Motorcyclists rally for safety

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND)- Motorcyclists from around Illinois gathered Sunday for ABATE of Illinois’ annual Safety and Awareness Rally.

Last year, 162 people died in motorcycle-related crashes in Illinois, organizers said. The event aims to make drivers of other vehicles more aware of motorcyclists and to help educate motorcyclists on safety.

“We’re seeing a rise in motorcycle fatalities, particularly at intersections,” said Josh Witkowski, ABATE’s state legislative coordinator. “The number one thing we hear is ‘I didn’t see them.’ Well, take a look at any intersection where people are stopped: you can see them checking Facebook, text messages, emails … They don’t see us and we lose riders because of it.”

Witkowski said motorcyclists are also concerned about the prospect of autonomous or driverless vehicles.

“They’re on the road in California. They’re on the road in Arizona. We’ve already seen accidents with motorcycles involving autonomous vehicles not seeing them,” Witkowski said. “There’s only one autonomous vehicle company that’s working with motorcyclists … We feel motorcyclists and any human-driven vehicle should be part of that conversation.”

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