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Safety tips for motorcyclists in Illinois

Motorcyclists in Illinois should review basic safety tips, especially in spring as the prime riding season gets underway.

With the arrival of summer time weather, there is no denying that winter becomes a distant memory for Illinois residents for the time being. Motorcyclists who wait to get back on their bikes when the weather is better and road conditions are more conducive to safe riding are no doubt eager to once again enjoy the thrill of the open road. But, before doing that, it is always wise to review some basic safety tips.

Selecting the right bike

New riders will want to take the time to select their bikes. Consumer Reports recommends trying a smaller bike at first until a rider is comfortable and knows how to handle the bike. Just like with cars, antilock brakes can go a long way toward helping bikers make safe but fast stops. So, it is a good idea to purchase a motorcycle with this feature.

Taking a motorcycle skills course is also recommended and can help novice as well as experienced riders hone their abilities to properly maneuver bikes in a variety of situations. This can help riders better avoid hazards or even prevent some crashes .

Selecting the proper gear makes a big difference

Protection from the elements and from the road should be a big concern for motorcyclists. Wearing helmets and protective clothing may help to minimize any injuries if an accident does actually happen.

Make a point of being seen

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation indicates that bikers should always assume that they are not able to be seen by drivers in other vehicles. With this thought in mind, riders should make plans to increase their visibility to other drivers. This can include wearing reflective gear, always having headlights on, and consciously driving in the areas of lanes where they can be viewed most easily.

Never underestimate the accident risk

Any rider no matter how seasoned can be hit by a negligent driver in another vehicle all too easily. Drunk drivers, distracted drivers, fatigued drivers and more are always out there. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Foundation, 118 motorcyclists died in Illinois in 2014. Of those fatalities, 20 occurred in Cook County. The prior year saw 152 statewide motorcyclist deaths and 36 motorcyclist deaths in Cook County.

The 2013 deaths were the highest in the state and the county for the five years spanning from 2010 to 2014. Preventing future spikes in the loss of biker lives is important. So too is pursuing compensation after an accident happens. Victims or their family members are urged to reach out to a lawyer to learn how to do this most effectively.