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Hard week for motorcyclists

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles McHenry County, Illinois

Hard week for motorcyclists

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 4, 2010

This past week was a hard week for area motorcyclists.

Yesterday afternoon a 58-year-old motorcyclist died at Randall and Miller Roads in Lake in the Hills. The motorcyclist was southbound, when a northbound driver turned left across his path. The newspaper article did not mention the position of the traffic lights. The rider, who was not wearing a helmet, tried to stop. There should have been witnesses who described exactly what happened.

Just why did the northbound driver turn left in front of the motorcyclist. Did the light turn yellow and he expected the motorcyclist to stop? Did he try to "beat" him on a green? Did he just not see him?

Early Friday morning a 24-year-old Woodstock Fire/Rescue District trainee died after crashing his motorcycle. He too was not wearing a helmet.

A helmet is no guarantee of survival, but my opinion is that it could substantially change the odds in the operator's favor.

Last week a corrections officer of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department was reportedly involved in a motorcycle crash and was taken to Rockford Memorial Hospital. Details have not emerged as to the location (Rockford area?) or how the crash occurred.

And then I've been told that a McHenry County sheriff's deputy was involved in an off-duty motorcycle crash with a tree near Wonder Lake. The deputy may have been riding a motorcycle borrowed from a dealership.

Motorcycle operators are required to have a special endorsement on their driver's licenses, indicating that they have passed the Illinois State written and operating requirements for driving a motorcycle on public highways.

Did all those motorcyclists have the valid "M" endorsement on their licenses?

The riding test at the DMV is a "doozy." It's a small, short, tight course that is virtually impossible for a rider on a full-size motorcycle rider to pass. Many riders who go to the DMV for the test will borrow a small motorcycle for the test.

The DMV ought to modify the course but doesn't. The course encourages "cheating" by testing on a small bike, and then going right back out of the everyday bike - say, a large Harley or Victory or Honda or (you name it). The rider, if experienced, is proficient but just cannot demonstrate that proficiency on the tight State course behind the DMV.

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