ST. PAUL — More motorcyclists have died this year on Minnesota roads compared to last year at this time, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC). Twenty-six riders have lost their lives in 2013; there were 18 motorcycle deaths at this time last year.
Already in July five riders have died, including three on July 4 in two separate crashes. That follows a deadly June when 10 riders were killed, making it the deadliest month for riders in 2013.
So far this year, there have been 162 traffic fatalities in Minnesota, 16 percent of which are riders. There were 55 motorcyclist deaths in 2012.
DPS officials point to many of the same contributing factors for the rider deaths this year including motorcyclist’s error and failure to yield the right-of-way.
2013 Fatal Motorcycle Crash Facts
- Age: 46 percent of the motorcyclists killed were over the age of 50; 31 percent were under 30.
- Deer: Two of the fatal crashes involved a collision with a deer, a common trend within the last decade. During 2002-2012, 43 motorcyclists have been killed in a crash with a deer.
- Helmet Use: Of the 22 motorcyclists with helmet-use cited in crash reports, over half (15) were not wearing a helmet. Seven riders were wearing a helmet.
- Contributing Factors: Nearly half of the crashes involved another vehicle. In the motorcycle-only crashes, failure to negotiate a curve was cited eight times.
- Location: Over 60 percent of the crashes occurred in a rural area and over one-third in the 12-county metro area. Top four deadliest counties include:
- Hennepin: 4
- Dakota, Pine & Crow Wing: 2
MMSC Program Coordinator, Bill Shaffer, encourages motorists to share the roads, drive at safe speeds and look twice for motorcyclists.
He also says riders should wear full protective gear, including a DOT-approved helmet, brightly colored jacket, rider pants, boots and gloves. Most importantly, he encourages riders to get trained.
“Training is a life-saving option that teaches riders crash-avoidance techniques to stay safe on the road,” says Shaffer. “Any experience level is welcome; you can never get too much training as a new rider, returning rider or experienced rider.”
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management.
DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
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. It was created in the early 1980s to address record high motorcyclist fatalities.
The MMSC provides on-cycle and classroom rider training courses, develops awareness campaigns and informational materials, and coordinates third-party skills testing for motorcycle license endorsement through the Basic Rider Course and evening testing at select DVS Exam Stations.
Motorcycle safety is a component of Toward Zero Deaths (TZD), the state’s primary road safety initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes — education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.
Recent MMSC Activity and Statistics
- Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with more than 237,000 registered motorcycles and 405,000 licensed operators.
- 2012 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts reports 55 rider deaths, a 33 percent increase from 2011 and 14 percent of the total traffic deaths. The first time rider fatalities have gone up since 2008.
- Motorcycle rider training courses run April through October and are available for new and experienced riders – register at motorcyclesafety.org: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/mmsc/Pages/default.aspx.
- MMSC added two new courses to their 2013 curriculum, the SMARTrainer Plus Course and the BRC Refresher Course.
- 7,438 students took a rider training course in 2012 with the MMSC. In the last five years, more than 40,000 students have been trained.
- MMSC provides several pieces of motorcycle safety and training collateral, available to order, at no cost. Order materials: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/mmsc/Pages/default.aspx.
- Commissioner Mona Dohman appointed 15 to the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Task Force (MATF) for the 2013-2015 term. To learn more about what MATF does, visit: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/mmsc/about/Pages/advisory-committee.aspx.
- Follow MMSC on Twitter: @MnDPS_MCSafety.