Spike in Illinois Motorcycle Accidents Shows Need for Improved Safety
Motorists often fail to give motorcyclists a fair shake on the road. It’s a longstanding problem that still cries out for improvement because the consequences of motorcycle accidents are usually severe and frequently fatal.
Just thus month in Illinois, there have been numerous deaths in motorcycle accidents. In Chicago Heights last week, a motorcyclist died in a collision with a car on South Halsted.
In addition to Chicago motorcycle accidents, there has recently been a spike in fatal crashes involving motorcyclists downstate. In the Peoria area, there have been four deaths in the last month.
Sometimes the motorists who cause these accidents are impaired by drugs or alcohol. Other times, motorists are distracted by cell phones or changing the CD or radio station.
Many bikers believe, however that the problem goes beyond impaired driving or distracted driving. Motorists don’t do a good enough job of respecting motorcycle riders and sharing the road with them fairly. This may relate to the stereotypes that have followed bikers for decades, dating back to the Hell’s Angels or even earlier.
Motorists need to change that mindset and treat motorcyclists with more courtesy. That starts with paying proper attention to them, such as in making eye contact during a biker’s line changes.
Legislation plays a role as well. In June, the Legislature sent a bill to Gov. Pat Quinn regarding the rights of motorcyclists and bicyclists at red lights. Under the bill, both types of bikers will be allowed to cross through a red light if the traffic signal does not sense them and change over to green within a reasonable time.
Motorcycle advocates point out that stoplights tend to be dangerous places for bikers because motorists do not see them as well as they should.
The recent deaths in Illinois are a vivid reminder that motorists need to do a better job of paying attention.
Source: “Recent string of fatal motorcycle accidents brings up safety concerns,” PJStar, 8-9-11