The month of May is National Motorcycle safety awareness month across the United States. Motorcycles represent 3 percent of total vehicle registrations, yet motorcycle fatalities accounted for 16 percent of all vehicle fatalities last year. Statistics show about half of motorcycle rider deaths occur in crashes involving only the motorcycle, and approximately 40 percent of those motorcycle operators with fatal injuries had alcohol in their system. Additionally, approximately 3/4 of fatal motorcycle crashes involve the rider contributing to the cause of the crash, and ultimately to his or her own death.
Motorcycle riders are especially vulnerable since they have limited protection, and can be seriously injured during a traffic crash at any speed. Due to this increased vulnerability nearly 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. That figure decreases to 20 percent for car crashes. In 2017 over 100 motorcyclists died as a result of a crash in the state of Illinois, and over 1,500 motorcyclists were injured as a result of a crash.
Motorcycle riders face several challenges such as size and visibility. Motorcyclists on the roadways should always wear the appropriate protective gear, have regular maintenance performed on their motorcycles, and take advantage of safety courses. Motorcyclist must be especially proactive about driving and maintaining their bikes in the safest manner.
The State Police offers the following safety tips for motorcycle riders:
1) Don’t ride beyond your capabilities. To do so leaves no margin for the unexpected.
2) We strongly recommend wearing DOT approved helmets as well as protective body wear, such as boots, gloves, and highly visible clothing.
3) Remember that alcohol and motorcycle riding do not mix.
4) Be conscious of what’s ahead. Look for other vehicles, potholes, roadway obstructions, wet roads, and other potential hazards.
5) Also consider your riding skills may have diminished over the winter break. Riders should consider taking formal rider training. In addition to the excellent training offered through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) in venues throughout the state, riders should consider advanced rider training as well.
6) Keep up with the recommended maintenance on your motorcycle.
7) Position your motorcycle in areas to increase your visibility.
8) Obey all traffic laws, especially those relating to speed and proper lane usage.
The Illinois State Police will continue its enforcement efforts and safety education initiatives to help ensure motorcycle operators are properly trained and our roads are as safe as possible. We ask motorcycle operators to remain focused and alert, and take the necessary precautions to be as safe as possible.
For additional information on the ISP’s motorcycle safety program, laws and regulations, statistics, training, and additional educational materials, please visit the following website: www.startseeingmotorcycles.org.