Riding a motorcycle in a major city like Chicago places you at a higher risk of being involved in an accident than in wide open rural areas. While Chicago has previously had an elevated rate of motorcycle accident fatalities compared to other cities of similar size, the 2022 statistics present some good news: motorcycle accident fatalities have decreased compared to 2021.
Read on to learn more about 2022 accident fatality statistics and possible causes for Chicago motorcycle accident fatalities to decrease.
Chicago Fatal Crash Data
The Illinois Department of Transportation provides up-to-date data about fatal motor vehicle crashes occurring throughout the state. According to this data, 139 motorcyclist fatalities happened throughout the state in 2022 (as of December). In contrast, there were 167 motorcyclist fatalities in 2021 and 148 in 2020.
The motorcycle fatality rate across Illinois decreased by 28 or just over 16% from 2021 to 2022. Additionally, total accident fatalities (involving motorcycles and other motor vehicles) decreased by 94.
Factors that Impact Motorcycle Accident Fatality Frequency
Why has 2022 seen a decrease in Chicago motorcycle crashes? Several factors could be at play.
Illinois does not have any motorcycle helmet requirements, allowing motorcycle riders to make their own decisions about helmet use. Helmet use can significantly impact fatality rates. Fatalities become less frequent when more people use their helmets.
Like many other safety measures prevalent in 2022, voluntary helmet use slowly increases from year to year. Motorcyclists who have not previously worn helmets while riding sometimes make the switch when they hear of fellow riders experiencing severe crashes. The widespread availability of statistics about helmet use and accident severity may also convince riders to don their helmets.
Motorcycle accidents often occur in dense, slow traffic. Motorcyclists are at risk of rear-end collisions due to their smaller vehicle size compared to passenger vehicles. Many drivers fail to notice motorcyclists stopping in front of them until it’s too late.
As such, a city’s traffic patterns can impact the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes. Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, many Chicago residents have transitioned to full or partial remote work schedules, decreasing the number of cars on the road during rush hour.
Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between marked traffic lanes. Sometimes, motorcyclists use this technique to weave between stopped traffic and reach the intersection faster.
While lane splitting is a somewhat common practice for motorcyclists, it’s illegal in most states — including Illinois. New motorcyclists are often unaware of these laws. However, as time goes on, more motorcyclists learn of the dangers of lane splitting, leading them to avoid this practice.
The reduced frequency of motorcycle lane splitting may have contributed to the lower motorcycle accident fatalities in 2022.
Motorcycle accident statistics vary from year to year, and there is not always an identifiable cause. Accidents are not predictable events. Some years simply see more accidents than others. Rain, snow, ice and slush on the roads can also play a role. Chicago motorcycle accident fatalities decrease sometimes due to chance.
Even so, you can take several measures as a motorcyclist to reduce your chance of experiencing a serious crash. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe on your motorcycle:
- Always wear a DOT-approved helmet and other safety gear while riding
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Wear bright colors while riding, especially at night
- Check your blindspot and stay out of others’ blindspots
If you ever cause or become a victim of a motorcycle accident, call Law Tigers at (888) 863-7216 for a free consultation. Law Tigers – motorcycle attorneys who ride – will refer you to a motorcycle attorney in your area.