Everyone who enjoys riding a motorcycle has heard the warning: Summer, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, is the most dangerous time of the year for motorcyclists. Crashes are often up, fatalities generally rise and injuries can result in long-lasting harm.
All of that is correct, but it’s easy for riders to tune out such general alerts. To help put things in perspective, we pulled three surprising tidbits from the 2018 Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics report that better tell the story.
1. Motorcycle crashes are often quite serious
Motorcycle crashes made up fewer than 1% of all crashes in Illinois in 2018, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) report. Yet these wrecks accounted for significantly higher percentages of fatal and injury incidents.
According to IDOT, crashes that involved a motorcycle made up 12.1% of all fatal traffic crashes that year, and accounted for 3.1% of all crashes that resulted in an injury.
2. Most motorcycles were just going straight
In each wreck involving at least one motorcycle, IDOT records what the vehicle was doing when the crash occurred. More than half of the 3,057 motorcycles involved in crashes in 2018 were simply going straight.
Here is the full breakdown:
- Going straight ahead – 1,638 motorcycles
- Passing or overtaking – 106
- Making a left turn – 149
- Making a right turn – 93
- Moving slowly or stopped in traffic – 211
- Skidding or had lost control – 304
- Changing lanes – 60
- Other – 362
- Parked – 134
3. There is a real risk of a life-changing injury
IDOT specifically tracks traffic crashes that result in an incapacitating injury. That means, after the wreck, an injured victim was no longer able to walk, drive or continue normal life activities that had been possible prior to the incident. Examples include broken limbs, head or chest injuries, severe lacerations and more.
In 2018, 2,266 motorcyclists suffered an injury as a result of a crash. Nearly 36% of those injuries (811) were catastrophic. The individual’s life was significantly restricted afterward.
Incapacitating injuries are also expensive. IDOT estimated the total cost of such harm to be just over $100,000. That includes bills related to the crash, plus lost wages due to the injury.