Motorcycle riders represent two to four percent of the drivers in America. Unfortunately, the percentage of motorcycle accidents that end in fatalities are much higher. Seven to twelve percent of all vehicle accidents that end in fatalities involve two-wheeled transportation. Motorcycle accidents with fatalities in Illinois are fairly high. There were 158 motorcycle rider deaths in 2005, which made up 11.6 percent of the total fatalities. Fortunately, motorcycle fatalities dropped to 132 deaths or 10.5 percent of the total in 2006.
Illinois hold a wide variety of attractions for many people. From a stretch of Rout 66 to the sights and sounds of the bank of the Mississippi, there are many reasons to travel the highways and byways of this great state. There are also many people that travel these roads and many potential distractions along the way. Three-fourths of the motorcycle accidents that happen involve another vehicle, usually a passenger vehicle. Any thing that can pull a driverís attention from the road, whether driving a car or something on two-wheels, is hazardous.
The causes of motorcycle accidents are varied. Inexperienced and under-trained riders can easily make very costly mistakes. Entering a corner at a high rate of speed and trying to take it too sharply can cause a rear tire to slide out and the bike to fall over. At almost any speed, the bike, rider and any passengers will slide along the pavement. If there is anything in the way, such as a tree or another car, the potential for injury and damage increases dramatically. In accidents with a single motorcycle, rider error was the biggest factor.
The lack of things like seat belts, crumple zones, airbags and a roof make motorcycle much less safe in a crash situation. About twenty percent of automobile accidents result in injury or death. About eighty percent of motorcycle accidents result in the same. Three-quarters of the motorcycle accidents that occur involve a second vehicle. Motorcycles are harder to see than passenger vehicles and most drivers are not expecting to see a two-wheeled vehicle on the road with them. An intersection is the likeliest place for other motorists to miss seeing a rider and invade their right-of-way. Headlights that are on at all times and wearing brightly colored clothing can help increase visibility, but a motorcyclist must always be aware of their surroundings and drive defensively. Surprisingly, road defects (such as potholes and uneven pavement) and animals account for less that three percent of crashes.
Illinois does not require helmets be worn. Headlights do need to be on both day and night, which, as mentioned above, increases the visibility of a motorcycle and rider. Riders and passenger must also wear eye protection at all times to protect eyesight. Along with a valid driverís license, those wishing to ride a motorcycle on public roads must have a special classification. To get the appropriate classification, individuals under 18 must complete a written test, a motorcycle rider course approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation and then pass a driving skills test. Riders over 18 years do not need to take the skills test if they have completed the rider course.
Illinois is a beautiful state and a great place to ride. There are several websites that will even help you outline anything from a day-trip to several days on the road on your motorcycle. If you choose to ride in Illinois, be sure to obey all traffic laws, keep you attention on the road a drive defensively at all times. Never add alcohol to an outing on a motorcycle. Around half of all fatal motorcycles have alcohol as a factor.
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