In Illinois, all motorcycles are required to have headlamps illuminated at night just like headlights are on passenger vehicles. But for some reason, motorists often have trouble seeing the single headlamp and/or judging its oncoming speed during nighttime hours. And occasionally, this issue results in motorcycle accidents – many of which are deadly for the motorcyclists.
One such incident took place in Jefferson County about a mile south of Woodlawn on the evening of Friday, June 22. Shortly after 9:15pm, a pickup truck was traveling east on Illinois Route 15 and tried to turn left into a gas station parking lot just before Woodlawn Road. But the truck turned in front of a motorcycle that was westbound on Illinois 15, and the bike slammed into the pickup. Both of the riders were ejected and pronounced dead at the scene: the 52-year old male driver from Vandalia and a 49-year old female passenger from Mount Vernon.
The motorcycle accident is still under investigation. But from the information given, it’s likely that the pickup truck driver, a 41-year old man from Woodlawn, will be deemed mostly or fully liable for the collision and the deaths of the motorcyclists. In this case, the surviving family members of both victims could choose to file wrongful death lawsuits against the Woodlawn man. These suits could allow the plaintiffs to collect reimbursement for burial expenses, monetary damages for pain and suffering and/or loss of care and companionship, and estimated future wages that the Vandalia man and the Mount Vernon woman would have earned in their lifetimes had the crash never occurred.
Even though you may find it difficult to judge the speed of an oncoming motorcycle, it is still your responsibility to yield the right of way before you try to turn left in front of it.