While motorcycles are often seen as conveying a sense of freedom and rebellion, the vehicles are more popular than many people realize. Throughout the country, there are over eight million registered motorcycles.
Motorcyclists are required to abide by state laws. If they fail to do so, they increase their risk of getting into an accident, as well as the chances of facing legal consequences like fines. So if you have a motorcycle or are planning on buying one in Illinois, it’s essential to know how to stay safe. Keep reading to learn more.
1) Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
If you’re looking to obtain a motorcycle license in Illinois, you must be at least 16 years of age. You also need to pass a written examination and an on-bike riding test. A motorcycle safety course can teach you everything you need to know to pass the tests and ride safely.
Information on the written test comes from the Illinois Motorcycle Operator Manual and the Illinois Rules of the Road Guidebook. It’s important to note that if you’re over 18 and you’ve passed the written portion of the test, you can bypass the ride-on test.
Taking a motorcycle safety course will not only teach you to drive defensively and help you avoid dangerous situations, but you may also be eligible for insurance discounts. You can learn more about tests and courses at your local Driver Service Center.
2) Know Your Bike
Whether you’re shopping for a motorcycle or are gifted one, it’s essential to know what type of bike it is. The most common types of motorcycles include:
- Power Cruiser
Some bikes may offer more stability, while others are faster or more cost-effective. For example, street bikes are some of the most easily recognized motorcycles around the world. This is because they can endure a lot of resistance and are built for speed. On the other hand, cruisers became popular in the United States in the 1930s and focus on easy rideability and shifting.
3) Obey Chicago’s Traffic Laws
To reduce your risk of getting into an accident and to avoid trouble with the police, there are specific laws you must obey when riding a motorcycle in Chicago. But, first, remember that riding a motorcycle in a crowded urban area is significantly different than on a rural highway.
While riders are not mandated to wear a helmet, wearing one is advisable. You must, however, wear eye protection unless the bike has a windscreen. You are required to have one rear-view mirror on the left side, right side, or both sides, as well as a passenger seat and footrest if you plan to carry a passenger. You are required to use your headlights during the daytime, and the handlebars have to be lower than your shoulders.
4) Wear a Helmet and Safety Gear
According to the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by nearly 70 percent and reduce the risk of death by more than 40 percent in the event of an accident. The right helmet can save your life if you are hit by a car.
As mentioned, Illinois riders are not required to wear a helmet, but choosing not to could mean certain death in the event of an accident. There are numerous helmets on the market, so it’s important to choose one that fits your head correctly and offers the protection you’re looking for.
5) Maintain Your Motorcycle
Like any vehicle, motorcycles need to be maintained to operate properly. Depending on your interest and skill level, you could learn to take care of your motorcycle yourself, or you may choose to defer to a mechanic to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Even if you take the bike to the shop for work, ensure you know how to check fluids, inspect the brakes, and operate the lights. If something doesn’t seem right, do not ride the vehicle.
Contact Thomas Law Offices
Even when you operate your motorcycle safely, there’s a chance you could get into an accident. If that happens to you and you believe someone else is responsible for the crash, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim.
The attorneys from Thomas Law Offices are here to help. We can evaluate your situation, explain your legal rights and options, and help you decide how best to proceed to obtain the compensation you need to move forward. Contact us today to learn more.
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