Motorcycle Safety

Naperville has seen more motorcycle accidents than usual this summer.

The warm weather of summer brings motorcycles out of their owners’ garages and onto the streets.

Unfortunately, it’s a hobby that comes with serious risks, as we’ve seen recently in Naperville.

“We’ve seen four motorcycle crashes with serious injuries this year. One accident involved two fatalities so we have seen an increase in serious motorcycle crashes this year,” said Derek Zook, a sergeant with the Naperville Police Department.

But there are things both car drivers and motorcycle riders can do to mitigate those risks.

For drivers, the police encourage you to give motorcycles more space than you would give a car, and to be extra vigilant to look for them at intersections.

“Most of our crashes are occurring at intersections so what we’re seeing is a failure to yield on the driver’s part. They turn in front of the motorcyclist at which point they have two choices: crash into the car or try to avoid the car at which point they typically crash,” said Zook.

For riders, the police encourage everyone to always wear a Department of Transportation approved helmet.

Though Illinois is one of only three states in the nation that has no law requiring their use, National Highway Traffic Safety Association studies have shown helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing death in accidents and 67 percent effective in preventing serious brain injuries.

For those looking for more protection, there’s enough safety gear out there for head-to-toe coverage.

“There’s a mantra that some motorcyclists follow that’s called all of the gear, all of the time,” said motorcyclist Matt Supert.

Jackets with elbow pads, boots with ankle armor, and reinforced jeans are just few types of the gear out there.

“These look like regular jeans but they’re actually specific for riding. They have Kevlar on the inner layer for abrasion resistance and there are actually kneepads in these ones, which you can remove if you want,” said Supert.

Riders can also learn more about active safety – learning to recognize and avoid dangerous situations from Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses, taught at many dealerships and colleges.

“Oftentimes if you see a motorcyclist moving around inside a lane, they’re trying to gain position to make eye contact with a motorist so we’re not in a blind spot,” explained Supert.

Another tip for drivers: watch for motorcycle headlights. They’re required by law to always have them on, even during the day, to make them more visible.

A little preparedness goes a long way in making riding safer.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.

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