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IDOT says, "See Motorcycles"

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles McHenry County, Illinois

IDOT says, "See Motorcycles"

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
October 4, 2007

Have you been reading the recent reports of motorcyclists killed when drivers pull in front of them? Yet another cyclist was killed yesterday, when a young driver reportedly pulled in front of him on Queen Anne Road at Charles Road.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is promoting increased driver attention to motorcycles on Illinois roads. Recently, a large yellow banner reading "Start Seeing Motorcycles" was placed on Illinois Route 31 near Virginia Road. I hope the banner is moved around the county and not left in one spot.

The motorcyclist was eastbound on Charles Road, traveling toward McHenry. As a vehicle approaches Charles Road, there is a slight right curve and an intersection warning sign.

The southbound automobile driver, 17, was ticketed for failing to yield at the intersection. In layman's terms, this indicates that he pulled out in front of the motorcycle, resulting in the accident in which the motorcycle struck the passenger side of the car.

What causes an accident like this?

A 17-year-old driver (limited driving experience)?
Two young passengers in the car?
Loud stereo?
Cell phone in use? Texting? Reading or sending? Even just being held in one hand?
Late for school? Last time I checked, a 17-year-old and persons younger than 17 belong in school at the starting bell, which at Woodstock High School is 8:20AM. The accident occurred at 8:30AM and more than 15 minutes from WHS. Or were they Marian Central students? Or even registered students at all?
Did the driver ask a passenger whether the "coast (roadway to the right) was clear"?
Was the driver distracted by the passengers?
Did the driver make a full stop at the stop sign before starting to cross Charles Road?

And there are questions for the motorcyclist that will never be answered.
Was he traveling at or under the 55MPH speed limit?
As he approached the intersection, did he slow a little when he saw the southbound car?
To what extent, if any, did he anticipate that the driver might cross in front of him?
What evasive accident did he have in mind, as he approached the intersection?

Motorcycles, even big ones, can get "lost" (not seen) for a variety of reasons. Perhaps a westbound vehicle (car? truck? semi?) had just passed in front of Anthony Kick and, when he looked to the right, his view of the the motorcycle was blocked by the vehicle traveling west. Maybe the head of a passenger blocked his view.

I've had drivers pull out in front of me on country roads and highways, when I've been riding my motorcycle. I've been surprised by drivers who have changed lanes suddenly in front of me. Fortunately, I've never had a driver make a sudden left turn in front of me.

I'd like to say that I've been a pretty good driver on motorcycles for 40+ years. What I know is, I've been lucky.


A WHS student informed me that school was scheduled to start one hour after normal starting time that morning, and a different media reported that the car's driver and passengers were WHS students, not Marian Central students. And that the car might have been westbound on Charles Road and turned left in front of the motorcycle.
Full details might help drivers recognize hazardous driving situations and avoid driving actions that result in accidents.
October 5, 2007 7:25 AM

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