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Risk of injury increases for Illinois motorcyclists in spring

Were you among other Illinois residents who eagerly awaited the results of Punxsutawney Phil's assessment of the climate, in particular, whether there would be six more weeks of winter or spring time weather would soon arrive? Groundhog Day is a national custom many people enjoy. Whether or not there is merit to the famous ground hog's weather forecast is debatable.

One thing is certain, however. Regardless of whether Phil sees or doesn't see his shadow, motorcycle enthusiasts in this state and others are ready for their springtime rides. Along with the thrill and excitement of riding a motorcycle in the open air with sun shining on your face comes a risk that you may suffer injury while riding. If you're diligent about bike maintenance and you adhere to safety regulations, you have a good chance of coming away unscathed.

Ways to improve motorcycle safety

The following list provides ideas that can help you reduce the risk for injury whenever you travel by motorcycle:

  • State law may not require you to wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle. However, crash analysts and safety experts recommend always wearing protective headgear, even if state law does not require it.
  • Your clothing can help you stay safe. Wearing long sleeves, leather and boots is always best when traveling on a motorcycle. 
  • Just because you see other drivers, doesn't necessarily mean they see you. Try to avoid ending up in another driver's blind spots.
  • The posted speed limits apply to motorcyclists as well as all other drivers. If you travel over the limit, you're at risk, not only for a speeding ticket, but for serious injury, as well.
  • The faster you ride, the longer it takes to stop.
  • It is safest to ride with your headlights on at all times.
  • Many serious motorcycle accidents occur when drivers fail to yield to a rider's right-of-way. Signal well in advance of making a lane change or navigating a turn.

In addition to these helpful tips, other rules of the road automatically apply to you when you travel by motorcycle, such as always riding while sober. You must also have the proper license and registration, just as the law requires for other drivers.

If you follow the rules, but another driver doesn't

When a car traveling at speeds of 55 miles per hour or more hits a motorcyclist, the results are often fatal for the person on the bike. If you were lucky enough to defy the odds, recovering from a serious motorcycle accident can be a long, strenuous process. From medical treatments and having to take time off work, you may also encounter tremendous financial problems.

Many accident victims are able to alleviate financial strain by filing injury claims against those who caused their injuries. If you show evidence that a driver was negligent and that such negligence caused your injuries, the court may award compensation for damages to help you cover the expenses and other losses associated with the collision.

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