Residents 'Start Seeing Motorcyles' in good weather

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

The Illinois State Police, in an effort to reduce motorcycle fatalities, is reminding motorists to “Start Seeing Motorcycles” and to be alert for the increased presence of motorcyclists sharing the roadway with them. 

With the early onset of good weather and the high gasoline prices, there are already a large number of motorcycles on the road.  

In 2011, the five county area of ISP District 08 (Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Stark, and Marshall counties) experienced motorcycle crashes which resulted in 8 fatalities and 129 injuries.  ISP District 08 hopes to reduce motorcycle fatalities and injuries by increasing safety education and enforcement efforts that specifically target motorcycle safety and license violations.

The following are motorcycle related laws that are listed in the Illinois Vehicle Code:

Driver’s Licenses

In Illinois a motorcycle operator is required to possess the proper driver’s license classification to operate a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on the roadways.

There are two driver’s license classifications for motorcycles.

A “Class L” license is for any motor-driven cycle with less than a 150cc displacement engine.

A “Class M” license is for any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle.

A moped may be operated with any current, valid driver’s license of any classification. However, all four criteria under the definition of a moped must be met, otherwise it is a motor-driven cycle and a “Class L” license is required. Some small scooters may be classified as mopeds if they meet all of the criteria.

Motorcycle Safety Laws:

Riding on motorcycles. (625 ILCS 5/11-1403): (a) A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto, and such operator shall not carry any other person nor shall any other person ride on a motorcycle unless such motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if designed for 2 persons, or upon another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle at the rear or side of the operator.

    (b) A person shall ride upon a motorcycle only while sitting astride the seat, facing forward, with one leg on each side of the motorcycle.

    (c) No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars higher than the height of the shoulders of the operator when the operator is seated in the normal driving position astride that portion of the seat or saddle occupied by the operator.

Operation on one wheel. (625 ILCS 5/11-1403.2): No person shall operate a motorcycle, motor driven cycle, or moped on one wheel.

Special equipment for persons riding motorcycles, motor driven cycles or mopeds. (625 ILCS 5/11-1404): (a) The operator of a motorcycle, motor driven cycle or moped and every passenger thereon shall be protected by glasses, goggles or a transparent shield.

    (b) For the purposes of this Section, glasses, goggles, and transparent shields are defined as follows:

   "Glasses" means ordinary eye pieces such as spectacles or sunglasses worn before the eye, made of shatter-resistant material. Shatter-resistant material, as used in this Section, means material so manufactured, fabricated, or created that it substantially prevents shattering or flying when struck or broken.

  "Goggles" means a device worn before the eyes, the predominant function of which is protecting the eyes without obstructing peripheral vision. Goggles shall provide protection from the front and sides, and may or may not form a complete seal with the face.

   "Transparent shield" means a windshield attached to the front of a motorcycle that extends above the eyes when an operator is seated in the normal, upright riding position, made of shatter-resistant material, or a shatter-resistant protective face shield that covers the wearer's eyes and face at least to a point approximately to the tip of the nose.

    (c) Contact lenses are not acceptable eye protection devices.

Required equipment on motorcycles. (625 ILCS 5/11-1405): Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passenger.

When lighted lamps are required. (625 ILCS 5/12-201): When operated upon any highway in this State, every motorcycle shall at all times exhibit at least one lighted lamp, showing a white light visible for at least 500 feet in the direction the motorcycle is proceeding. However, in lieu of such lighted lamp, a motorcycle may be equipped with and use a means of modulating the upper beam of the head lamp between high and a lower brightness. No such head lamp shall be modulated, except to otherwise comply with this Code, during times when lighted lamps are required for other motor vehicles…Every motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer shall also exhibit at least 2 lighted lamps, commonly known as tail lamps, which shall be mounted on the left rear and right rear of the vehicle so as to throw a red light visible for at least 500 feet in the reverse direction…all motorcycles need be equipped with only one such tail lamp.

Mirrors. (625 ILCS 5/12-502): Every motor vehicle, operated singly or when towing another vehicle, shall be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of such motor vehicle.

Horns and warning devices. (625 ILCS 5/12-601): (a) Every motor vehicle when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet, but no horn or other warning device shall emit an unreasonable loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation give audible warning with his horn but shall not otherwise use such horn when upon a highway.

Mufflers, prevention of noise. (625 ILCS 5/12-602): Every motor vehicle driven or operated upon the highways of this State shall at all times be equipped with an adequate muffler or exhaust system in constant operation and properly maintained to prevent any excessive or unusual noise. No such muffler or exhaust system shall be equipped with a cutout, bypass or similar device. No person shall modify the exhaust system of a motor vehicle in a manner which will amplify or increase the noise of such vehicle above that emitted by the muffler originally installed on the vehicle, and such original muffler shall comply with all the requirements of this Section.

Illegal handlebars on motorcycle. (625 ILCS 5/1403(c)):  No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars higher than the height of the shoulders of the operator when the operator is seated in the normal driving position astride that portion of the seat occupied by the operator.

During the spring, summer, and fall months, District 08 Troopers will be focusing enforcement efforts using directed patrols and saturation patrols to specifically target motorcycle safety and license violations.

It is imperative that all riders and parents understand the importance of safe and responsible motorcycle use, stated ISP District 08 Commander Lieutenant Mike Welsh. A crash involving a motorcycle far too often results in life altering injuries or death. Passenger vehicle crashes result in injury about 20 percent of the time, while in contrast; motorcycle crashes result in injury or death about 80 percent of the time.