Recent economic factors have contributed to an increase of people choosing to ride motorcycles or scooters as a less expensive mode of transportation. Due to multiple factors, as the amount of new operators increases, the likelihood of crashes increases as well. Research shows over 90 percent of motorcycle riders involved in crashes were self-taught or learned from friends or family.
IDOT initiated the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program (CRSTP) in 1976 in an effort to reduce motorcycle injuries and deaths by offering training classes for motorcycle operators. This training program is one of only two in the nation that offers FREE motorcycle training.
However, the CRSTP is not IDOT's only endeavor to lower the fatality rate of motorcycle riders. Every year since 1983, May has been proclaimed Motorcycle Awareness Month by the Governor of Illinois to raise awareness of increased motorcycles on the roadway. Every year since 1987, throughout the month of May, the Windshield Washing Project schedules activities at rest stops in Illinois to raise awareness. This great program alerts the motoring public that warm weather brings out more motorcycles and that motorists need to be more aware of them on the roadways. In other words – Start Seeing Motorcycles. For a complete description of the Windshield Washing Project, click here.
In 2008, the program broadened its messages by introducing the “Don’t Drink and Ride” and “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaigns. “Don’t Drink and Ride” reminds motorcyclists of the dangers of mixing alcohol with riding. Alcohol contributes to approximately 40 percent of motorcycle fatalities.
“Start Seeing Motorcycles,” a common campaign found across the United States, is geared toward the general public to increase awareness of motorcycles. This sends a positive message to share the road with motorcyclists and be aware of their presence.
The most recent campaigns are “Gear Up - Ride Smart” and “Ride Legal in Illinois”. "Gear Up - Ride Smart” was introduced in 2011 to encourage riders to wear the proper gear and to ensure bikes are in good working order to decrease injury and fatalities.
"Ride Legal in Illinois” started in 2012 as a reaction to the number of motorcycle operators illegally operating their bikes without the proper classification.