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Governor Urges Illinois Drivers to be Aware and Travel with Care

Governor Bruce Rauner today joined fellow motorcycle enthusiasts and safety advocates to kick-start the riding season and launch the Illinois Department of Transportation’s annual “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaign. The governor proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month in Illinois for the 34th consecutive year to call attention to the need for all roadway users to be especially vigilant and aware of motorcycles.

“As someone who loves traveling our great state by motorcycle, I know first-hand the importance of sharing the road,” Governor Rauner said. “Illinois has a long history of supporting motorcycle safety, and I’m honored to continue that tradition. I urge everyone on the roads to travel with care and to be aware.”

Although motorcycles represent about 3 percent of total vehicle registrations in Illinois, they account for almost 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. There were 1,078 traffic fatalities in Illinois in 2016, according to preliminary IDOT data. Of those, 154 were motorcyclists, an increase of eight from the previous year.

During the riding season, “Start Seeing Motorcycles” banners and yard signs will be on display throughout the state, reminding the public to stay alert for motorcycles at all times.

All riders are urged to take precautions to ensure they are visible to other motorists by wearing the appropriate protective gear, getting regular maintenance checks and taking advantage of IDOT’s free motorcycle safety courses. All other motorists should remember to be diligent in checking and rechecking for motorcycles in their immediate vicinity. A motorcycle can easily be hidden behind a car or truck, so it is particularly important to check mirrors and blind spots before merging or changing lanes.

“We want 2017 to be the safest year yet on Illinois roads, and it will take an effort on everyone’s part,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said. “Please be alert for motorcycles when you travel. One life lost is one too many.”

“Start Seeing Motorcycles” is made possible by the teamwork between IDOT, the Illinois State Police and motorcycle organizations, such as A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) and the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, that promote motorcycle education, awareness and safety to the general public as well as their members.

“Warmer weather signals more frequent motorcycle activity on the roads, and all of us have a responsibility to ride and drive safely,” Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz said. “Drivers should have their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and minimize distractions. Motorcyclists should wear proper safety equipment, ride safely and obey all traffic laws. If we all do our part, it just might save a life.”

Visit for more information on IDOT’s free motorcycle training and safety programs.