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Illinois motorcyclists' road rights are equal to other drivers

Fenders benders can be little wake up calls. A low impact, non-injury crash reminds Illinois drivers that the outcome could have been a lot worse. A little accident sometimes helps drivers curb unsafe or sloppy driving practices.

Motorcycle accidents in Naperville and Joliet often aren't fender benders because bike riders are highly vulnerable to damage compared to drivers in cars and trucks. Motorcyclists suffer life-threatening injuries or die during traffic collisions due to direct exposure to the elements and surrounding large, fast, heavy vehicles.

A popular pastor in central Illinois lost his life recently when a teen driver turned in front of the reverend's motorcycle. The motorcycle struck the front of the 19-year-old woman's car. The unhelmeted clergyman was pronounced dead about an hour after the rider was rushed to a hospital with traumatic injuries to his extremities, body and head.

Police have not established whether the teen failed to notice the bike rider or misjudged the motorcycle's distance and speed before turning. Authorities ruled out intoxication and speeding. Investigators confiscated the teen's cellphone to determine whether the accident was caused by an inattentive driver.

The recent fatal accident on U.S. 36 in Decatur was not unlike other crashes involving motorcycles. Car drivers often dismiss the presence of operators of smaller, street-legal vehicles. It doesn't matter how other drivers feel about bikers - motorcyclists have the right to share the road.

Drivers have an obligation to treat motorcyclists with as much consideration as any other vehicle operator. Drivers who break the rules of the road face criminal prosecution, severe penalties and civil lawsuits.

The spouse, parent or child of an accident victim may request damages in a wrongful death claim. The outcome of the case is dependent upon the plaintiffs' ability to prove a victim sustained harm due to a defendant's purposeful or unintentional negligence.

Source: herald-review.com, "Motorcycle accident kills B.G. Nevitt, senior pastor of gtChurch" Huey Freeman, Aug. 18, 2013

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