Authorities warn drivers to be aware of motorcyclists hitting the roads

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Warmer weather brings motorcycles to the roadways, which means you really need to be aware of your surroundings to protect yourself and riders.

On Wednesday, north St. Louis County resident Shawn Ricks was killed after a truck pulled into his path while he was riding his motorcycle on Midland Boulevard.

The accident is a reminder to be aware of motorcycles on the road.

“You just need to be aware of your surroundings,” said Carl Donelson, owner of Donelson Cycles. “Look both ways and give the guy on a cycle a little extra room.”

Donelson said around 70 percent of motorcycle accidents are not the fault of riders.

“People pull in front of them, they run into the sides of them. Just not aware of a small vehicle,” he said.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, a time to remind all motorists to pay attention.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a rider himself, said 162 motorcyclists died in crashes in Illinois last year.

“Motorcycles are not easy to see,” Rauner said. “They don't have the size or mass of cars and trucks, so please be aware, cautious, and careful.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said to pay special attention when changing lanes and turning, being sure to look all directions and in mirrors and blind spots.

Donelson said he’s always concerned about people looking at their phones.

“The other day we were coming to work and a lady was driving with her elbow and eating a bowl of cereal,” he said. “They’re not paying attention to anything.”

As spring hits, it is usually the most dangerous time for motorcyclists because people haven’t seen bikes out on the road since winter began.