May is Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois

Motorcycle crash lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm announce that 2013 marks the 30th year May has been officially recognized as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois. Throughout the state this month organizations will join in the campaign to urge drivers to start seeing motorcycles and share the road.

The goal is to raise awareness in all types of motorists that the motorcycling season has begun, and bikers will be out in abundance on the state’s roads and highways. Members of several organizations, including A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE), the Illinois Department of Transportation, and the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, will be out and about all over the state handing out motorcycle safety posters and public service announcements.

There is also an annual “Freedom Rally” in Springfield when riders come from every corner of the state to celebrate and show their appreciation of the representatives who support motorcycling issues. There are numerous other programs being initiated this month, including the Windshield Washing Project, which has occurred every year since 1987. Throughout the month of May, the Project schedules times at certain rest stops in Illinois where volunteers wash vehicle windshields (free of charge) and distribute motorcycle safety information.

Due to the ghastly winter conditions in Illinois every year, very few motorcyclists are on the road during those months. Motorists, then, are not accustomed to sharing the road with these smaller vehicles, making bikers more vulnerable and more likely to be involved in a crash. This is precisely why May was chosen as Motorcycle Awareness Month. Illinoisans are all glad to finally feel the warmth of spring, and bikers are no different. They are itching to get back on their bikes just as others are to drive with sunroofs open and windows down. Motorcyclists are urged to wear high-visibility clothing while riding, especially during the first few months, when motorists are still getting used to seeing bikers on the road.

A 1981 study by the University of Southern California is still touted as one of the most thorough, relevant, and groundbreaking reports of the reality of risks motorcyclists face on a daily basis. The study found that about 66% of the accidents involving a motorcycle were caused the drivers of other vehicles who violated the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. Additionally, between 96 and 98% of those vehicle collisions resulted in an injury to the motorcycle rider.

Surprisingly, not all states have laws requiring bikers to wear helmets, despite their obvious and proven life-saving safe guards. Unfortunately, Illinois is one of only three states where there are no motorcycle helmet laws whatsoever (the others are Iowa and New Hampshire).

Motorcycle crash lawyers encourage the public to urge Illinois policymakers to enact a universal helmet law. Wearing helmets reduces the risk of head injury by nearly 70% and reduces the risk of death by 37%. There are, of course, several other measures motorcyclists can make to reduce the number of crashes involving bikers.

Among these measures include biker participation in training classes, making sure bikes are properly classified and well-maintained, and, as always, never drinking and riding. One study found that alcohol contributes to about 40% of motorcycle fatalities. In 1976, the Illinois Department of Transportation initiated the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program, which is one of only two programs in the country that offers completely free motorcycling training classes.

Motorcycle accidents often result in catastrophic injuries to the biker, which is why these types of crashes usually involve in large settlements and verdicts. Motorcycle crash lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating on behalf of bikers throughout the country, and have helped many clients receive the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries.

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