SPRINGFIELD – For the 30th year, May has been proclaimed Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois as part of a statewide campaign to reduce motorcycle crash fatalities and injuries. Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police, Gold Wing Road Riders Association, and A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) joined in support of campaigns to urge Illinois motorists to “Start Seeing Motorcycles” and “Look Twice - Save a Life.” The safety coalition urged all motorists to share the road and recognized volunteers who participate in the annual Windshield Washing Project to raise awareness.
“More individuals are choosing fuel-efficient vehicles like motorcycles as their preferred mode of transportation, and that means more motorcyclists are sharing the roads during warm weather months,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “To help prevent crashes and fatalities, we want all motorists to slow down, look twice, be aware of your surroundings and don’t drive distracted.”
The official campaign kicked off at the site of the Old Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Amy Martin, executive director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, noted that many ride motorcycles to visit historic sites such as the old state capitol. “Riders and drivers will be taking to the highways to visit the Old State Capitol and other historic sites around the state,” said Martin. “We want all of them to arrive safely, so please remember to drive carefully and keep your eyes open for motorcyclists.”
Throughout the riding season, brightly colored banners and yard signs will be on display throughout the state as reminders to motorists to be more aware of motorcycles and always drive safely. Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure they are visible to motorists, and that they follow the rules of the road. In addition to the “Start Seeing Motorcycles” theme, all motorists are encouraged to “Look Twice - Save a Life.” This is an awareness slogan important to all motorists in staying alert to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians.
“Every May since 1987, motorcycle chapters and organizations have partnered to promote motorist awareness on our roadways,” said Secretary Schneider. “Today, we recognize the many volunteers who spend their weekends at Illinois rest areas, washing windshields and handing out literature on motorcycle safety and awareness. As you are traveling during the month, if one of these volunteers approaches your vehicle, say thank you for making Illinois safer.”
“For the past 25 years, ABATE of Illinois, Inc. has been involved in motorcycle safety, awareness and education. On the first Sunday of May, all 65 chapters of ABATE of Illinois come to a motorcycle awareness rally in Springfield to emphasize the importance of all motorists to “Start Seeing Motorcycles,” explained Mike Myers, State Coordinator, ABATE of Illinois. “Many lives would be saved if we all practiced, “Look Twice - Save a Life”. This will ensure that not only our biking brothers and sisters will have a safe ride but that all motorists will return home to their families.”
“Don’t override your skills and abilities when riding your motorcycle this riding season,” said Dan Davis, Illinois District Educator, Gold Wing Road Riders Association. “We encourage all motorists to “Look Twice - Save a Life” and to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.”
Nearly 150 motorcyclists died as a result of a motor vehicle crash in 2012. Motorcycles make up just 3 percent of all registered motor vehicles, yet motorcycle riders represented more than 15 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2012. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that motorcyclists are nearly 40 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.
IDOT offers free Cycle Rider Safety Training courses statewide to help motorcycle riders acquire additional safety knowledge and training. More than 20,000 riders are expected to receive training this year. For more information about class schedules of the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program, “Start Seeing Motorcycles” and “Look Twice – Save a Life” campaigns or for other safety tips, please visit www.startseeingmotorcycles.org.