It has proved to be a deadly summer in Illinois for motorcyclists. In Peoria, four motorcyclists have been killed just since July 21.
The Peoria Star Journal reports that in that period the number of motorcycle deaths already have reached half the total number of motorcycle fatalities in 2010 in Peoria County and six bordering counties. There were also four additional bikers injured over that same period.
Ironically, some of the accidents occurred the same day as a bike safety awareness event was held. In 2010, Illinois had 129 motorcycle crashes resulting in fatalities.
Nothing More than A Traffic Ticket
The death of William Wiker Jr. and the police response incensed his son.
"The lady's going to get a ticket for running a red light, but that's it. She's not going to have to go to jail for killing my father," said William Wiker III.
The woman was cited for disobeying a traffic control device. The police say there isn't any more they can do, because the running of the stoplight was not intentional and no drugs or alcohol was involved.
Motorcycle riders have long felt drivers in cars and trucks don't respect them when they are riding. The "Start Seeing Motorcycle" campaign has long attempt to raise driver awareness of motorcycles.
Motorcycles have the disadvantage of being small and light, and these characteristics work against them when drivers are not paying attention.
It also works to the disadvantage of the riders, since they have no protection when a car crashes into them.
While the stereotype of the biker as young and wild exists, two of the rider killed recently, one was 56 and the other 63.
The Danger of Red Lights
Two riders were killed when an alleged drunk driver rear-ended them while they were waiting at a stop light. This accident points out the danger rider face, even when they are sitting still.
Drivers of other vehicles often simply don't see them at red lights and plow into them. A bill has passed the legislature and is waiting for the governor's signature that would allow bikers to go through red lights if they have not automatically switched for them in a reasonable time.
The sensors that trigger some traffic lights often are not sensitive enough to trigger with the presence of a cycle, and can leave a biker sitting for prolonged periods, exposed to the danger of being rear-ended.