The timing of May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is no coincidence. Many drivers are seeing bikers back on the road after a long winter, and riders themselves are chomping at the bit, using any sunny or relatively warm day as an excuse to take the bike out.

We thought it would be helpful to provide a brief reminder of the importance of safety for riders. The idea is to lower the number of motorcycle-related severe injuries and fatalities – last year the number of fatalities went down 3% to 5,172, but that is still much too high. Drivers need to remember to share the road with motorcyclists and be especially vigilant this coming season.

Important safety tips to riders

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is 28 times more dangerous to ride a motorcycle than drive a car, but there are certain precautions that can help lower that number:

  • Wear a helmet: Illinois has no helmet law, but the NHTSA estimates that 65.2% of riders across the U.S. use a helmet. They lessen the chances of a fatality by 37% and reduce the chances of brain injury by 67%.
  • Assume that drivers do not see you: Not only are there dangers involving blind spots, but distracted driving is also at epidemic proportions, which means drivers wander from lanes, do not obey traffic rules or yield to the right of way.
  • Do a safety check each time: This should include checking lights, brakes and air in the tires. Look the bike over, and it does not hurt to check oil and gas to avoid breakdowns on the road.
  • Wear proper gear: Along with a helmet, wear protective eyewear, a motorcycle jacket, sturdy footwear and gloves. Bright colored clothing with reflective material makes it easier to spot riders on and off the bike.
  • Ride sober: Be mindful of prescription drug use, as well as illegal drugs. Twenty-eight percent of all motorcycle-related fatalities involved riders who were drunk.

Riders are often not at fault

Bike accidents are often catastrophic. Severely injured riders and their family’s priority is getting proper medical treatment, but it is also advisable to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who handles motorcycle injuries here in Rockford. They can help recoup compensation for lost income, damage to property as well as other expenses.