Responsible motorcyclists recognize the dangers that come with riding bikes. If you are a motorcyclist enthusiast in Illinois, you will face some inherent risks that threaten your safety. Regardless of the number of years of experience you have, the risks remain the same. Many motorcycle accidents result from the negligence of other motorists, and the most valuable part of many years of experience is the ability to keep a proper lookout for potential dangers.
Both experienced and inexperienced motorcyclists typically find the exhilaration and freedom of the ride intoxicating. You will likely know that it is not only inexperienced riders who crash. Even riders with years of experience find themselves in the hospital with injuries as severe as those suffered by new riders.
Dangers for which to look out
Motorcyclists have none of the protection offered by passenger cars, and you might avoid catastrophic injuries if you are always alert to the following typical dangers:
- Impaired riding: Regardless of how sober you feel, never ride your bike after consuming alcohol or drugs. At the same time, you will be wise to learn the telltale signs of impairment in other road users to allow you to stay clear of them.
- Speed: Although the fastness of motorcycles is one of the best things about them, remember that you are on only two wheels, and speed kills. Take particular care to slow down through corners to avoid losing control of the bike.
- Inclement weather: Rain, snow, ice and anything other than sunshine are dangerous. Motorists may not see you because you will be less visible, and navigating through large puddles of water is challenging.
- Gravel patches: Gravel is one of the most dangerous obstacles you might encounter. However, look out for sticks, roadkill, dirt and other objects on the road surface.
- Panic stops: Sudden stops are always dangerous, especially if most of your bike’s stopping power is in the front brakes. If you are familiar with how your bike handles during heavy braking, you might avoid throwing yourself off the bike.
- Oncoming traffic: Even just being clipped by a distracted driver can cause serious injuries. Keep a lookout for any signs of a car drifting between lanes, which might indicate that the driver is texting, eating or otherwise distracted.
- Drivers behind you: Your bike does not have any features that will protect you if a car hits you from behind. Rear-ending is not only a risk when you stop at an intersection but also in slow-moving traffic.
- Cars waiting to turn: Added vigilance will serve you well in intersections and as you approach cars waiting to make left turns. A significant percentage of motorcycle accidents involve cars failing to yield before turning.
- Cars changing lanes: While most drivers indicate their intentions to change lanes, unchecked lane changes at highway speeds can have devastating consequences. Being aware of this danger might save your life.
- Unexpected opening car doors: Driving in cities will always include the risk of car doors opening unexpectedly. Look ahead to avoid such a surprise, which could send you off your bike and into the way of other vehicles.
Just about all these risks require excellent observation skills, being sober and riding responsibly. Do not lose sight of the fact that you could lose your life or be paralyzed in the blink of an eye. You could suffer fractured bones, internal organ damage, traumatic brain injuries and third-degree road rash — all of which could lead to extended hospital stays.
Your legal rights
If you have to deal with mounting medical bills and lost wages after a motorcycle accident that resulted from another party’s negligence, you might have grounds to pursue a claim for financial relief. An experienced Illinois personal injury attorney can be a valuable asset throughout ensuing legal proceedings. Legal counsel can explain what civil lawsuits entail and provide support and guidance along every step of the way.