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Our View: Motorcycle safety must be addressed

Published: Thursday, June 5, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

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There have been too many headlines recently involving motorcycle accidents, most notably Sunday’s involving a Cary man who died near Marengo after he was hit by a pickup truck.

William Hurley, 55, was going east on a motorcycle on Route 20 about 9 a.m. Sunday when he collided with a Chevy pickup truck driven by Alifonso Morales of Marengo.

Morales was waiting at a stop sign to turn left onto Route 20 from Meyer Road, when he proceeded into the intersection after he thought it was clear, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hurley, who was wearing a helmet, was unable to avoid Morales.

Since Sunday’s incident, a 46-year-old McHenry man suffered serious injuries in unincorporated McHenry on Tuesday after a car turned left in front of him. The motorcyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, swiped the car’s passenger side and was ejected from his motorcycle.

Also on Tuesday, an Elgin man was injured in Algonquin when he lost control of his motorcycle and struck a curb. He was not wearing a helmet.

Two people were taken to the hospital Sunday after a motorcycle accident in Lakemoor. Early last month, a 19-year-old Fox River Grove man died in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash in Barrington.

These incidents stress the need for motorcycle safety. Motorcyclists and those who share the road with motorcyclists must take extreme caution on the roads.

In addition to motorcyclists knowing and practicing the rules of the road, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation lists on its website five key messages for riders:

• Get trained and licensed;

• Wear protective gear – all the gear, all the time – including a helmet manufactured to the standards set by the department of transportation;

• Ride unimpaired by alcohol or other drugs;

• Ride within your own skill limits;

• Be a lifelong learner by taking refresher rider courses.

Of course, all the helmets and safety classes in the world will not protect a motorcyclist from reckless automobile drivers. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has these tips for automobile drivers regarding motorcycles:

• Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections;

• Allow more following distance for motorcycles;

• Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them;

• Don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.

With a common-sense approach to motorcycle safety for riders and automobile drivers, we, hopefully, can reverse the recent trend of motorcycle accidents.

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