A DuPage County couple was killed on Saturday night after their motorcycle was read-ended at a stoplight, according to Chicago Sun-Times. The motorcycle’s 43-year old driver and 41-year old passenger from Naperville were waiting to turn left at the stoplight when a pickup truck crashed into the back of them. Both motorcyclists were ejected from the vehicle and were pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities reported that neither the driver nor the passenger was wearing a helmet. The 21-year old driver of the pick-up truck was uninjured and was later charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. An accident reconstruction team was called to the area shortly afterwards, and investigations of the crash are currently ongoing.
From the perspective of our motorcycle accident lawyers, motorcycle riders who are stopped at traffic lights or are traveling at slow speeds are at a very high risk for being rear-ended. Rear-end collisions are especially dangerous and often traumatic for motorcyclists, who are more susceptible to injury or fatality than drivers inside of a car or truck. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Fatality Analysis Reporting System” found that cars and trucks are almost equally likely to rear-end motorcycles. It also found that frontal impacts and impacts with fixed objects are two of the most harmful events in fatal motorcycle crashes. Even so, drivers and passengers continue to sustain serious injury when involved in rear-end collisions.
In this accident, neither motorcyclist was reported to have been wearing a helmet at the time of the collision. As most motorcyclists involved in serious accident die of head injuries, wearing a helmet at all times is vital. Many believe that helmets will reduce visibility or impair hearing while riding, however, these statements are both false. The risk of head injury would be reduced by 69%, and the risk of death would decrease by 37%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Thus, there is substantial evidence that increasing helmet use would save many lives and help to significantly avoid personal injury.
Basic rules of the road require that all motorists are able to stop safely if another vehicle stops ahead of them. If you are not able to stop in time and rear-end the leading vehicle, you may not be driving as safely as needed. Every driver of a following vehicle has a responsibility to drive at a distance from the leading vehicle that is appropriate under the particular circumstances at that time (speed limit, traffic conditions, etc.) Thus, if someone hits you from behind, it is almost always his or her fault, regardless of the reason you stopped. Furthermore, in some situations both you and the vehicle behind you may be stopped when a third vehicle runs into both of you. In these chain-reaction collisions, it is the driver of the third car who is generally at fault.
Compensation for an accident caused by a rear-end collision may be reduced for the driver who was hit from behind if he or she was traveling in any careless or negligent manner. This includes driving with one or both brake or tail lights out, failing to move to the side of the road if the vehicle experienced mechanical problems, or driving inattentively or distractedly in any way. Motorcyclists can decrease the risk of being struck from behind by another driver by wearing bright clothing to make them more visible on the road, keeping their headlights on, staying out of other drivers’ blind spots, and driving defensively.
Our law firm has successfully helped many clients who have suffered personal injury in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver’s negligence. If you are a motorcycle driver that has experienced injury due to your involvement in a rear-end accident, it is important to seek quality representation to help determine where liability falls and ultimately determine what rights and compensation may be available to you.