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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2011

Illinois Transportation Department, State Police and Safety Advocates Launch Start Seeing Motorcycles Campaign
Partnership Focuses on Motorist Responsibility, Aims to Save Lives

SPRINGFIELD –Illinois Department of Transportation, State Police, Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) and A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) today joined forces to launch the Start Seeing Motorcycles campaign and urge Illinois motorists to share the road and expect to see more motorcyclists on Illinois roadways soon.  Governor Quinn also demonstrated his strong support for motorcycle safety and issued a proclamation declaring May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois.

“Under the leadership and vision of Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois experienced an historic and record breaking two-year low in traffic fatalities in 2009 and 2010,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig.  “IDOT continues to stress the importance of motorcycle safety and understands the need for proper attention, dedication and commitment by all motorists and motorcyclists in Illinois.  Motorists share equal responsibility for motorcycle safety and are strongly encouraged to share the road and start seeing motorcycles.”

Illinois experienced fewer than 1,000 traffic fatalities in 2010 for the second consecutive year.  This reflects a record low dating to 1921.  Provisional data from IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety indicates 130 motorcycle fatalities were reported in 2010.  While this number is relatively low in comparison to previous years, it represents approximately 14 percent of all vehicle fatalities.  Motorcycle registrations represent only about 3 percent of total registrations for all vehicle types.           

These comparisons indicate that motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable of highway users.  Data also shows that about half of fatal motorcycle crashes involve a single vehicle with the other half involving multiple vehicles.
 
“The Illinois State Police is committed to the safety of all motorists, and we are proud to partner with IDOT in an effort to raise awareness and reduce motorcycle related crashes,” said Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau. “Inclement weather, road conditions, traffic congestion, and limitations of protective gear, make motorcycle riders susceptible to serious or life threatening injuries, regardless of their experience or skill level. We can all help make this summer safe and enjoyable by practicing safe driving habits and staying focused on the road.” 

“When you ride, be aware of your surroundings, others may not see you. Whenever there is a motor vehicle versus a motorcycle accident, most of the time the operator’s comment is, ‘I did not see the bike” said Larry Kolling, GWRRA’s Illinois District Motorist Awareness Coordinator.

The “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign and Motorcycle Safety Program is an important program of IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety.  The program focuses on motorist awareness in an effort to reduce multiple vehicle motorcycle fatalities.  The critical message informs the motoring public of an increase in numbers of motorcycles present on Illinois roadways during the peak riding season, reminds motorists to watch out for motorcycles and to be considerate of other highway users and most importantly to “Share the Road”.  Yellow banners and yard signs depicting the “Start Seeing Motorcycles” message are also strategically displayed in communities throughout Illinois.

IDOT and partners also are continuing the new “Gear Up” campaign to focus on riders’ responsibility.  The campaign focuses on riders’ responsibility in keeping their bikes in good running condition, wearing protective clothing, increasing their visibility, making sure licensing and insurance are current and never riding impaired.

In addition, free Cycle Rider Safety Courses are available statewide for motorcycle riders to acquire additional safety knowledge and training. The courses are coordinated through Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois-Champaign, Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.   Approximately 20,000 riders are expected to receive training this year. 

For more information about the “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign, safety tips or for class schedules of the Cycle Rider Safety Courses, please visit www.startseeingmotorcycles.org
 



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