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IDOT sees more motorcyclists, accidents on Illinois roads

Summer months are popular times to ride for more than 372,000 motorcyclists in Illinois. The number of motorcyclists on state roads has surged since 1999, according to officials from the state Department of Transportation. More riders, including many novices, increase the risk of fatal motorcycle accidents.

Motorcyclists and their passengers often suffer more serious injuries in accidents, simply due to the bike's relative size and exposure to danger. IDOT reported that 132 people died statewide in 130 motorcycle crashes in 2010.

Numbers of motorcycles and bike fatalities in Illinois steadily increased over a little more than a decade. Thirteen years ago, 103 motorcyclists died in bike accidents throughout the state. Twenty-seven percent more fatalities were recorded in 2010.

The number of motorcycles on state roads skyrocketed 73 percent between 1999 and 2010. More than 28,000 additional motorcycle registrations were recorded in Illinois, during the last two years.

Local and state officials speculate that fuel savings could be causing some motorists to switch to two-wheeled travel. Authorities agree more bikes equal greater responsibility for motorcyclists and drivers to stay alert and drive safely.

Car and truck drivers often misjudge the speed and distance of smaller vehicles, which can lead to unnecessary accidents. A 22-year-old Freeport rider died recently when a car pulled in front of his motorcycle at an intersection. The car driver was cited for failure to yield.

Officials encourage the use of protective riding gear and helmets, even though Illinois laws do not require motorcyclists to wear them. A motorcyclist without a helmet is abiding by the law, but may not be doing everything possible to prevent injuries caused by negligent drivers.

Victims of motorcycle accidents have the same rights to request compensation for losses due to the carelessness of other drivers. Being left with medical bills, expenses related to disability and lost wages are some of the reasons personal injury victims seek legal advice.

Source: journalstandard.com, "Motorcycle accidents on the rise," Joe Tamborello, June 26, 2012

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