Safety advocates are making a push to protect motorcyclists. The campaign is to start seeing motorcyclists, but IDOT safety chief Pat O’Brien says what car and truck drivers don’t see is the obstacles that motorcycle riders encounter.

“If you’re on a motorcycle, a patch of dirt or some uneven pavement or a bump can be a major issue for that motorcycle. For you in a car or truck, it’s just gonna be a minor annoyance, so always leave the bike a little room to maneuver,” he said.

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Motorcycle use is growing. Registrations in Illinois are up 73 percent since 1999, and fatalities in 2010 were up 27 percent since then, but they’re down since 2007. The cops credit conscientious car and truck driving.

Safety advocates says the meaning of the “start seeing motorcycles” slogan is for car and truck drivers to look carefully in blind spots, and to recognize that because motorcycles are small, drivers of other vehicles may underestimate their speed.