The cold weather, it seems, is finally behind us. This year’s winter defied the calendar and hung on well into the spring season, but temperatures are rising, and people throughout Northern Illinois are heading outdoors. Springtime also marks the beginning of another riding season for motorcycle owners throughout the region. As riders get their motorcycles out of storage and back on the roads, safety advocates and even government officials are encouraging riders and other drivers to work together to keep the streets and highways safe.
Official Awareness Campaign
In honor of May as Motorcycle Awareness Month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner joined representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) this week to announce the start of the annual “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign. During the kickoff event, Rauner shared a story about a personal friend of his who was recently injured while riding. “A pickup truck didn’t see him,” the governor said. “He’s still in the hospital today.”
Across Illinois, motorcycles represent just 3 percent of registered vehicles, but they are involved in 15 percent of all Illinois roadway fatalities. In 2017, the state saw 1,097 traffic deaths, and 162 were motorcycle riders—a 5 percent increase over 2016.
Rauner emphasized the campaign’s goal of reminding drivers to share the road safely with motorcycles. “We all have a part to play when it comes to keeping our roads safe,” he said. He also said that IDOT and other safety officials are asking drivers to keep their attention on the road and to check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes. Due to the size difference between motorcycles and other vehicles, motorcycles can be very difficult to see at times, but an extra look by drivers can make a world of difference.
Those who ride also share in the responsibility for keeping roads safer. IDOT encourages riders to wear bright clothing and appropriate protective gear when riding to increase visibility and to mitigate potential injuries. Riders should also ensure that their motorcycles receive regular maintenance checks.
Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn echoed the governor’s sentiments. “The number of fatalities and injuries involving motorcycles is heading in the wrong direction,” he said. Blankenhorn said that by remaining “alert and extra vigilant,” drivers and riders can help reverse the current trends.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcycle accident can be absolutely devastating. A crash that might be a minor fender-bender for a car or truck could be deadly for a motorcycle rider. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a motorcycle, an experienced Wheaton personal injury attorney can help you explore your available options. Call 630-462-1980 to schedule your free initial consultation at Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered today.