ST. PAUL — Up to 30,000 motorcyclists are expected to participate in the 50th annual “Spring Flood Run” Saturday, April 18, marking the unofficial start of the motorcycle riding season in Minnesota. The route takes riders along the scenic Mississippi and St. Croix Valley roadways between the Twin Cities and Winona.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials urge motorists to look twice for motorcycles and riders to take responsibility for protecting themselves on the road.
Law enforcement agencies in southeast Minnesota will have extra patrols out during the event to ensure a safe riding environment. Minnesota State Patrol will have troopers patrolling the area as well.
“Just one bad decision could cost someone their life,” says Lt. Tiffani Nielson, Minnesota State Patrol. “We want motorcyclists riding responsibly and motorists sharing the road.”
The first motorcycle fatality of 2015 happened March 15. There have been two motorcycle deaths so far on Minnesota roads in 2015. According to preliminary reports, there were 44 motorcycle fatalities in 2014, which is down from 60 in 2013.
Spring also brings deadly hazards to motorcyclists including uneven pavement and sand and gravel at intersections and turns. Motorists are also re-acclimating to motorcycles on the road. DPS offers these safety tips:
- Watch for motorcycles and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.
- Due to the smaller size of motorcycles, their speed and distance is more difficult to judge.
- Give riders room and check blind spots. Pay attention and drive at safe speeds.
- Be prepared for inattentive drivers by staying focused on riding and keeping your speed in check.
- Wear the gear. Motorcyclists should wear a DOT-approved helmet and brightly-colored protective gear for visibility and protection.
- Don’t drink and ride. One-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired riders.
About the Minnesota Department of 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
- There are more than 236,000 registered motorcycles and more than 414,000 licensed operators in Minnesota.
- During the 2014 training season, MMSC trained more than 6,000 students statewide.
- New 2015 courses include 3-Wheel Basic Rider Course and Motorcycle Road Guard Certificate. A complete list of courses and descriptions is available online at motorcyclesafety.org.
- Follow MMSC on Twitter @MnDPS_MCSafety and “like” MMSC on Facebook.