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Study: Fail to yield often cited in motorcycle accidents

Written by Ankin Law Office

Lack of courtesy leads to motorcycle accident in Chicago

Motorcycles are often a common sight on the streets of Chicago as they have increased in popularity. However, at the same time, a motorcycle accident in Chicago seems to be occurring almost every other day. In many cases, investigations show that the accident was caused by a lack of driver courtesy.

A fatal motorcycle crash

A 24-year-old Rock Island, Illinois motorcyclist was recently killed when the driver of a car failed to yield to the cyclist while making a left hand turn. According to WQAD, the motorcyclist was westbound in the 2800 block of West Locust Street when a 61-year-old motorist, who was headed eastbound on the same road, turned into the biker’s path causing him to collide with the car’s passenger side door. The motorcyclist was taken to a hospital, but later died from his extensive injuries. The driver of the vehicle, who sustained minor injuries, is currently facing charges for homicide by vehicle, failure to yield left turn, DUI, and no insurance.

Failure to yield study

A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that most crashes that occur between a motorcycle and motor vehicle involve the motorist’s failure to yield the right of way to the biker. The study, titled “Fatal Two-Vehicle Motorcycle Crashes,” aimed to determine why such a high proportion of motorcycle fatalities arise from two-vehicle crashes and the factors involved in these kinds of accidents. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, researchers analyzed the data trends for vehicle, crash characteristics, and driver/operator role.

Researchers found that over 85 percent of motorcyclists that were killed in two-vehicle crashes involved passenger vehicles. Of these fatalities, 90 percent were the bikers, 8 percent were motorcycle passengers, and 2 percent were passenger vehicle occupants. The research also showed that in 75 percent of cases, the motorcycle was the one who struck the vehicle. Additionally, 35 percent of passenger vehicle drivers involved in two-vehicle motorcycle crashes failed to yield right of way, while only 4 percent of motorcyclists showed a failure to yield to other vehicles.

Localized studies corroborate results

Researchers at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research analyzed 10 years of Florida motorcycle crash data in a recent study. Results show that 60 percent of motorists are at fault when they are involved in accidents with motorcyclists. Drivers of passenger vehicles, the study shows, often fail to yield to motorcyclists while making left hand turns.


Researchers from both studies indicate that awareness is key in preventing these accidents. They urge motorists to look twice for motorcycles before pulling out into traffic to ensure that accidents don’t occur. Motorcyclists can also take steps to help protect themselves. Wearing bright colors or reflective clothing can help motorcyclists increase their visibility. They can also help reduce their chances of sustaining serious injury by wearing a helmet.

Categories: Auto Accidents