Motorcyclists face serious dangers in Chicago

In 2013, there were 36 motorcycle fatalities in Cook County. In all of Illinois, 152 motorcyclists died.

Motorcyclists in Chicago naturally have less protection than motorists. This alone can increase their risk of serious injury or even death when involved in a crash. However, the actions of vehicle drivers remain a critical factor that leads to a great number of motorcycle accidents.

Recent stories show the range of accidents

Motorcycle crashes happen in many different scenarios. The Chicago Tribune provides details on three area incidents that exemplify this. In one situation, a 50-year old man was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The vehicle driver did later turn herself in but now faces felony charges for failing to remain at the accident scene or to report the accident.

An 11-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department lost his life on Chicago's South Side after being struck by another vehicle. The 62-year-old driver was driving with no insurance and with a suspended license. He has been cited.

A stretch of Interstate 75 in nearby Michigan was the site of yet another fatal motorcycle accident. A trailer being pulled by a car hit a motorcyclist while making a lane change. The driver continued on for a while dragging the victim along the way until finally stopping at a rest area. The motorcyclist, a state trooper, leaves behind his wife and four children.

Statistics confirm the serious risk

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that while motorcycle fatalities can and do happen anywhere, some areas are more deadly than others. In 2013, there were 152 motorcycle fatalities in Illinois. The three counties with the highest number of these deaths were Cook, Will and Peoria. In Cook County, 36 motorcyclists died. Another 10 died in Will County and six died in Peoria County.

The 36 deaths in Cook County represent a somber increase when looking at the previous years, as follows:

  • In 2012, 30 motorcycle fatalities were recorded.
  • In 2011, 29 motorcycle fatalities were recorded.
  • In 2010, 30 motorcycle fatalities were recorded.
  • In 2009, 32 motorcycle fatalities were recorded.

It is also important to note that these fatalities are not limited to motorcyclists of any particular age range. Of the 152 deaths in 2013, 36 were in their 20s, 35 in their 30s and 34 in their 40s. Motorcyclists 50 and over represented 40 of the fatalities and another seven victims were 19 or younger.

What can be done to keep people safe?

Certainly people on motorcycles have the responsibility to operate their bikes safely. However, this cannot prevent all crashes. When an accident does happen, it is important to seek legal help promptly.