Motorcycle riding can be a convenient, and exhilarating form of transport — and an increasingly popular pastime. Unfortunately, motorcycle crashes are all too common.
Motorcyclists are killed and disabled at alarming rates when compared to other types of passengers. This is often not due to any particular danger inherent in cycling. Instead, it reflects a failure by automobile drivers to take proper precautions to avoid devastating motorcycle accidents or, less frequently, a failure by the rider himself to understand the peculiar safety precautions and rules of the road applicable to cyclists.
The experienced motorcycle accident lawyers of Passen & Powell have previously written on the typical causes of motorcycle accidents, and the need for automobile drives to behave responsibly in order to avoid them. Today we look at the Illinois rules on motorcycles from the perspective of the rider himself.
Illinois is one of a small minority of states that does not mandate that riders wear helmets. The use of a helmet, however, is the single best step a rider can take to reduce the risk of death or life-altering brain injury should an accident occur.
No matter how skilled and careful the rider, he or she cannot prevent accidents caused by the negligence of drivers around him. While the lawyers of Passen & Powell can help these riders and their families obtain legal recovery, this cannot bring back what was lost. We urge all riders to wear helmets, at all times.
Moreover, the failure to wear a helmet can make legal recovery more difficult. Judges and juries are often reluctant to allow awards to cyclists riding without a helmet, even if the accident was demonstrably the fault of the automobile driver.
Although a helmet is not required, Illinois does require all riders to use eye protection. Riders can choose to fulfill this requirement by wearing sunglasses or goggles, or equipping their bike with a windscreen. And if a rider does choose to wear a helmet, helmet speakers can only be used for communication – not music or other entertainment.
All motorcycles must be equipped with a rearview mirror, which can be mounted on either the right or left side. All motorcycles must also be equipped with a muffler, which cannot be altered to cause it to amplify, rather than decrease, the noise of the bike. Unlike some states, Illinois does not require that cycles be outfitted with turn signals.
If the rider wishes to carry passengers, the bike must be equipped with both a passenger seat and a footrest. There is no age limit for motorcycle passengers in Illinois. Whether equipped for passenger use or not, the handgrips on the motorcycle’s handlebars cannot extend above shoulder height.
Unlike many states, Illinois does not require regular safety inspections for motorcycles registered in the state. Our experienced motorcycle death attorneys however, recommend that all riders subject their bike to a full safety inspection on a regular basis.
Use of Lanes
Illinois law does not permit lane splitting, the practice of avoiding or passing traffic by moving between lanes. The law in Illinois is silent, however, on the question of lane sharing, the practice of more than one rider riding side-by-side within the lane. This silence leads most experts to the conclusion that this practice is permitted and, indeed, it is the custom in the state.
Our experienced attorneys encourage all riders in the state to stay familiar with the rules and requirements in the state of Illinois. Careful observance of the rules can not only keep a rider safe, but also prevent him from sabotaging his own case, should an accident occur.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago motorcycle lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.