A motorcyclist was killed on Monday morning while riding on the Dan Ryan expressway, according to the Illinois State Police Department. An accident took place between the motorcyclist and an automobile on the inbound side of the highway near 35th Street during the early morning rush hour.
The crash was in the northbound express lanes around 6:15 a.m. and was significant enough to shut all lanes of inbound traffic, which were later open by 8:30 a.m. The cause of the collision has not been released but police continue to investigate the accident, including whether either driver acted negligently.
Paramedics responded to the collision and transported the biker, who is reportedly a male in his 30s, to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The man later died. Reportedly the driver of the other vehicle was not injured in the crash.
Motorcycles are involved in thousands of crashes every year. In 2011 alone, there were 3,756 motorcycles collisions in Illinois alone, causing thousands of injuries. Motorcycles are involved in a small number of crashes each year but these accidents are disproportionately responsible for a large number of injuries and deaths. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that motorcycles are smaller than most vehicles, making them more difficult to see. When other drivers are not careful or are not looking for a motorcycle, the driver can cause a collision with a biker who is lawfully riding.
Not only are motorcycles small but they also lack the protective compartment that passenger vehicles provide. Modern cars, trucks, and vans are designed to absorb an impact in areas free of occupants, like bumpers, while maintaining a rigid passenger compartment for the safety of those inside. In a motorcycle, there is no steel surrounding a rider meaning that the only thing between a biker’s body and the road is whatever safety equipment the biker chooses to wear. As a result, when a collision occurs, a biker is much more likely to be injured than a driver of a car.
Drivers are legally required to observe the rights of motorcyclists and to share the roads with bikers just as they do with all other vehicles. Yet not all drivers follow these rules and when negligence occurs, an accident is likely.