by: Alexis Carpello
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Warmer weather may be the reason you’re seeing more motorcyclists on the road.
The first rides may be the most dangerous for motorcyclists because drivers have to readjust to having them back on the road.
Awareness tends to have to be built back up every year.
“We’re hard to be seen sometimes,” said Kegel Harley Davidson General Sales Manager, Johnny Alex. “You might not be ready for us this time of year, we’re ready for you as riders, we’re well aware of the dangers of riding a motorcycle and the way people have phones and distractions these days it’s really easy to not notice us.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration roughly 5,000 U.S. motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2018.
“All we ask is that you take that one extra second at the stop sign or before you change lanes or anything that you’re doing driving a car remember your friends are out there on motorcycles too,” Alex said.
“I think motorcyclists actually work a little harder than a traditional motorist to try and prevent any kind of accident from happening,” said Kegel Harley Davidson General Manager, Eric Johnson.
They believe defensive driving should be used by all drivers.
“It’s not one or the other’s fault. It should be both of our responsibility to provide a safe space to transport ourself across town,” Alex said.
Although texting and driving is illegal in Illinois, Johnson said he still sees it happening.
“We still see a lot of cellphone use going on with drivers that are looking down in their laps at their device instead of up through the windshield where they should be looking,” he said.
So what exactly should you do while sharing the road with a motorcycle?
“First off knowing where they are in relation to your vehicle, knowing how far away they are, and just being aware and safety conscious, and giving everybody the proper amount of space,” Johnson said. “Motorcycles can stop more quickly than a car or truck or SUV can.”
Both Johnson and Alex suggest that it’s important for riders to wear the proper gear too, that includes a helmet.
Also, if your bike has been sitting in the garage all winter, Alex says it’s important to test it out and make sure everything works properly before taking it out for a spin.