There are approximately 340,000 motorcycles registered in the great state of Illinois and many will be hitting the roads for the first time since last fall in the next few months. Not many riders are out during the winter months.
In fact, in 2010 there was not one fatal crash December through February and only 7 total in November and March. As owners pull out their bikes and get ready for that first ride of the season, it is a good time to look at the dangers out on the road and prepare for a safe riding summer.
Illinois Motorcycle Crash Statistics
The good news on motorcycle riding in Illinois is that even though motorcycle riders seem to be growing in number, the amount of injuries and fatalities are not. The amount of registered motorcycles increased 73% from 1999 to 2010 in Illinois, adding almost 150,000 more motorcycles onto to the road in a little more than a decade.
However, there are still plenty of crashes that involve motorcycles and unfortunately, fatalities as well. The Department of Transportation statistics on traffic crashes between 2007-2011 can shed some light on when these crashes happen and to whom.
- Lowest accident rate in five years. 2011 had the fewest Illinois motorcycle accidents in many years. There were 3,756, down 14.5% over the past 4-year average of 4,395
- 145 Fatalities. In 2011, there were 145 fatalities, up 5.1% over the previous 4-year average of 138
- More crashes going straight. As unlikely as it seems, by far the largest amount of motorcycle accidents happen when the motorcycle is going straight. Over 2,000 of the accidents in the last five years were going straight at the time of the crash
- Older riders in more crashes. In both injury and fatalities, the largest age group is 35 and older. 61% of all injury accidents and 66% of fatalities in 2011 were in this age group
Spring Motorcycle Maintenance
Part of starting a safe summer on the road is ensuring your motorcycle is maintained properly. After sitting all winter, your bike will need to get a little TLC before you hit the road. Before any major ride, an inspection is always a good idea to make sure everything is in working order.
- Check the brake system. Check all light indicators to ensure your brake lights are all working. Make sure both the front and rear brakes are working properly by testing each individually.
- Air up the tires. If your bike has been sitting all winter, the tires will need to be aired up. Check the tread and make sure they are not worn.
- Check fluid levels and for leaks. Make sure you have enough oil and water and that no seals have started to leak. Nothing will ruin a bike trip quicker than being stranded on the side of the road!
- Oil chain and cables. Lubrication is essential for safe riding.
- Do a once over. Check all working parts, clutch, throttle, mirrors, turn signals and even the horn to make sure you are ready to ride!
Motorcycle riding is a great way to get out and see the beautiful country in the Midwest. By preparing both the bike and yourself to ride safely, you can help Illinois continue to lower the amount of motorcycle accidents each year and keep yourself crash free.