Early-Season Chicago Area Motorcycle Riding Safety Issues

The beginning of motorcycle riding season in the Chicago area has been somewhat delayed because of the recent cold and rainy temperatures.  However, it is important to note various motorcycle riding safety issues that are especially present at the beginning of the motorcycle riding season.

The March 22, 2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article titled “Motorcycle crashes in St. Louis region pick up with return of spring” discusses a variety of factors that serve to heighten danger for motorcyclists at the beginning of the motorcycle riding season.  While this article largely discusses motorcycle riding safety issues in the St. Louis area, many of the topics discussed are highly relevant to Chicago area and Illinois motorcycle riding.

An excerpt includes:

The dawn of spring also means a wave of novice motorcyclists — some holding only learning permits — who hit the roads for the first time, Wheetley said.

“That’s one of the major contributors (to crashes),” he said.

Another excerpt discusses distracted motorists and motorcyclists:

Eric Bess, 42, owner of Flying Tiger Motorcycles in Maplewood, says he is concerned about distracted car drivers who have trouble seeing motorcycles around them or gauging their speed. Equally worrisome, he says, are car drivers and motorcyclists becoming distracted on the roads.

The article also mentions the possibility of losing control of a motorcycle after hitting a pothole.   Given that potholes are a major national problem – and especially severe in the Chicago area – hitting these potholes while riding a motorcycle has grown into a serious risk for motorcyclists.   The Chicago pothole problem has been discussed extensively in various media sources, including the myfoxchicago article and video of May 15 titled “Winter’s pothole problems keep trucking on.”  While this article focuses on the pothole problems in Chicago, the pothole problem – as well as other road conditions such as bumps, cracks, and raised pavement – exists extensively throughout the Chicago area.

Awareness of this problem is very important for motorcycle riding safety, especially as the pothole problem may persist for a protracted time period.  While it is somewhat rare for a car accident to be caused by hitting a pothole, motorcycle accidents are much more likely to happen if a large pothole is run over.

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