Bill seeks to add motorcycle safety to drivers ed

For parents everywhere the thought of your teen getting behind the wheel for the first time can be scary enough, but what about putting them on a motorcycle.

An Illinois lawmaker is seeking to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities, by making rider safety a priority in the classroom.

For the last 13 years Jason Karns has taught Drivers Ed at Herrin High School, and he admits it’s not always easy.

“I think drivers ed is a little more nerve wracking than me teaching football,” said Jason Karns.

The students aren’t what make Karns nervous.

“The cars are just so much faster, and so much bigger out there on the roadway and you have so many obstacles they have to overcome,” said Karns.

One of the biggest obstacles are motorcycle riders, which are 30% more likely to be killed in a traffic accident.

“I’ve had many times that a car has tried to just switch over into a lane and they come right on to you,” said Shad Zimbro. “You’ve just got to pay attention for motorcycles.”

Illinois House Bill 1410 is asking lawmakers to start seeing riders by adding motorcycle safety to drivers ed.

“You’ve got to think about safety,” said Zimbro. “There are more motorcycles out on the road now than there has ever been.”

“It would probably be interesting for me because I would probably enjoy it, but it’s difficult enough trying to teach a young male or female now in this time and age to drive,” said Karns. “Teaching a motorcycle safety course would be difficult.”

“They always think about how they get nervous around a big semi, or another car, but that little motorcycle coming through there could be very devastating if you hit a motorcyclist,” said Zimbro.

The Illinois High School and College Drivers Education Association is lobbying against the bill, which has already made its way to the House of Representatives School Curriculum & Policies Committee in Springfield.

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