From Winter Blues to Springtime Cruises: Why Motorcyclists Need to Gear Up and Ride Smart on the Roads

Springtime and Threats it Can CauseIllinois Offers Refresher Cyclist Courses After the Long Winter Months

With the renewed morning sunshine and absence of snow piles, motorcyclists are taking advantage of their newfound freedom. The spring months always attract an influx of motorcycle riders out onto the roads and highways of Illinois. Even though motorcyclists may understandably feel excited and thrilled to hit the roads after a long winter, it is important that they perform proper maintenance checks and refresh their skills if necessary. In a recent article published by the Northwest Herald, Project Coordinator Scott Has stated that spring is often the most dangerous for cyclists to get back on the roads. He was quoted in saying that in 2012 cyclists hit the road and “there was a spike in final crashes.” Some of these accidents are caused by motorcyclists who forget operational tips, while other accidents are caused by drivers taken aback by cyclists on the road.

Increased Measures to Decrease Driver Fatalities

To combat motorcycle fatalities (see more here), the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association will be partnering to start a “Gear Up-Ride Smart” campaign. The campaign will provide free training classes aimed at helping cyclists brush up on their knowledge of driving laws, operation of motorcycles and safety tips. The majority of motorcycle crashes occur due to intoxicated driving. The IDOT reported that 40 percent of all motorcycle crashes occurring in 2013 resulted from intoxicated cyclists. There were a total of 155 motorcycle fatalities in 2013.

Motorcycle drivers should be aware of their alcohol consumption and avoid driving on the road after drinking. Even one or two drinks can diminish the visual and mental faculties of a driver. Even if a motorcycle rider thinks he or she will be “fine” on the road after a drink or two, it is important to consider how other Illinois car drivers may react to the sight of a motorcycle on the road in springtime. Many Illinois car drivers have not dealt with motorcycles on the road in the past snowy winter months, so they may also not adequately judge stopping or braking times when driving behind motorcyclists. Motorcycle drivers need to keep this in mind and avoid drinking while riding at all costs.

Avoiding Surprise with Other Drivers on the Road

Motorcycle drivers can remember a few tips in order to share the road with other car drivers. Even though two-thirds of all car-motorcycle crashes are caused by car drivers, cyclists should still drive on the defensive and try to minimize the risk of accidents as much as possible. Cyclists should try to drive on roads that are not busy or clogged with traffic. This will minimize the risk that a car driver may not see a motorcycle and accidentally crash with it. Cyclists should also be cautious in riding on roads that have potholes or tracks. These sorts of instruments may cause a car driver to suddenly stop, and cyclists should be prepared to veer off to the side of the road. When a cyclist is making turns, he or she should also know that a car driver may have an obstructed line of sight and be unable to see the cyclist.

The Importance of Performing Bike Maintenance Checks

Motorcyclists should also take time to prepare for the road by ensuring that their bikes are in working order. Maintenance checks should be performed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. DMV websites may offer online detailed checklists that cyclists can utilize for their safety checks. These checklists may contain items like:

  • Make sure you have necessary protective gear.
  • Make sure tires have air.
  • Make sure brakes are in working order.
  • Make sure fluids are leveled.
  • Check whether a battery is in good condition.

Performing maintenance checks will help Illinois motorcycle riders stay safe on the roads and avoid involvement in serious accidents.

Talk with Illinois Motorcycle Accident Lawyers if You Have Been Involved in a Crash

If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash, you may still have legal rights. Even if you were contributorily negligent in maintaining your bike or being aware of other drivers on the road, you may still be entitled to compensation under Illinois negligence laws. Call an Illinois motorcycle accident attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to learn more about your legal rights today.