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Illinois Motorcycle Accident Statistics

Published on Feb 20, 2024 by Thomas Law Offices.

Illinois Motorcycle Accident Statistics


Many individuals would never consider getting on a motorcycle to ride up and down Chicago area roadways, interstates included, because of the inherent dangers it poses. However, according to the Illinois Secretary of State, there are at least 315,000 licensed motorcycles that have the potential to ride up and down Illinois roads daily. Given the sheer number of motorcyclists our state must have to operate those motorbikes, you probably are curious about Illinois motorcycle accident statistics. Read on where we’ll cover noteworthy data about these crashes.

Data Showing How Common Motorbike Crashes Are in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) previously published its 2017-2021 Illinois Crash Data Trends report. It details how, in the most recently reported year, 2021, there were 3,275 total motorcycle crashes. Comparatively speaking, there appears to have been an 8.7% increase in motorcycle crashes in our state between 2017 and 2021 over the previous 4-year period and a 9.5% increase in motorcycle wrecks in 2021 compared to 2020.

Of the 3,275 motorcycle-involved collisions that occurred in 2021, they were comprised of the following types:

  • Injury crashes: 2,381
  • Type “A” injury crashes: 849
  • Fatal crashes: 168

If you’re curious about the difference between a type A and a general injury accident, Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS), and more specifically 625 ILCS 5/11-501.6, explains. A type A accident results in “severely bleeding wounds, distorted extremities, and injuries that require the injured party to be carried from the scene.”

The Ages of Motorcyclist Victims

As for the ages of victims of motorcycle-involved accidents in 2021, those injured or killed spanned every demographic with the exception of 0–4-year-olds. The age group with the top three injury or fatality rates included the following (in rank order) with the number of affected individuals in parentheses after each: 21-34 (1,195), 45-59 (841), and 35-44 (639). As you might expect, the highest concentration of fatalities affected individuals from these same age groups as well.

Genders of Motorcycle Collision Victims in Illinois

At 3,025, the overwhelming majority of motorcycle accident victims in 2021 were males. Females were only estimated to account for 432 injury or fatality victims.

Interestingly, of those injured in these motorcycle collisions, the populations most affected (in rank order) were the following populations (at the following rates):

  • 21-34: 938
  • 45-59: 600
  • 35-44: 488
  • 60-74: 256

Incidence rates of type “A” injuries in 2021 in Illinois most affected individuals belonging to the 21-34 demographic (325 people), then 45–59-year-olds (221 affected), and last, ages 35-44 (189 people).

Counties Where Motorbike Wrecks Most Occur in Illinois

Of the different counties in Illinois, at least 33.3% of motorcyclist fatalities in 2021 happened in two Chicago-area counties. There were 47 motorbike rider fatalities in Cook County and 11 in Will County.

Roadway Types Where Crashes Involving Motorcycles Happen in Our State

Of the different types of roads where motorcycle accidents occurred in 2021, IDOT data shows that more than half (56.3%) of motorbike riders died on what the state agency describes as either principal arterials or minor arterial roadways.

Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Harmed in Accidents

Wearing a helmet when operating a motorcycle in Illinois is not mandatory, despite state and private agencies making concentrated efforts to warn our residents of the benefits of using them to reduce fatalities. Those same 2021 statistics show that, with respect to motorbike riders who died when their collisions occurred, at least 62.6% of operators or passengers weren’t wearing helmets when the crashes happened.

Those same statistics show that, of the 65 motorcyclists who were wearing helmets when their fatal crash occurred, at least 33.8% (which equates to 22 motorbike riders) belonged to the 21-34 age group. All were males.

It’s important to note that helmets aren’t the only option for protecting yourself on the road. We previously shared a listing of other safety tips to keep Chicago motorcyclists safe on our blog.

Are IL Motorbike Accidents Declining?

Data compiled by IDOT shows that when comparing 2017 to 2021 motorcycle accident data and then 2020 to 2021 motorbike crash statistics, there are the following notable trends regarding their operators or passengers and their involvement in collisions:

  • Total motorcycle-involved wrecks: There was a slight decrease from 3,626 in 2017 to 3,542 in 2021, with some notable drops below these levels in 2018, 2019, and 2020. However, there was a 6.9% increase in motorcycle collisions between 2020 and 2021.
  • Injury accidents: There was a minimal increase from 2,657 motorcyclists-involved collisions in 2017 compared to 2,664 in 2021. There were drops in 2018, 2019, and 2020. There was a 6.5% increase from 2020 to 2021. As far as bikers themselves, there was a 5.9% increase in crashes resulting in their injuries in 2021 compared to 2020. There was a 6.6% increase in motorcyclist injury rates in 2021 over 2020.
  • Type “A” injuries: These increased from 970 in 2017 to 991 in 2021, with similar drops in 2018, 2019, and 2020 (similar to overall injury cases described above). These more severe injuries marked a 5.7% increase in 2021 over 2020. In terms of motorcycle riders specifically, there was a 4.5% increase in bikers affected by these injuries in 2021 compared to 2020. There was a 6.9% increase in type “A” injuries affecting helmeted motorbike riders from one year to the next during this time frame.
  • Fatalities: There was a noteworthy uptick in motorcycle-involved accident deaths in 2017, when there were 174, and in 2021, when 199 occurred. Notable declines in fatalities occurred in 2018 and 2019. A comparison of 2020 and 2021 motorcyclist-involved fatality statistics shows deaths increased by 11.2% in just one year. In terms of motorbike riders specifically, death rates increased by 14.5% from 2020 to 2021, and there was a 30% increase among helmeted motorcyclists during that same period.

So, to answer the question as to how motorcycle-involved crashes and motorcyclist injuries and fatalities statistics are trending, it’s not in a good direction. While the Illinois motorcycle accident statistics we reviewed don’t show any astronomical increases, the incremental increases that have occurred are significant enough that the implementation of additional preventative measures is likely needed.

The Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers employed by our firm take pride in providing our fellow residents with high-quality legal representation in their time of need. So, reach out to Thomas Law Offices for a free consultation if a motorbike crash has left you with serious injuries or taken the life of a close family member. Our attorneys can let you know what options Illinois law allows you to pursue when someone else negligently harmed you.

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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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