In 2012, fatalities on Illinois roads increased by four percent over the previous year. Statistics involving motorcycle accidents present the most concerning data. According to a Chicago Tribune article, the crash data suggests that the largest increase in traffic deaths during the first half of 2012 has been among motorcyclists. Fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes — statewide — are up 39 percent over the same time period last year. Victims of motorcycle accidents can experience a wide range of injuries, from mild abrasions and broken bones to catastrophic injuries, and death. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to contact an experienced, Chicago personal injury attorney to help you understand your rights.
Not only are motorcycle fatalities on the rise, but a very recent study indicates that older motorcyclists who get into accidents will suffer greater injuries than their younger counterparts. Current data reveals that more than a quarter of all motorcycle riders in the United States are age 50 and older. This statistic has more than doubled since 1990. As a rider’s age increases, the severity of the injuries do so as well. People age 60 and above who were involved in a motorcycle accident were reported to be 2 ½ times more likely than bikers in their 20s and 30s to end up with severe injuries in an emergency room. People considered to be middle-aged fared better, but were still 2/3 more likely to suffer a serious injury than younger riders.
Most people are aware that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Riders have little to no protection from other vehicles and obstacles. Aside from a helmet and other protective gear, they are overly exposed to the hazards on the road. The report suggests that “graying” motorcyclists, including older and middle-aged bikers, were more likely to sustain internal organ injuries, most often brain injuries, while younger riders suffer non-serious injuries, such as sprains, contusions, strains or abrasions. The study indicates that an older person’s physiological changes may be to blame: as the body ages, bone strength decreases, the elasticity of the chest wall decreases, and fat distribution may change. Additional factors contributing to this increase in greater injuries are simply some of the traditional side effects of aging: worsening vision, delayed reaction time and problems with balance.
According to another Chicago Tribune article, mid-way through 2012, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) instituted a new campaign to spread awareness of the incidences of fatalities on the roads. The IDOT began posting a running tally of traffic deaths on highway message boards. According to the IDOT, once those statistics were posted on the roads, the number of fatalities decreased from 500 in 2011 to 478 during the same time period in 2012. Raising awareness of fatalities on the roads is an important step in the state’s efforts to curtail these devastating accidents. Critics of this campaign have argued that seeing such information on the message boards is too alarming and could have the opposite effect by distracting drivers.
Victims of automobile, motorcycle or trucking accidents may be entitled to recover damages for their injuries. Families of victims who suffered a fatality in an accident may even be able to bring a wrongful death claim against a third party. An experienced Chicago personal injury attorney can help you to understand your rights.