According to a report published recently by the Illinois Department of Transportation, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents in the state is on the rise. DOT data indicates that there were a total of 148 fatal motorcycle accidents in Illinois in 2012, compared to just 131 in 2010. This is a 13 percent increase over two years.
The DOT is hesitant to suggest that the increase has been caused by a single factor, though it may be related to the number of new motorcyclists on the road. Over the past ten years, the number of registered motorcycle riders in Illinois has increased by 57 percent. In some cases, experts suggest that these new riders may not be taking the time to receive proper training on how to ride their vehicles safely.
Another factor may be the lack of a motorcycle helmet law in Illinois. According to a recent study out of Michigan, a state where lawmakers recently weakened motorcycle helmet laws, not having strong helmet laws can lead to a direct increase in the number of fatal motorcycle accidents. In fact, in Michigan, the first year after the helmet law was altered, there was a 20 percent increase in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities.
It is currently unclear whether the Illinois DOT will take steps to reduce the number of accidents, but, in the meantime, riders should make time to ensure that they are prepared to ride safely. This includes not only knowing the rules of the road, but also wearing the right equipment.
Source: CBS, “Illinois Motorcycle Accidents Increase,” June 18, 2013