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Safety tips for Illinois motorcycle riders

Soon it will officially be springtime, and with the change of seasons comes a sense of urgency to get out and enjoy the milder weather. It's the perfect time for motorcycle enthusiasts to take to the roads on their two-wheeled cycles.

But the Illinois State Police wants bikers to be safe, and they have prepared some tips for safer riding. They include:

-- Checking over your bike for safety hazards, low tires, loose parts and anything else that could contribute to an accident.

-- Relying on mirrors is insufficient on a motorcycle. Don't change direction without turning your head in both directions to make sure that no vehicles have entered your blind spot.

-- Get re-acclimated to your bike after a season spent not riding. Pick an empty parking lot to run through some basic drills to make sure that you are up to speed with your riding skills.

-- Don't panic at sudden stops. It's inevitable that some distracted driver will one day obliviously pull out right in front of you. How you react can save your life. Effective stopping depends on proper braking — steady and smooth in the back, a tight grip on the front. If the front brakes lock up, release, then reapply. If it's the back brakes, catch traction with a gradual release.

This list is not all-inclusive by any means, and even when you are riding with all safety protocols in place, disaster is only one distracted driver away. If you wind up in an accident with injuries, your best option is to file a claim for damages against the at-fault driver's insurance company in order to get compensation.

Source: Illinois State Police, "Motorcycle Safety Tips," accessed March 18, 2016

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