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Bikers' helmet choice unrelated to Illinois accident negligence

Several states forbid motorcyclists to ride without helmets. Some states permit adult riders to go helmet free while imposing rules upon young, inexperienced motorcyclists. Illinois is among three states that do not require motorcyclists of any age to wear helmets.

A Harley Davidson rider recently died in a motorcycle accident on U.S. Route 14 about 50 miles north of Chicago. The 54-year-old man was headed home from South Dakota on a late Sunday afternoon after visiting the nationally-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

The Harley Davidson was passing through a Woodstock intersection at the same time as a Chrysler minivan. The vehicles collided when the van driver was executing a turn. Authorities said neither driver had the right of way. Both vehicles ran the red light.

The bike rider did not survive. The van driver was hospitalized, treated, released and cited for failure to yield. Authorities ruled out weather as a factor. Woodstock police said the accident remains under investigation.

Transportation officials reported 148 motorcycle fatalities last year in Illinois. The majority of victims who died were not wearing helmets. Helmets are encouraged by safety advocates, but the choice to wear head gear in Illinois stays with the motorcyclist.

Safety experts and lawmakers in many states believe motorcyclists take unnecessary risks by not using helmets. Motorcyclists are as capable as other motorists of negligent behavior, but riding without a helmet does not qualify as a negligent act.

A negligent person fails to live up to a "standard of care" toward a fellow human being. Standards are based upon how most people in a community would respond under the same circumstances.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney. Your attorney will protect your rights and work diligently to get you the financial compensation you deserve for such civil claims as pain and suffering, medical bills, emotional distress and other damages.

Source:, "Arlington Heights Park District employee dies in Woodstock motorcycle crash" Elizabeth Owens-Schiele, Aug. 12, 2013

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