Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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Patrick J. Quinn, Governor
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2010


Contact:


Marisa Kollias (IDOT) 312.814.4693
Scott Compton (ISP) 217.782.6637
Isaiah Vega (ISP) 312.814.8367



IDOT, State Police and Advocacy Groups Launch “Start Seeing Motorcycles” Campaign

IDOT Teams Up With Professional Athletes To Impact Motorcyclists Statewide

SPRINGFIELD — In order to put a spotlight on motorcycle safety as the 2010 riding season gets underway, Governor Pat Quinn has proclaimed May Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police (ISP) and motorcycle safety advocates are urging the public to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.”

The overall number of traffic fatalities in Illinois dropped from 1,043 in 2008 to 911 in 2009. Motorcycle fatalities decreased from 135 in 2008 to 130 in 2009.

“We are very encouraged to see a drop in the number of motorcycle fatalities on our roads and would like to see that trend continue,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “This campaign reinforces the importance of motorcycle safety. We urge every motorist on the road to be on the lookout for motorcycle riders and to ‘Share the Road’ with them.”

In addition, IDOT has partnered with professional mixed martial artists and motorcycle enthusiasts Matt Hughes and Gray Maynard to utilize their messages to directly impact motorcyclists statewide. Furthermore, Stephanie Reaves, the first woman to earn an American Motorcycle Association professional drag racing license, also volunteered to help increase awareness of motorcycle safety in Illinois.

“Motorcycle safety is a fundamental topic close to my heart and thousands of riders in Illinois and across the nation,” said Stephanie Reaves. “Whether I am racing on the track or traveling on the road, I make sure to wear the proper riding gear and am always aware of my surroundings.”

IDOT is offering free courses for beginning and intermediate riders to reduce the severity and frequency of motorcycle crashes. In 2009, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety trained 16,701 students in its Cycle Rider Safety Training Program (CRSTP), which is marking its 34th year in operation. For additional information on course locations and schedules, go to www.startseeingmotorcyles.org

“When you ride, be aware of your surroundings, others may not see you. Whenever there is a motor vehicle versus a motorcycle accident, most of the time the operator’s comment is, ‘I did not see the bike” said Larry Kolling, Gold Wing Road Riders Association’s IL District Motorist Awareness Coordinator.

“The Illinois State Police is committed to sustaining the downward trend of traffic crash fatalities in Illinois, and ensuring the safety of motorcyclists,” said Acting Illinois State Police Director Jonathon Monken. “Troopers throughout the state will continue to monitor speed limits, check license endorsements, and enforce “Fatal Five” moving violations.”

ISP offers the following safety tips for new riders all the way up to seasoned veterans:

  • Although Illinois does not mandate wearing a motorcycle helmet, use of approved helmets, protective body wear, boots and gloves is strongly recommended.
     
  • Improve your visibility by wearing brightly colored clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.
     
  • Don’t ride beyond 80% of your riding capabilities. To do so leaves no margin for the unexpected.
     
  • Don’t become fixed on what’s just beyond your front tire. Be aware of what’s ahead. Safe riders remain aware of developing situations 12-16 seconds ahead. This includes other vehicles, potholes, roadway obstructions, and other potential hazards. This allows time to plan and react in a controlled manner.
     
  • In the event emergency braking is required, remember motorcycles have far better stopping capabilities than cars and trucks. As you’re avoiding the hazard, scan for a safe escape route while watching for vehicles approaching from behind.
     
  • Before proceeding through an intersection, check left, check front, check right, and check left again. Checking left first is important because this is the first lane you cross. Continue to scan in the intersection in a clockwise pattern, checking traffic approaching in front, in case that vehicle turns left in front of you. 77% of motorcycle crashes involving another vehicle happen in this manner.
     
  • Don’t drink and ride. Alcohol slows reactions and impairs function.

To sign up for and find out more about IDOT’s Cycle Rider Safety Training Program please visit www.startseeingmotorcycles.org.

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