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Illinois bikers go on the defense against negligent drivers

Motorcycle riding is often a seasonal pleasure, although many riders depend upon two-wheeled transportation long after pleasant weather fades. Some motorcyclists are worried about the inexplicable rise in the Illinois motorcycle crash rate, an increase forcing some bikers to ride armed -- with cameras.

An Oswego motorcycle tour operator says he is advising fellow bikers to carry cameras when they ride to supplement legal complaints against misbehaving drivers. Photos of distracted driving, drunk driving and accident evidence prove useful in criminal and civil court actions.

State transportation officials reported that traffic accidents increased since 2011. Motorcycle crashes led the pack. Nearly 40 percent more motorcycle accidents were recorded statewide in 2012 than during the same seven-month period last year.

The motorcycle businessman believes irresponsible drivers ignore the road rights of motorcyclists. Mobile technology has added an arsenal of distractions. More electronic gadgets equal less time to pay attention to operators of less-visible vehicles like motorcycles.

The Oswego tour operator said he lost many friends in senseless accidents, including a father of eight children who recently died on the way to a war veterans' rally. Many collisions the veteran rider described were not caused by motorcyclist errors.

A 63-year-old Naperville motorcyclist was killed when he got caught between car drivers engaged in a road rage incident. Car and truck drivers pull out in front of motorcycles, ignore them in passing lanes and dismiss bikes as invalid, unequal vehicles.

Motorcyclists pay a heavy personal toll for foolish actions by negligent drivers. Severe or permanent injuries and death are common among motorcycle crash victims.

The tour operator narrowly avoided a recent accident involving a driver who blew through a stop sign. The biker reported the incident to police with a full description of the license plate, car and driver. The teen was caught and fined $125 -- a small, but satisfying victory for the motorcyclist who had been riding 47 years.

Source: couriernews.suntimes.com, "Motorcycle deaths on the rise: Like 'riding on pins and needles'," Denise Crosby, Sept. 12, 2012

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