Motorcycle fatalities down statewide
SPRINGFIELD -- Motorcycle fatalities decreased by nearly 30 percent so far in 2014, according to Illinois Department of Transportation data.
Sixty motorcycle riders were killed between January and July of this year, compared to 84 fatalities during the same period in 2013.
Three people died in motorcycle accidents in Sangamon County from January to July in both 2014 and 2013. Only one person was killed in Macon County during the first seven months of the year, compared to three last year.
But Morgan County has seen the most significant decrease in the area, according to the data. Five people died in motorcycle crashes in 2013, and no one has been killed this year.
Bob Myers, legislative coordinator for a motorcyclist rights group, told The State Journal-Register that any number of fatalities is "more than any of us want."
He said people should also look at the number of registered motorcycles on the road, instead of only paying attention to the number of riders killed.
Data from the Illinois secretary of state's office show slightly fewer motorcyclists on Illinois roads this year. There were 360,188 registered bikes on the road this year, down from 360,883 last year.
"It's an inherently dangerous recreation for some people," Myers said. "But for some people it's our main mode of transportation. We assume those risks."
Increasing speed limits on Illinois interstates to match those throughout the country makes roads safer for motorcyclists, according to Myers. A law that increased the speed limit on the state's rural interstates went into effect earlier this year.
"We didn't jump out and lobby (the law) or anything, but we supported it," Myers said. "All the states around us already have a 70 mph speed limit. We were in favor of equalizing the speed for all the vehicles."