Kane County has seen too many motorcycle deaths in recent weeks, and public-safety officials throughout Kane County want it to stop.
Since July 2, Kane County police departments, the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and the Kane County Coroner’s Office have responded — variously or together — to seven fatal motorcycle accidents. One was in DuPage County, reported by the Aurora Police Department; the rest were in Kane County borders.
Why so many? Is Kane County seeing more motorcycle fatalities than in other years?
Kane County Sheriff’s Office Director of Administration Pat Gengler and the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team say it is.
“From what I can gather, this is a unusual number of motorcycle fatalities,” Gengler said. “I don’t have a comparison number, but in talking to Kane County Sheriff’s Lt. Craig Campbell, who heads KCART, he is sure this is a fatality rate that we haven’t seen for a long time.”
Fatal crashes took place in all areas of the county and took the lives of drivers throughout the area. They include:
- Susan Desensi, 54, of Bartlett was killed a little before 11:44 a.m. Saturday, July 2, in a crash on IL Route 20 near the intersection of Highland Woods Boulevard. Desensi had been a passenger on a 2006 Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven by a 56-year-old man who swerved to avoid a 2006 Honda Accord.
- Jordan Hale, 25, of St. Charles was killed July 8 when his motorcycle crashed into a flatbed truck on IL Route 25 in Elgin.
- Juan J. Ortega of the 1700 block of Ivy Lane, Montgomery died from massive head injuries he sustained in the crash at around 2:40 p.m. July 10 at Farnsworth Avenue and Corporate Boulevard.
- A 45-year-old man was killed Sunday, July 17, 2016, after his motorcycle stuck a curb, then a utility pole in the area of Center Street and Dexter Avenue in Elgin.
- Pawel Czop, 31, of Schaumburg was killed on Sunday, July 31, after being thrown from his motorcycle in a collision on Jericho Road near the intersection of McCannon Road in unincorporated Sugar Grove Township.
- Retherford-Speer , 20, of Oswego was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car at around 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, at the intersection of Main Street and Randall Road in Batavia.
- Dale P. Slaughter, 61, of Aurora was killed after his motorcycle crashed at around 4:36 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10. According to witnesses, Slaughter was traveling west on Fabyan Parkway approaching the intersection of Settlers Hill Golf Course when he failed to stop at the intersection and struck a pickup truck exiting Settlers Hill Golf Course onto Fabyan Parkway.
Gengler emphasizes that all of the crashes are still under investigation, but there are some general observations and takeaways.
Several of the crashes had what Gengler calls “the same mechanics” as many other serious-injury and fatal vehicle crashes: increased speed, attempting to pass in no-passing zones, failure to yield when turning and failure to stop at a stop signal. From the sounds of it, these people might need someone similar to motorcycle accident attorney mcallen tx.
In a few of the cases, motorcyclists were not wearing helmets.
“Helmets are vitally important for motorcycle riders, just as seat belts are important for vehicle occupants,” Gengler said. “Both are designed to help reduce injuries should a crash occur.”
Gengler said KCART is also concerned that some motorcyclists are not getting enough proper training or experience — and that some inexperienced motorcyclists are choosing brawny machines that might be beyond their ability to control.
“Experience is important when it comes to motorcycle operators,” Gengler said. “Just having the knowledge and experience of operating a motorcycle can make a big difference in crash avoidance or injury prevention. Someone who has little or no experience operating a motorcycle should not be operating one of the high speed sports bikes.” Something else that is important to consider like experience is the fact that a number of riders are not taking it as seriously as others when it comes to wearing the right gear while on the road. Sites like Identoo will advice you on the importance of all the essentials necessary that you will need to consider for the road. There are so many things that everyone needs to think about before hitting the road, in order to prevent any incident.
Gengler said many people might not realize that motorcycles have a reduced sight line compared to cars. That can add to the statistical probably of accidents. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, after many car-motorcycle crashes, drivers claimed they “did not see” the motorcycle, or did not see it until it was too late.
Finally, motorcycle crashes end more often in fatalities simply because motorcycles are not designed to withstand crashes.
“If you look at how cars are designed, a lot of what is behind the metal is support to protect occupants in crashes,” Gengler said. “Motorcycles simply do not have this. When they are in a crash, it’s usually a lot worse than the car.”
Kane County Coroner Rob Russell says car and truck drivers need to be aware of motorcycle safety, as well, and his office is reaching out to area organizations to promote driving safety and reduce the number of fatalities.
“One thing is for certain: This problem has shared responsibility with both riders and distracted motorists,” he said. “The solution lies with both sides of the equation.”
Links for Motorcycle Safety
- UPDATE: Police Report Area’s 3rd Fatal Motorcycle Crash Since July 2
- 25-Year-Old St. Charles Man Dies in Elgin’s 2nd Fatal Motorcycle Crash in 6 Days
- UPDATE: Fatal Motorcycle Crash Tuesday on Sequoia Drive in Aurora
- Motorcycle Safety Reminders in Wake of 3 July Fatalities
- Sunday Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Elgin Is Area’s Fourth in 15 Days
- Schaumburg Man Dies in Fifth Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Month of July
- County Sees Sixth Fatal Motorcycle Crash Since July 2
- UPDATE: Police ID Driver in Aug. 10 Fatal Motorcycle Accident on Fabyan Parkway