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On The Road with the Motorcyclists

Motorcyclists have reputations as having either a “bad boy” attitude or a “rich boy” attitude. But the truth is that there is no “attitude” at all. All types of people enjoy jumping on a motorcycle. For some people, a freedom from metal and the enclosure of a car  gives the rider a sense of being different. Not better, but different. As you drive to your summer hot spots, remember that motorcyclists have the same rights of the road.

Motorcycle License

However, motorcyclists must have special endorsement for operating a motorcycle. All licenses in Illinois are handled by the IL Secretary of State office. In order to legally operate a motorcycle in Illinois, you must have a valid Illinois Class M license or permit.

  • Class M denotes any motorcycle over 150 cc.
  • Class L denotes a motor-driven cycle with less than 150 cc displacement.

To obtain your permit, go to your local IL SOS Driver Services office and:

  • Present your IL driver’s license (if applicable);
  • Present proof of identification and Illinois residency (if you do not yet have an IL driver’s license);
  • Submit a permit application;
  • Complete any required exams; and
  • Pay the applicable permit fee. The fee for a first time motorcyclist is $10. A renewal costs $5.

Automobile drivers need a license in every state. Most states require the driver to have at least liability insurance. States that require insurance on automobiles will have fines if you are caught driving without it. Fines range in price and depend on the state. Insurance prices also vary depending upon your driving record and your age. Most insurances will recommend full coverage however, the state you live has a minimum requirement to keep you from getting a fine.

The Illinois insurance laws include motorcycles and motor-driven vehicles. Additionally, Illinois is an ”at fault” state. Without the appropriate motorcycle insurance coverage, you could face fines, jail time, and severe financial hardship after an accident.

Car and Motorcycle Accidents

Use caution when driving in any situation. But if you see motorcycles, remember they have different safety features than what you have in your car.

A car accident occurs more significantly within 5 miles of your home. A motorcycle accident is also more apt to happen close to home than on the road. So being aware of safety and being cautious are of utmost importance when driving with motorcycles on the road.

  • Use defensive driving tactics. Stay alert of everyone on the road.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings. Check all your mirrors and the activity around you while driving.
  • Keep a close eye on who and what you drives next to you.
  • Know where the vehicles are. Motorcycles can hide behind larger cars and almost every truck.
  • Use your turn signals for lane changes.
  • Make sure that all the lights on your vehicle work.

A motorcycle accident can happen at any time. A car accident can also occur at anytime and anywhere. The two together can be fatal. Key word in both of the last sentences is “accident”. If you or someone you love has been involved in a car or motorcycle accident, please call an attorney.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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