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Blog Archive: July 2019



A motorcyclist on a curvy road

Motorcycle deaths and how to avoid them

July 29

Summer in Minnesota is the perfect time to ride your motorcycle. Unfortunately, it is also the time when the highest number of motorcycle fatalities happen. In a nutshell, the more you ride, the more chances you have to crash – but there are things you can do about it, and many are hinted at in the statistics of fatal motorcycle crashes. But first, some overall numbers. So far in 2019, 23 motorcyclists have been killed in 22 crashes. And although that’s much better than this time last year (32 fatalities by July 29, 2018), we can all agree that even one death is too many...


Two lanes of traffic on a highway

Ready to learn the left-lane law?

July 25

It’s enough to drive a driver crazy: There you are on the freeway, going the speed limit on bone-dry roads with plenty of light, and the person in front of you is going slower than the flow of traffic. You’d love to pass them in the left lane, but it’s not an option, because there’s another driver camped out there, blocking you from passing. What’s a driver to do? The requirement to move over and allow vehicles to pass in the left lane has been law in Minnesota for many years. Effective Aug. 1, the current language of the law is modernized to account for today’s traffic...


Regional emergency managers joined HSEM Director Joe Kelly in a tour of one of two safe rooms at Camp Wilderness

For Boy Scouts and severe weather, the motto is "Be prepared."

July 22

Camping season here in Minnesota is wonderful: sleeping in the fresh air under the stars, enjoying the quiet, maybe doing a little fishing. But it happens to overlap with tornado season. So what do you do when the wind picks up, the sky turns green, and it sounds like a freight train is coming? What if the nearest tornado shelter is 20 miles away? That used to be the case for Camp Wilderness Boy Scout Camp. But for the past three years, they have worked with Hubbard County and...


A pedestrian crossing a street

Bike and pedestrian safety is everyone’s concern

July 18

If you think it’s exclusively up to bicyclists and pedestrians to keep themselves safe, think again. Drivers share that responsibility, too. For example, although bicyclist behaviors (such as not obeying a traffic signal) contribute to about half of all crashes with vehicles, driver behaviors (such as distraction) contribute to the other half. And considering that pedestrians and bicyclists make up almost 12 percent of all traffic fatalities every year, their safety is a significant issue. It doesn’t have to be a problem, though, and whether you walk, ride a bike, or drive, you can take steps to solve it...


A rider navigating a motorcycle training course

Motorcyclists, have you done your training this season?

July 15

Motorcycle training isn’t just for newbies. The summer months are when most motorcycle fatalities occur, so what better time to polish your crash-avoidance skills? With a training course from the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC), you’ll be ready to hit the road with confidence. Whether this is your first year as a motorcyclist, or whether you’re an old hand at riding, there’s a motorcycle training course for you. You don’t have to be a beginner to benefit from a motorcycle training course at one of the 25 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities across the state...


A hair under a microscope

How hair helps solve crimes

July 11

File under “Things you only think about when watching CSI:” Hair can help solve crimes. It may sound far-fetched, but it turns out you can tell a lot about a person by examining their hair. Just ask the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Law enforcement across the state can send lots of different evidence to the BCA for examination. And because humans shed about 100 hairs a day from their heads, hair sometimes ends up at crime scenes and, as such, is known as “trace evidence.” When an investigator finds hair at a crime scene or on a crime victim, they can send it...


A car driving in the rain without headlights on

Headlights: They’re not just for nighttime

July 8

When troopers pull motorists over for not having their lights on in inclement weather, the majority of them say they had no idea it was a law. Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is no excuse. There are three instances in which the law requires you to have your headlights and taillights on – and only one of them is nighttime. If that seems confusing, consider that you car’s lights serve two functions. The much more obvious of the two is to allow you to see where you’re going. But the less obvious is so that other motorists can see you...


A firecracker burning on the pavement

Fireworks: “Legal” and “safe” are not the same thing

July 1

Some fireworks are legal here in Minnesota. Some aren’t. But all of them can be dangerous. It’s a little more obvious with the illegal ones, which include anything that flies or explodes. Think firecrackers, bottle rockets, missiles, Roman candles, and mortars and shells. But even legal fireworks, such as snakes, party poppers, and cones or tubes that emit sparks, can cause serious damage and injury if not used properly. Fireworks aren’t for kids – that’s why you have to be at least 18 years old to buy them (and the people who sell them are required to check IDs)...