The United States Department of Transportation recently reported a 2 percent drop in motorcycle deaths. The country experienced 80 fewer motorcycle fatalities from January through September of 2010 as the same time period the year before, according to The New York Times.
Typically this wouldn't be cause for celebration. However, motorcycle accidents had been on the rise for more than a decade, despite a steady decline in the overall number of traffic accidents nationwide.
Our Chicago car accident lawyers remind motorists that spring is the most dangerous time of the year for Illinois motorcycle accidents. While officials are cautiously optimistic regarding the decrease, many do not expect it to last. As conditions in our state improve along with the nation's economy, officials worry that the risks of a motorcycle accident in Illinois will increase as well.
"The drop is all in the front half of the year," said report author Jim Hedlund, a safety consultant. "It looks very much as if we've hit bottom and may be starting back up again."
More than 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were an additional 96,000 motorcyclists injured in the same year. Illinois saw more than 120 fatalities in 2009.
“Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable of highway users, and we want to work together to promote motorcycle safety and help protect all of the motoring public,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.
As we recently discussed on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, a campaign was launched in Illinois to address the number of accidents that involve fault on the part of the rider. The "Gear Up" campaign kicked off statewide in effort to encourage riders receive the proper motorcycle riding training and to wear proper equipment while biking. The Illinois Department of Transportation, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association and a Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) were the organizations behind the campaign.
The Illinois Department of Transportation offers these motorcycle safety tips to help our riders stay safe on our roadways:
-Drive to survive. As the smallest vehicles on our roadways, a motorist is not offered much physical protection in the event of an accident. Drivers are asked to pay close attention to signals, other vehicles and brake lights. Always practice defensive driving and be extra cautious of the movement of other vehicles.
-Never ride between lanes, share a lane with another vehicle or drive aggressively.
-As motorcycles accelerate faster than other vehicles, it is important for you to keep a close eye on your speed.
-Wear protective gear. Motorcycle riders should often wear a helmet, a jacket, gloves and boots to protect themselves from debris, unpleasant weather conditions or an accident.
-Be aware of no-zones. As all vehicles have blind spots, be sure to steer clear of these areas. If you can't see the driver the driver can't see you.