Editorial - Roads especially dangerous for motorcyclists nowThere are more than 400,000 of them out there but not enough people are seeing them. They’re motorcycle drivers. This past August was a deadly one in Minnesota for motorcyclists. Eleven riders were killed in crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).
There are more than 400,000 of them out there but not enough people are seeing them.
They’re motorcycle drivers.
This past August was a deadly one in Minnesota for motorcyclists. Eleven riders were killed in crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).
That puts the total number of motorcycle related deaths for the year at 40. At this time last year, there were 29 rider deaths.
The statistics should cause all drivers, including those on motorcycles, to be more cautious out there. Motorcycle deaths account for 17 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities this year. Of the state’s 368 traffic fatalities in 2011, 42 were riders, which accounted for 11 percent of Minnesota’s total traffic deaths.
Sadly, one of the more recent crashes – a head-on collision between two motorcycles near St. Cloud on August 30 killed both drivers, including Larry Sorenson of West Union. Another motorcyclist ran into him while trying to pass a vehicle in Benton County.
Yet another bad crash happened this past Saturday when a motorcyclist with the Lakeland Hospice Ride drifted across the centerline on Douglas County Road 7 near Farwell and was struck by a vehicle. He was airlifted from the scene with serious leg injuries and is expected to recover.
Bill Shaffer, program coordinator with the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center, encourages motorists to share the road and look twice for motorcycles in traffic as the autumn riding season can be just as deadly. “Riders must shoulder responsibility for protecting themselves. Ride sober, keep your speed in check, and make yourself visible to drivers,” he said. He also emphasized the need for riders to get training.
Motorcycle ridership is at record high levels in the state right now, partly because of the higher cost of gas. Riders and drivers should pay extra attention to one another. DPS offers these safety tips for motorists and riders to ensure a safe riding environment:
--Motorists are advised to watch for motorcycles, and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.
--Riders are advised to wear protective gear, pay attention and ride sober. DPS advises that riders take safety training courses. More information can be found at www.motorcyclesafety.org.
--Travel at safe speeds and stay focused on driving. Speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle crashes.
This fall promises to offer beautiful scenic drives for motorcycle riders and other motorists. But it’s important to make the road and driver safety your top priority.