The Impact of Poorly Maintained Roads on Motorcycle Accidents in Illinois

Motorcycle riding offers a sense of freedom and adventure, but it also comes with significant risks. One critical, yet often overlooked, issue is the impact of poorly maintained roads on motorcycle accidents. In Illinois, the state of road maintenance has become a pressing concern for motorcyclists, leading to numerous accidents, injuries, and fatalities. This blog delves into the impact of inadequate or improper road upkeep on motorcycle safety, and how it can lead to serious motorcycle accidents.

The State of Roads in Illinois

Illinois is known for its diverse terrain and extensive road network, which includes urban streets, rural highways, and scenic byways. However, many of these roads suffer from neglect, resulting in hazardous conditions for motorists, particularly those on two wheels. Potholes, cracks, uneven surfaces, and debris are common issues that motorcyclists face on a daily basis.

A 2022 report by TRIP, a national transportation research group, highlighted that 32% of major roads in Illinois are in poor condition and 24% are in mediocre condition. This deteriorating infrastructure poses significant dangers to all drivers, but can be especially perilous for motorcyclists, who are more vulnerable to road surface irregularities.

Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents in Illinois

Motorcycle accidents are a significant concern in Illinois. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), there were 3,070 motorcycle crashes in 2020, resulting in 1,909 injuries and 152 fatalities. While not all these accidents can be attributed to road conditions, poorly maintained roads play a considerable role in many incidents. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that road conditions were a contributing factor in 20% of all motorcycle accidents nationwide.

The Dangers of Poor Road Conditions for Motorcyclists

Motorcycles are inherently less stable than four-wheeled vehicles, making them more susceptible to road hazards. Here are some specific ways in which poorly maintained roads contribute to motorcycle accidents:

  1. Potholes: Potholes are a significant hazard for motorcyclists. Hitting a pothole can cause a rider to lose control, leading to crashes. In severe cases, potholes can cause immediate tire blowouts, resulting in catastrophic accidents.
  2. Uneven Surfaces: Roads that are uneven or have sudden height changes can destabilize motorcycles. This is especially dangerous at high speeds, where even a small bump can cause a rider to lose control.
  3. Debris and Loose Gravel: Debris on the road, such as loose gravel, leaves, or litter, can cause motorcycles to skid. Unlike cars, motorcycles lack the stability to handle such obstacles safely.
  4. Cracks and Ruts: Cracks and ruts in the pavement can catch motorcycle tires, causing riders to lose balance. These hazards are particularly dangerous when they run parallel to the direction of travel.

Efforts to Improve Road Safety

Recognizing the critical need for improved road conditions, various initiatives have been launched in Illinois to address this issue. The Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, initiated in 2019, aims to invest $45 billion over six years to repair and upgrade the state’s infrastructure. This program includes significant funding for road maintenance and improvements, which should benefit motorcyclists and other road users.

Additionally, motorcyclist advocacy groups such as ABATE (A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education) of Illinois are actively lobbying for better road conditions. These organizations work to raise awareness of the dangers posed by poorly maintained roads and advocate for increased funding and legislative action to address these issues.

Poorly maintained roads in Illinois pose a serious threat to motorcyclists, contributing to numerous accidents, injuries, and fatalities each year. With significant portions of the state’s road network in poor or mediocre condition, it is imperative to prioritize infrastructure maintenance and improvements. Efforts like the Rebuild Illinois program and advocacy by motorcyclist groups are crucial steps towards enhancing road safety. By addressing these challenges, Illinois can help ensure that motorcyclists can enjoy the open road with greater security and peace of mind.

Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be scary and dangerous, especially if the accident was the result of a poorly maintained road. Serious injuries can result and the costs of treating those injuries can easily add up. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Illinois personal injury attorneys at John J. Malm & Associates to learn more about how you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.


IMG_7305-234x300About the Author: Rachel Legorreta is an associate with the law firm of John J. Malm & Associates, where she focuses her practice on personal injury litigation. She graduated magna cum laude from Northern Illinois University College of Law and is the immediate past Editor-in-Chief of the DCBA Brief.

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