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Motorcycle crashes

PRINCETON – New crash data released by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) shows the percentage of drunk motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes during late afternoon and early evening hours are more than double those of motor vehicle fatalities.

The data released shows from 3 to 5:59 p.m., 15 percent of motorcycle fatalities that occur involve a drunk rider, compared to 6 percent of vehicle fatalities during the same time.

The data also shows the 6 to 8:59 p.m. timeframe to be worse with 24 percent of motorcycle fatalities involving a drunk rider, compared to 11 percent of motor vehicles fatalities involving a drunk driver.

Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson is not surprised by these results because of the high number of organized rides from tavern-to-tavern in which some motorcyclists are known to take part.

He explained when these rides take place, they usually happen during the late afternoon and early evening hours, and sometimes riders will travel up to six or eight different stops in one event.

Thompson, who is an avid motorcycle rider, said it’s a rule for him and his fellow riders to eliminate alcohol when out riding to ensure safety.

Although the county has had a lucky year so far with no fatal motorcycle accidents linked to drunk riding, riders are still encouraged to be responsible when mixing alcohol with riding. The few motorcycle accidents that have happened within the county this year, so far, have mostly been linked to deer and lack of attention.

The campaign “Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is focusing its attention on motorcycle riders as a way to remind them of the dangers drinking and riding can cause.

Thompson said his deputies are always on alert to impaired drivers, and they know the late afternoon and early evening hours are the prime times when drivers present themselves to the possible dangers of drunk driving.

According to IDOT, In 2012 in Illinois, 148 motorcyclists died in motor vehicle accents. That was a slight increase from the 2011 motorcycle fatalities when 145 motorcyclists lost their lives. According to IDOT crash data, motorcycle riders continue to be over-represented in Illinois motor vehicle crash fatalities. In 2012, motorcycles made up 3 percent of all registered motor vehicles, yet motorcycle riders represented more than 15 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.

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