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‘Start Seeing Motorcycles’

PRINCETON – The sunny days and higher temps ahead have motorcycle enthusiasts anxious to hit the road.

With an increase of motorcycles on the road this season, it means motorists need to take caution, watch out and slow down when sharing the roadway.

For 30 years, May has been proclaimed Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois as part of a statewide campaign to reduce motorcycle crash fatalities and injuries.

Gov. 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 motorists to “Start Seeing Motorcycles” and “Look Twice — Save a Life.”

Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson is among those who enjoy taking a ride on the bike in their free time. He said it’s a good way to get the adrenaline running and find relief from everyday stress.

As a rider, Thompson knows it’s important to take note of the motorcycle’s surroundings and constantly be prepared to stop short for fellow motorists or to look out for vehicles who might pull out in front.

Thompson said in the last 10 years, due to the economy and higher cost of fuel, more and more people are choosing fuel-efficient vehicles like motorcycles and scooters, He advised motorists to take an extra second to look out for bikes and to not drive distracted.

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.

According to IDOT, 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 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 for the program, visit www.startseeingmotorcycles.org.

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