Spring and summer bring long-awaited warmer temperatures in Illinois, and many motorcyclists will be taking advantage of the pleasant weather and spending more time on the road. While motorcycles provide a great sense of freedom, cyclists should be aware of the dangers that come with sharing the road with larger vehicles.
Without the safety features provided to the drivers and passengers of cars and trucks, motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured in auto accidents. In fact, even though only three percent of registered vehicles in the United States are motorcycles, motorcyclists account for 14% of all car accident fatalities, and motorcyclist fatalities occur 27 times more frequently than fatalities of drivers or passengers in other vehicles. In order to avoid being seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, cyclists should be sure to take the proper safety precautions.
Safety Tips for Motorcyclists
- Wear an approved helmet - While Illinois law does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets, riding without a helmet is incredibly risky. Cyclists are likely to experience head and neck injuries in a collision, and wearing a helmet reduces the risk of death by 37%. Be sure that your helmet meets the safety standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Wear reflective clothing - Most motorcycle accidents occur because drivers do not see motorcycles near their vehicle. Cyclists can help themselves be noticed by drivers by wearing highly-visible clothing.
- Follow the rules of the road - Motorcyclists must follow the same laws as other drivers, making sure to obey street signs and traffic signals. Cyclists cannot pass between two vehicles traveling in the same direction, and they may not pass a vehicle on the right unless there is at least eight feet of unobstructed room.
- Watch for road hazards - Cyclists should take extra care to avoid or account for potholes, road construction, puddles, road debris, railroad tracks, or any other conditions that may cause them to lose control of their motorcycle.
- Take extra care when riding with a passenger - The additional weight of another person on a motorcycle can affect handling, acceleration, and braking. Cyclists with passengers should be sure to take extra caution, especially when driving downhill, navigating corners, and passing other vehicles.
- Do not drink alcohol or use drugs before operating a motorcycle - Studies have shown that nearly 50% of cyclists killed in motorcycle accidents had alcohol in their system. Even if you are not above the legal blood alcohol limit of .08%, drinking any amount of alcohol can impair your ability to operate a motorcycle safely, so it is best to avoid drinking altogether before using your motorcycle.
Contact an Aurora Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Even when a cyclist follows all proper safety procedures, accidents are sometimes unavoidable. In many cases, collisions occur because drivers do not notice motorcycles around their vehicle. If you have been injured in an accident which occurred because of a driver’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your damages. Contact the skilled Kane County personal injury lawyers at Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C. to learn more about your options for pursuing compensation. Call 630-907-0909 to set up a free consultation.