Motorcycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users. Because of their size and vulnerability in a crash, it is important to pay special attention to motorcycles.
More than 50 percent of all motorcycle collisions occur at intersections. The most common situation occurs when an oncoming automobile makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle. Watch for motorcycles before turning and yield the right-of-way. Be particularly careful when making a left turn across lanes of oncoming traffic. Always use your signals and look in all directions before making the turn. Don’t be misled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle — motorcycle signals usually are not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
Illinois allows a motorcycle rider to proceed, after yielding the right-of-way to oncoming traffic, through a red light that fails to turn green after waiting for at least 120 seconds.
Statistics for 2011*
- In Illinois, 74% of motorcycle fatalities were persons not wearing helmets. 29% of the crash fatalities involved riders with a BAC of .08 or higher.
- Helmets saved the lives of 1,617 motorcyclists nationally in 2011.
- Motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries.
- 4,612 fatalities were reported in 2011 motorcycle crashes compared to 4,518 in 2010.
- 30% of motorcycle riders in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher . In cases where the rider was between age 40-44, the rate increased to 38%.
- In 2011, 35% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 22% for passenger vehicles.