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With Spring in the Air, Two Wheel Travelers Take Care


Although it does not seem like it here in mid-April in Northern Illinois with temps in the 30s and snow traces on the ground, it is Spring. That means that folks will be out on two wheels on the streets and roads, both motorized and self-propelled. That means drivers in vehicles need to be on the lookout. It also means the cyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts need to be aware and make themselves visible as well.

Motorcyclists and bicyclists have an equal right to the road in Illinois, but that does not mean they are treated with equal respect at all times. Cyclists of all types need to follow the traffic laws. Ride with traffic, and obey traffic controls. Yield where required. Signal your intentions in travel. Wear high visibility clothing. If on a motorized bike, you know you need a headlamp on at all times in traffic. Make sure your brakes and turn signals function. Assume that the other driver is not aware of you or does not recognize you. Make eye contact where you can.

On a bicycle, again wear high vis gear. Place a flashing red tail light on your bike, and possibly a flashing headlight as well, in daylight conditions. Do not ride a bicycle at night without a headlight and tail light. Wear a helmet. Get a wrist “Road ID” or carry some other means of identification with contact information for family members who might need to be notified in the event of a collision. Keep a cell phone with you.

If you are involved in a collision, contact the police or sheriff’s office that has jurisdiction over the area in which the collision took place in order that the matter can be investigated and a report prepared. Get checked out in the emergency room — do not decline the ambulance if you think you may have sustained an injury. Do not give a statement to the insurer for the responsible driver as it is bound to cause you problems. Notify your own insurance company and submit your medical expenses to your insurer (auto and/or health) for the time being: your attorney will sort it all out later. Do not speak to anyone other than the investigating officers, the medical personnel treating you, your own insurance company representatives, and your own attorney. Get the names and contact information from witnesses, and if appropriate, have someone document the scene with digital photographs from your mobile or their mobile phone. Get photos of the damage to the bike/vehicle involved. Secure the advice of counsel sooner rather than later. Plenty of cases have been damaged as a result of a layperson trying to venture into the claims process on their own without counsel.

Good luck. Enjoy yourselves out there and ride safe!