In Madison County, motorcycles are becoming a more common sight thanks to increasing popularity. People are discovering that motorcycles are a cost-effective method of transportation, making them popular for people who are unable to buy a reliable car, and for those who enjoy traveling and exploring rural parts of the state with other motorcyclists. The growing numbers of motorcycles on the road also means that there is a higher risk of a motorcycle accident occurring.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 145 motorcyclists were killed in 2011 and over 3,000 others were injured. IDOT stated earlier this year that in 2012, 15 percent of traffic crash fatalities were motorcyclists, even though only three percent of all registrations belong to motorcycles.
Motorists responsible for crashes
A recent study conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation showed that 60 percent of all collisions which occurred between motorists and cyclists were the fault of the motorist. The study examined crash data over a 10-year period and backed up claims from cyclists that motorists aren't looking out for them. In those crashes, motorists were found to have pulled out in front of the motorcycle or turned left in front of them. Indeed, many motorists often claim that they simply did not see the biker.
Sharing the road with cyclists
The results of the above study could likely be applied to motorists in Illinois as many are unaccustomed to seeing motorcyclists. However, there are things that motorists can do to increase their awareness of these two-wheeled vehicles around them. These tips include:
- Check blind spots before changing lanes or turning - a motorcycle is significantly smaller than an automobile, and therefore, can seem to disappear in a motorist's blind spot.
- Be aware that biker's speed and distance may be wrong - Many motorists make the error of thinking that a motorcycle is further away than it is or is traveling slower than it really is, because of its smaller size.
- Do not try to share a lane with a biker - Motorcyclists need the entire lane because they shift positions in order to see the traffic condition in front of them.
- The four-second rule - Motorcycles do not slow down as quickly as a car can and therefore motorists should always make sure they have a four-second distance between them and the motorcycle.
- Eliminate distractions - When motorists are distracted, they are less likely to see a motorcycle in their path.
- Adjust for road conditions - Motorcycles need to slow down when encountering a road surface that has become wet or is rough in texture.
When motorists educate themselves on how a motorcycle moves and what to look out for, they can make the roads around them safer for everyone. If a motorcyclist is injured by a motorist, that person should speak with an experienced attorney to learn what his or her legal rights are for appropriate compensation.