Owning and driving a motorcycle can be a thrilling and satisfying experience. However, motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see, and motorcycle accidents are far deadlier than automobile accidents. In fact, although crashes involving motorcycles accounted for less than 1% of total crashes in Illinois, they account for over 12% of all fatal crashes.
This article discusses the steps for obtaining your Illinois motorcycle license (Class M license) as well as some tips to protect yourself from dangerous drivers while you are on the road as an Illinois motorcycle rider.
Do I need a license to drive a motorcycle in Illinois?
In Illinois, drivers must obtain an Class L license or Class M license before they can operate a motorcycle. A Class L license allows drivers to operate any motorcycle with less than 150cc displacement, while Class M licenses allow drivers to operate any motor driven cycle. Moped drivers require a valid driver’s license but do not require an Illinois motorcycle license, whether that is a Class L license or a Class M license.
Obtaining these proper certifications is essential. Not only is it illegal to operate a motorcycle without a license – it is dangerous, too.
How do I get a motorcycle license in Illinois?
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How to Get Motorcycle License in Illinois
Fortunately, it is easy to obtain your Illinois motorcycle license if you already have a valid driver’s license. To get your Illinois motorcycle license, you will need to:
Attend an Illinois Department of Transportation Motorcycle Rider Education Course.
Show your valid Illinois driver’s license.
Show your certificate of completion of your Motorcycle Rider Education Course
If you are under 18, you will also need to pass a Rider Skill Test.
$10 license fee.
You may also need to pass a vision exam, so do not forget to bring any corrective lenses you need.
If you are thinking of riding a motorcycle for the first time it is highly recommended that you complete an IDOT motorcycle safety course or some kind of approved motorcycle training course. Completing a motorcycle training course as part of getting your license or permit can make a world of difference to not just your safety on the road as a rider in the state of Illinois but also allow you to enjoy riding even more. These course can also help prepare you for the written and driving parts of getting your license or motorcycle permit.
Most Common Forms of Motorcycle Accidents
Over half of all motorcycle accidents are caused by automobiles entering a motorcyclist’s right of way. Oftentimes, a motorist will not even see you as they enter the intersection. Always be aware of your surroundings, operate with your headlights on, and avoid sudden changes in speed or position. Always come to a full stop and stop signs, and if you are entering a blind intersection, stay in the left portion of your lane and edge forward to the cross traffic to confirm no traffic is coming.
Parked Cars and Doorings
Inattentive parked drivers present a host of dangers. They may open their automobile doors, step out from between cars, or even pull out of the parking spot without checking for traffic. Stay to the left portion of your lane when passing parked cars to reduce your risk of an accident. If you see someone beginning to pull out in your right of way, slow down and sound your horn to alert them you are there.
Lane Changes and Mergers
Drivers may have difficulty seeing you, especially if you are in the blind spot of their mirrors. Maneuver yourself so that you have maximum visibility. If someone is trying to merge onto a highway, slow down and change lanes if possible. Drive with your headlights on to increase visibility.
You have no control over what other drivers will do while on the road. Always maintain a safe distance and operate in a portion of the lane that maximizes visibility. If you need to slow down, flash your brake light before you slow down to catch driver’s attention. Always use turn signals, check your mirrors and turn your head to confirm there is no interfering traffic when changing lanes. If you need to brake and swerve to avoid a hazard, never do both at the same time. To maintain control, always brake then swerve or swerve then brake.
Due to their size and vulnerability, motorcycle accidents are especially dangerous. Motorcycle fatalities represent a highly disproportionate number of total accidents in Illinois (0.8% of all crashes but 13.6% of all fatalities). One of the most common forms of motorcycle injury is a traumatic brain injury. Reduce your risk of traumatic brain injury by wearing a full helmet and maintain your distance from other drivers – you cannot control how others on the road will behave.
Other common forms of motorcycle injuries are road burns, pelvic fractures, spinal injuries, limb amputations, and nerve and muscle sprains and strains. Remember – motorcyclists have the same rights of the road as any other driver.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you should speak with an attorney so that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our motorcycle lawyers at The Kryder Law Group, LLC are ready help you get the recovery you need and deserve.
Safety Tips to Avoid Accidents
Keep Your Distance
The best protection you can have against dangerous drivers is to stay away from them. If an inattentive driver swerves or changes lanes without looking, distance will give you the space and time to avoid an accident.
Motorcycles are more difficult for automobiles to see, and a distracted driver may not bother to see you at all. Position yourself in the portion of the lane where you are most likely to be seen. If there are hazards to your right, then stay in the left portion of your lane. If there are hazards to your left, then stay in the right portion of your lane. Keep your headlights on so you are easier to see.
The three second rule applies to both automobiles and motorcyclists. Unfortunately, you cannot control whether other drivers choose to follow this rule. If an automobile if tailgating you, change lanes and let them pass. When someone passes you, stay in the middle portion of your lane so you do not get too close to the passing vehicle and so you have time to react if the driver makes a dangerous maneuver.
Wear a helmet!
The number one cause of death or serious injury in motorcycle crashes are head injuries. While not required under Illinois law, a full face helmet with a chin bar covers the entire head and offers the most protection to your head and neck. You cannot control what others will do on the road, but you can always take steps to reduce your own risk of injury.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, protect your rights and contact an attorney. One of our experienced Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers can review your case for free and help you determine what damages you may be able to recover from your accident. Call us today!