Chicago Motorcycle Accident Lawyers urge long summer of safe riding

Summer is motorcycle season in Illinois and the motorcycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes urge riders and motorists to work together in preventing serious injury and wrongful death from motorcycle accidents.

Gov. Pat Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and motorcycle safety advocates have joined forces in urging the public to “start seeing motorcycles.”

In addition, IDOT is offering free courses for beginner and intermediate riders as it unveils new public service announcements to be aired on radio stations statewide from May to September.

“When you ride, be aware of your surroundings – others may not see you,” said Larry Kolling of the Gold Wing Road Rider’s Association. “Whenever there is a motor vehicle versus a motorcycle accident, most of the time the operator’s comment is ‘I did not see the bike.’ Look twice. Save a life.”

Drivers often misjudge the speed and distance of a motorcycle. The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes want motorists to remember a second look and a little patience can literally mean the difference between life and death for a biker – the vulnerability of motorcyclists means every accident is life threatening.

Illinois motorcycle fatalities declined slightly last year, from 157 to 135 — a trend authorities and safety advocates are committed to seeing continue.

“We are moving in the right direction with our traffic safety efforts; however, motorcycle fatalities remain a concern,” said Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken, noting the state will be deploying motorcycles to improve motorcycle awareness and safety.

“Our highly-skilled motorcycle enforcement officers will be deployed on interstates throughout the state with the mission of checking for proper license endorsements, speed limit enforcement, reducing fatalities and making other vehicle drivers more aware of motorcyclists.”

Monken said officers will also be enforcing “fatal five violations,” which include speeding, safety belts, improper lane usage, following too closely and driving under the influence.

“We anticipate that deployment of the motorcycle patrol unit will cut down the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit and will ultimately reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries,” said IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig.

In 2008, the state trained 15,954 riders in the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program, up from 14,917 in 2007. Classes are free to any Illinois resident 16 years of age or older. For more information on locations and schedules, click here.

The Illinois State Patrol offers the following safety tips:
-While Illinois law does not mandate wearing a helmet, use of approved helmets, protective body wear, boots and gloves is strongly recommended.

-Wear brightly colored clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night to improve visibility.

-Be alert for animals or other obstructions in the roadway.

-Don’t ride beyond 80 percent of your capabilities – to do so leaves no margin for error.

-When group riding, stagger your position from other motorcycles. This allows both riders to take evasive action should the need arise.

-Be aware of what’s ahead. Safe riders remain aware of developing situations 12 to 16 seconds ahead.

-Ride in the normal wheel tracks of vehicles. Grease, oil and fluids generally collect in the middle of the lane.

-In the event emergency braking is required, remember motorcycles have far better stopping capabilities than cars and trucks. 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 it is the first lane you cross.

-Don’t lend your motorcycle to someone without knowing his skill level and making sure they have the proper license.

-Don’t drink and ride.

If you or someone you love has been in a motorcycle accident, there are things you can do to help protect your rights. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Abels & Annes can be reached toll free at (866) 99-ABELS for a free consultation. There is no fee unless you win.

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