On Saturday, May 12, 2012, almost 500 Illinois motorcyclists participated in a ride to draw attention to the fact that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This is the twenty-eighth year that motorcyclists have held the event. The goal of the ride is to alert drivers of other vehicles that May is the beginning of motorcycle season, and drivers should be aware that there will be more motorcycles on the roads. Motorcyclists who participated in the event hope that the event will reduce motorcycle accidents by reminding drivers of other vehicles to watch out for motorcycles.
The riders began at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds and finished at Davenport West High School. The Iowa/Illinois Motorcycle Awareness Council sponsored the event and local police participated by escorting the bikers during their ride. Authorities were supportive of the ride because they often see the damage that results when motorcycles collide with other vehicles.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that there were 131 deaths in Illinois resulting from motorcycle accidents in 2010. Motorcyclists stress that much of the danger for them comes from drivers of other vehicles not seeing motorcycles. Timothy Wassell, the organizer of the ride, said that other vehicles left-hand turns and hitting motorcycles account for almost 50 percent of motorcycle accidents. He believes this problem could be reduced if other drivers made more of an effort to watch for motorcycles on the road.
Police noted that motorcycle safety rests not only on drivers of other cars, but motorcyclists as well. They can take steps to make themselves safer when riding such as wearing helmets and bright colors to increase their visibility to other drivers.
Source: KWQC 6 News, "Bikers Ride for Motorcycle Safety," May 15, 2012.