- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - As temperatures warm up, motorcycle advocates are urging riders to be safe when they hit the road this spring and summer.

The Illinois Department of Transportation and other motorcycle advocates are kicking off their “Gear Up - Ride Smart” campaign.

They’re urging riders to make sure bikes are in proper condition, use high-visibility clothing and enroll in free motorcycle training classes. They’re also reminding motorcyclists to not drink and drive.

Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says it’s important for riders to take these precautions because they’re at a higher risk for crashes.

Transportation officials say 3 percent of registered motorists are bikers. But motorcycle deaths account for more than 15 percent of all vehicle fatalities. Officials also say about half of all motorcycle deaths involve only the motorcyclist.