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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Stephanie Waegener  651-201-7566
stephanie.waegener@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2014
Be Ready To Ride: Rider Training Season Begins April
Safety & Training Information Available at Donnie Smith Show this Weekend
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The first rider death of 2014 underscores the importance of being ready to ride. After a long winter, warmer weather is on its way and so is motorcycle traffic. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) is urging riders of all skill levels to take a training course following the second earliest rider fatality in Minnesota. A 30-year-old man died March 11 when he was ejected from his motorcycle after hitting a pothole while travelling at illegal and unsafe speeds.
 
Preliminary reports indicate 60 riders lost their lives in 2013, a seven percent increase from 2012 the first year since 2008 rider fatalities went up. Rider deaths accounted for 16 percent of Minnesota traffic deaths last year.
 
“After a deadly year, it’s up to both riders and drivers to reduce these tragedies,” says Bill Shaffer of the MMSC. “Riders must shoulder the responsibility for protecting themselves and the first step is to take a rider training course.”
 
Training Courses for New and Experienced Riders
 
Motorcycle rider training is an affordable option that teaches crash-avoidance techniques and hones critical riding skills.
 
Motorcycle training information will be presented at the Donnie Smith Bike Show March 29–30 at the St. Paul River Centre. A complete course listing is online at motorcyclesafety.org. Courses run April through October and include the Basic Rider Course, the essential beginning rider course, and the Civilian Police Motorcycle Course, where experienced riders can learn the same techniques used by police motor officers.
 
Courses are available at 30 campuses throughout Minnesota, including: Duluth, Grand Marais, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester, St, Cloud and Twin Cities area.
Without proper training, new riders are more likely to be involved in a crash. Experienced riders also benefit from additional training to hone critical skills, including countersteering and emergency braking.
 
To promote rider training, MMSC is re-launching the “Ride Better. Ride Smarter. Ride Longer.” rider training campaign in April. The campaign aims to demonstrate the skills developed and sharpened through training, which provides riders the means to be safer on the road. 
 
Spring Hazards
Spring brings deadly hazards to motorcyclists, including snow run-off that freezes at night, potholes, and sand and gravel at intersections and turns. Motorists are also re-acclimating to motorcycles on the road.
 
As the shift to warm weather continues, and with the potential for difficult road conditions, traffic safety officials offer these reminders:
  • Motorists must watch carefully for motorcycles in traffic, and always look twice before turning or changing lanes.
  • Riders need to wear full protective, brightly colored gear, including a DOT-approved helmet, travel at safe speeds, pay attention and ride sober.
DPS Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center at the Donnie Smith Customized Bike Show
The Donnie Smith Bike Show will provide the opportunity for riders to talk to Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)-certified RiderCoaches about motorcycle safety topics and MMSC training courses, as well as the chance to see the new 2014 MMSC educational material, including the Rider Training Courses Brochure.
 
Show-goers will also have the chance to test their riding skills in a virtual environment on the SMARTrainer. The SMARTrainer is a motorcycle simulator with a range of scenarios to test skills and receive a performance review.
 
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.
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 more than 236,000 registered motorcycles and more than 409,000 licensed operators.
  • During the 2013 training season, MMSC trained more than 6, 300 students. In the last five years 36,333 riders have taken a MMSC rider training course.
  • Follow MMSC on Twitter: @MnDPS_MCSafety.  
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445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov