“Gear up to Ride Smart” Motorcycle Safety Campaign hits Chicago

Motorcycle accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm announce that the “Gear up – Ride Smart” campaign recently hit the streets of Illinois, promoting the best motorcycle practices to keep all motorists safer on the roads. Although motorcyclists account for just 3% of the all vehicle registers, motorcycle fatalities represent more than 15% of all roadway fatalities.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is teaming up with the state police, the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, and A Brotherhood Aimed towards Education (ABATE) in creation of the campaign. The Illinois organizations are attempting to spread awareness of the increased dangers for motorcycle drivers. Participants are encouraging all motorcycle riders to take refresher training courses, obtain proper licenses, keep motorcycle equipment well maintained, and always wear the proper gear while on the road.

The campaign also intends to improve public awareness and acceptance of motorcyclists, and to deter them from riding while impaired. Motorcyclists have a significantly increased risk of injury and death when involved in an accident – a risk that is only amplified when any of the parties involved are impaired.

In efforts to decrease the risk of catastrophic injury, advocates at ABATE suggest riders check their bikes before each ride, never assume they are seen by others on the road, stay on high alert throughout the whole ride, use proper techniques, and wear the appropriate safety gear. Any one of these decisions could mean the difference between life and death. ABATE recently developed a “Ride Smart” program, to educate riders on the proper considerations and decisions that should be made before and during each ride.

The Illinois State Police Lieutenant Colonel affirmed that motorcyclists are, at any given time, significantly more at risk of injury than any other motorists. Additionally, statistics show that an estimated 50% of all motorcyclist deaths occur during crashes involving only that rider, and about 40% of those deaths involved riders who had been drinking. Alcohol adds fuel to any fire, and when motorcyclists drink and drive, the results are catastrophic and often devastating.

In 2009, for example, an intoxicated motorcyclist lost control of his bike, causing him and his passenger to be thrown off and land on the pavement. Both were taken to a nearby hospital, where the passenger died from brain and head injuries. Tests showed that the driver had a BAC of .08, which is legally intoxicated. Records also showed that he was speeding at the time of the crash. A crime of this type is a felony, punishable by anywhere between three and 14 years in jail.

In January 2013, a motorcyclist was riding on a Washington interstate, attempting to switch lanes when he lost control, crashed into a concrete barrier, and was thrown into a tree. Emergency personnel found the biker unconscious, lying in the median between the interstate barriers. He suffered a broken leg, numerous fractures to his ribs and arms, and significant damage to his kidneys. He was later arrested for driving under the influence, admitting to consuming multiple drinks before riding. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet at the time, which is why he is alive today.

Motorcycle riders are responsible for the maintenance of their equipment and for maintaining the roadworthiness of their bikes. Illinois law requires every motorcycle to have a seat and foot rest if the rider has any passengers. Bikes must also have side mirrors, handlebars below the driver’s shoulders, and an operating headlight. If the motorcycle is not equipped with all of these features, the rider could be held responsible for an accident that may occur.

On the other hand, motorcyclists and their passengers who are injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another motorist are entitled to seek relief for any medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs. Motorcycle injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience working with victims of motorcycle accidents and their families, and will ensure you receive the best representation and largest settlement possible.

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