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Motorcycle Safety Month


On May 3, 2016, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner launched the Illinois Department of Transportation’s latest “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign. In order to call attention to the need for all drivers to be especially careful these next few months, Gov. Rauner has proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois for the 33rd consecutive year.

American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Share the Road Highway Safety Program are also showing their support for Motorcycle Safety Month by urging all motorists to be aware of motorcycles while driving down the highway.

“Motorcyclists and truck drivers understand that due to the unique qualities of their vehicles, they must remain vigilantly committed to safety at all times in order to keep our roads safe,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in ATA’s news release. “As part of Motorcycle Awareness Month, ATA’s Share the Road program is working with motorcycle groups to educate all motorists on the importance of safely sharing the road with trucks and motorcycles.”

American Trucking Association’s Share the Road professional truck drivers also put together a list of truck safety tips for motorcyclists who are looking to stay safe this year:

1. Space is time, and time saves lives: At 65mph, trucks and motorcycles are traveling almost 100 feet per second. It takes a fully loaded tractor-trailer more than the length of a football field to come to a complete stop. Maintain a safe distance in front of trucks.
2. Look for the driver in the mirror before beginning to pass. If the driver can't see you, then he or she has no way of knowing you are there.
3. When passing, never linger alongside a truck. Due to large blind spots on all sides of a truck, it becomes easy for a motorcycle to become invisible to a truck driver.
4. When riding behind a truck, maintain at least a 4 second following distance. Stay far enough back to see the driver's mirrors. This gives you enough time to maneuver around debris and react to emergencies.
5. When riding as a group in a stagger pattern, it is safest to pass the truck in single file, staying to the far side of the lane.
6. When possible, avoid passing on the right side. The right blind spot is the largest blind spot and runs the length of the truck, extending out three lanes. Pass on the left.
7. Always wear a helmet. It is estimated that 1,699 motorcyclists' lives were saved by a helmet in 2012.

During this time of year, truck drivers must be extremely aware of their surroundings, as the warmer weather brings out more motorcycles and more traffic. In a release from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police Col. Tad Williams gives his advice: “Be conscious of what’s ahead. Look for other vehicles, potholes, wet roads and other potential hazards. Remember, don’t ride beyond your capabilities. Doing so leaves no margin for error.”

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