Weather Forecast


May is deadly month for motorcyclists; seven killed in Minnesota

ST. PAUL -- Public safety officials remind motorcyclists and motorists to drive carefully and share the road following a deadly month for riders in May when seven were killed. There have been 13 rider deaths to-date this year, compared to five at this time in 2011.

Last month, one-third of the state's deaths were motorcyclists. In a typical year, riders account for 10 percent of deaths.

This week the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) launches a safety and awareness campaign to encourage motorists to look twice for motorcyclists, featuring a new TV spot, which dramatically illustrates the life-threatening consequences that can occur when drivers are unaware of motorcyclists.

This campaign also brings new life to the iconic bumper sticker "Start Seeing Motorcyclists" -- developed by MMSC in 1985 -- which will run on bus sides and billboards in the metro, Duluth and Rochester.

"Nearly half of all motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. The most common factors attributed to other drivers are inattention and failure to yield the right-of-way", according to Bill Shaffer, MMSC program coordinator.

DPS offers these life-saving safety tips for motorists and motorcyclists:

--Look Twice -- motorists should check their blind spots, as motorcycles are easily hidden in traffic, and always take a second look over your shoulder - don't rely solely on your mirrors.

--Share the road -- motorists and motorcyclists should keep a safe distance from all vehicles, especially other motorcyclists.

--Drive at safe speeds and stay focused on driving--speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle crashes.

--Wear the gear -- motorcyclists should wear brightly colored protective gear and a helmet for visibility and protection.

--Don't drink and ride -- one-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired riders.

Preliminary reports indicate 42 rider deaths in 2011.

About the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center

The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) provides high-quality rider education, training and licensing to prevent motorcycle crashes and the resulting fatalities and injuries.

The education and training provided through MMSC is through on-cycle and classroom rider training courses; media relations, events, campaigns and informational materials; and third-party skills testing for motorcycle license endorsement through the Basic Rider Course and evening motorcycle testing project at select DVS Exam Stations.

The MMSC was created from a state statute to address the record high motorcyclist fatalities in the 1980s. The law also created a state dedicated Motorcycle Safety Fund, which comes directly from Minnesota motorcyclists through a portion of motorcycle endorsement fees.

Recent MMSC Activity

Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with almost 230,000 registered motorcycles and more than 404,000 licensed operators.

Preliminary reports indicate 42 rider deaths in 2011, down from a 24-year high of 72 in 2008.

Governor Mark Dayton signed Proclamation of Motorcycle Safety for state of Minnesota on May 14, 2012.

MMSC had a presence during the Motorcycle Awareness Month Washout Events, taking place at rest areas across Minnesota.

MMSC began its own Twitter page, which can be viewed at!/MnDPS_MCSafety.