The Gear Up, Ride Smart Program

Apr 06, 2014 View Comments by

The Gear Up, Ride Smart ProgramAs the summer riding season approaches it’s time to get excited about hitting the road again, but also a time to remember to always be safe. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association have teamed up to bring The Gear Up, Ride Smart program to their state. Illinois and Pennsylvania are the only two states to offer motorcycle safety classes free to all licensed residents and Gear Up, Ride Smart is intended to encourage Illinois motorcyclists to take advantage of the opportunity. As the name implies, the program also promotes the use of full riding gear at all times (helmet, jacket, pants, boots, and gloves), which is somewhat ironic since Illinois is one of only two states (the other is Iowa) with absolutely no helmet requirements whatsoever (most states at least have an age limit below which helmets are mandatory). The program is the result of growing concern within the IDOT over the increasing number of motorcycle fatalities within the state. Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider says, “We want to eliminate fatalities on Illinois roadways, and motorcyclists can help by ensuring they are wearing the proper gear, taking a training or refresher course as needed, and not drinking and driving.”

Even though Illinois and Pennsylvania have the nation’s only statewide free rider training programs, local county and city law enforcement and other organizations often offer similar services. It’s a good idea to see what’s available in your area and take advantage of it.

What are your plans to prepare for riding season?

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