SPRINGFIELD IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Jonathon E. Monken was joined today at the Illinois State Fair by Mr. Mike Stout of the Illinois Department of Transportation, and Mr. Randy Milligan of State Farm Insurance Company to announce efforts to increase motorcycle safety awareness. The ISP also unveiled a wrecked motorcycle display donated by State Farm Insurance Company which calls attention to motorcycle safety.
“The Illinois State Police continues its commitment towards reducing traffic fatalities to record setting levels through enforcement and education efforts,” said ISP Director Jonathon Monken. “Tragically, however, one area that is quickly on the rise nationally is motorcycle fatalities. We hope by partnering with State Farm and the Illinois Department of Transportation in order to call attention to the nationwide increase in motorcycle fatalities, we will also emphasize motorcycle safety awareness.”
"We are fortunate to have formed a great partnership with the Illinois State Police over the past few years through the Seatbelt Convincer and other initiatives," said State Farm Claim Team Manager Randy Milligan. "Providing this motorcycle display is just one more way that we can support their efforts in reducing traffic fatalities across the state."
The overall number of traffic fatalities in Illinois dropped from 1,248 in 2007 to 1,043 in 2008. Motorcycle fatalities decreased from 157 in 2007 to 135 in 2008.
“Motorcycle safety is a top priority and we want to remind everyone that whether driving or riding, everyone on our streets is responsible for ensuring that all our travels are safe travels,” said IDOT Traffic Safety Director Mike Stout. “Cars play an important role in the safety of those on motorcycles, so when drivers are behind the wheel of a car or truck, they need to be aware of motorcycles and remember to share the road.”
The ISP encourages motorcyclists to take a rider safety course to hone their riding skills and refresh their crash avoidance knowledge, and offers the following safety tips for new riders all the way up to seasoned veterans:
- Although Illinois does not mandate wearing a motorcycle helmet, use of approved helmets, protective body wear, boots and gloves is strongly recommended.
- Improve your visibility by wearing brightly colored clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.
- Be alert for animals alongside and on the roadway, not only in rural areas, but in urban areas as well.
- Don’t ride beyond 80% of your riding capabilities. To do so leaves no margin for the unexpected.
- When riding with another motorcycle, stagger your position. This allows both riders to take evasive action safely should the need occur.
- Don’t become fixed on what’s just beyond your front tire. Be aware of what’s ahead. Safe riders remain aware of developing situations 12-16 seconds ahead. This includes other vehicles, potholes, roadway obstructions, and other potential hazards. This allows time to plan and react in a controlled manner.
- Oil, grease and other fluids from cars and trucks generally collects in the middle of the lane. Avoid these potentially slick areas by riding in the normal wheel tracks of these vehicles.
- In the event emergency braking is required, remember motorcycles have far better stopping capabilities than cars and trucks. As you’re avoiding the hazard, scan for a safe escape route while watching for vehicles approaching from behind.
- Before proceeding through an intersection, check left, check front, check right, and check left again. Checking left first is important because this is the first lane you cross. Continue to scan in the intersection in a clockwise pattern, checking traffic approaching in front, in case that vehicle turns left in front of you. 77% of motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle happen in this manner.
- Don’t lend your motorcycle to someone without knowing his or her skill level and making sure they have the proper license.
- Don’t drink and ride. Alcohol slows reactions and impairs function.
To sign up for and find out more about IDOT’s Cycle Rider Safety Training Program go to www.dot.state.il.us.