Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month, joining the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police, and motorcycle safety advocates to remind all users of the road to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.”
The “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign coincides with the time of year when more motorcyclists are on the roads. With thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year, motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities. Lawyers at the Chicago trial law firm of Smith LaCien LLP note that despite all the warnings and good intentions, crashes with injuries and deaths still occur.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycles represent 3 percent of total vehicle registrations in Illinois, but in 2022, they accounted for more than 11 percent of traffic fatalities. Motorcyclist deaths occurred 28 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“While motorcyclists are a statistically smaller portion of total roadway users, they represent a disproportionately higher number of fatalities on Illinois roadways,” said ISP Division of Patrol Col. Margaret McGreal.
Safety Tips for Drivers, Riders
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recommends these safety steps for drivers and motorcyclists.
A motorcycle can easily be hidden behind other vehicles. Drivers should look twice before changing lanes or merging into traffic and remember that traffic, weather, and road conditions require drivers and motorcyclists to react and maneuver differently.
Sharing the road with organized motorcycle groups requires patience and communication. If a driver needs to change lanes or reach an exit, they should signal their intention and wait for the motorcycle riders to create a space. Do not merge in between groups or riders unless there is enough space to do so safely.
Motorcyclists should wear IDOT-compliant gear, such as over-the-ankle boots, gloves, protective jackets, pants, and properly fitted helmets with face shields or protective eyewear. And, they should ride with their headlight on at all times (it’s the law in Illinois), give themselves space and time to react, and ride or drive sober.
What To Do After an Accident
If you are in an accident, first check yourself and others for injuries. Call 911 and report the accident to the police. Gather evidence at the scene including photos, driver’s licenses, insurance information and vehicle information. Consider getting medical attention, even if you believe you are not hurt.
Finally, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. The Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys at Smith LaCien LLP can answer your questions or conduct an independent investigation. We handle cases on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid anything unless we win. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at (312) 509-8900 or contact us using our online form.