in decline, fatal motorcycle accidents have increased each year for more than a decade.

Illinois State University offers a Motorcycle Safety Education program through the Illinois Department of Transportation. Participating in a safety program, or reminding yourself as a motorist to watch out for our riding friends, is a great way to ensure everyone has a safe summer on our roads.