Motorcycle deaths reach 20 in state but still lower than last yearMotorcyclist fatalities have reached the 20-death mark for the year, according to the preliminary crash reports from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).
By: Staff Report, Alexandria Echo Press
Motorcyclist fatalities have reached the 20-death mark for the year, according to the preliminary crash reports from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).
This figure is 35 percent lower than the 31 deaths at this time last year. In 2009, there were 53 rider deaths, a significant drop from 72 deaths in 2008.
DPS says the trend of fewer deaths can be attributed to many factors, including: the recent surge of boomer-age riders becoming more seasoned and experienced, and less likely to crash; rider training, outreach efforts; enforcement efforts; as well as the economy (fewer purchasing bikes).
Despite the trend of fewer deaths, DPS officials say August and September can be deadly months for motorcycle riders. Officials urge motorcyclists to ride carefully and not to let down their guard. Riders are advised to wear protective gear, travel at safe speeds, pay attention and ride sober.
The state also advises that riders seek safety training, wear high-visibility riding gear, and keep a sharp eye out for deer. At least four riders—20 percent—have died this year in motorcycle-deer collisions.
Motorists are advised to watch carefully for motorcycles in traffic, and always check twice before turning or changing lanes. There are more motorcycles on the road now than ever — the number of registered bikes in Minnesota has reached an all-time high of more than 226,000.
Rider training and safety information is available from the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) at www.motorcyclesafety.org and www.highviz.org.
The MMSC is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths.TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response. The goal of the program is 400 or fewer deaths by the end of 2010. To-date, there have been 234 traffic deaths in Minnesota.