“Start Seeing Motorcycles”
The warmer weather of spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. In addition to barbecues and baseball, this means that motorcycles are back on the road. In recent years, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has come up with a new campaign to reduce the rate of motorcycle accidents in Illinois. According to IDOT, 118 people died due to motorcycle accidents last year. Even though motorcycles only make up 3% of registered vehicles in the state of Illinois, they account for 15% of deaths. Considering the fact that motorcycles are out on the road only about 2/3 of the year, that number is even more staggering.
Signs and banners with the campaign slogan, “Start Seeing Motorcycles” will be put on display all over the state of Illinois. They are being used to help spread awareness about motorcycle riders and encourage other vehicles on the road to consciously share the road with these riders. This is especially true in urban areas where most of the motorcycle accidents occur.
Be a Safe Rider This Summer
One death is one too many. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle deaths are 5 times greater than deaths from other kinds of vehicles. This is why the State of Illinois has restarted its “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign. Along with advocating motorcycle awareness on the road, it also urges motorcycle riders to wear high visibility clothing and safety equipment that makes them stand out. Over the last 4 years, nearly 12,000 yard signs have been distributed across the state.
Cycle Rider Safety Program
IDOT offers free motorcycle classes through the Cycle Rider Safety Program. This program has served over 400,000 riders since 1976. Motorcycle safety is taught through work in the classroom and riding courses.
Motorcycles are vulnerable, so safety strategies need to be taught to prevent riders from putting themselves or others in a fatal situation. Illinois’ Cycle Rider Safety Program has nearly 500 instructors who were trained by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. IDOT offers the program through Harper College in Schaumberg, NIU in DeKalb, the University of Illinois at Champaign, and SIU in Carbondale.
Protective Gear and Safety Habits for Motorcycles
Motorcyclists and their passengers can help to improve their safety by wearing clothing that is protective and highly visible, such as:
- Reflector vests
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Pants and jackets made from heavy material
- Eye goggles
A small 31% of motorcyclists reported wearing safety equipment, according data from IDOT. The data also showed that about 75% of the motorcycle riders that were killed were not wearing helmets.
Motorcycle riders can also make themselves more visible to traffic by flashing their break lights 2 or 3 times before they slow down or stop. Stay out of a car’s blind spot when passing or nearing an intersection.
The motorcycle program also advises that riders give themselves plenty of space between vehicles. You should increase the space during bad weather to give you more time to stop. Other motorists can help reduce motorcycle deaths by keeping their attention fixed on the road and
carefully checking mirrors and blind spots before attempting to change lanes or merge into a traffic lane.