For a month dedicated to emphasizing awareness and safety, May turned out to be deadly for motorcyclists in central Illinois.
According to data compiled by the Illinois Department of Transportation, motorcycle fatalities in Illinois climbed from 131 in 2010 to 148 in 2012 for the last two years. An increase of 13 percent is very disturbing according to all motorcycle-transportation officials.
Lt. Col. Scott Abbott of the Illinois State Police said it’s hard to peg one specific reason for why more people are dying on motorcycles. One thing analysts do know, is that more people are riding motorcycles.
The Cause of the Problem is…
Records show that Illinois has seen a 57 percent increase in the number of motorcyclists registered in the state over the past decade. On average, Illinois sees about 13,000 new motorcyclists each year, which could be at the heart of the problem. Plus many new riders aren’t getting the proper training while most learn bad riding habits from friends and family members. Other leading accident factors include improper lane usage, not negotiating curves correctly and alcohol.
IDOT launched a campaign called “Start Seeing Motorcycles.” However, Abbot believed that one of the most important thing in preventing fatalities is encouraging people to wear the proper gear. The GHSA listed motorcycle helmet laws as the most effective way to prevent motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries, noting in the report that 706 motorcyclists would have lived nationally in 2010 had they been wearing a helmet.
Also, Abbott believed that training can correct numerous bad habits and misnomers, such as it’s wise to only use the rear brake to avoid flipping the bike. If more motorcyclists were properly trained, it could reverse the troubling trend.
“In the hands of a skilled rider, motorcycles are as safe as any vehicle,” Abbott said. “But the problem is most people are not as skilled as they could be.
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