A highway safety advocacy group awarded Illinois its highest ranking. But the state still lost points. The new report card by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety gave Illinois' collection of traffic laws a very high grade with just one caveat, Illinois does not require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet:
"There's all kinds of research showing how effective motorcycle helmets are in preventing deaths and brain injuries, and Illinois needs to move forward and adopt that law."
That's Jackie Gillan, president of the lobbying group. Gillan says the number of motorcycle fatalities nationwide is disproportionately high, compared to the number of motorcycles on the road:
"Motorcyclists represent 14% of the total traffic fatalities, yet they only account for 3% of all registered vehicles."
There have been numerous attempts over the years to pass a helmet law in Illinois. They've been defeated, in part because of the efforts ABATE - a politically powerful group that describes itself as "dedicated to preserving the rights of all motorcyclists." ABATE says wearing a helmet should be a rider's choice. Illinois is one of just three states with no law requiring motorcycle helmets.
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