ST. PAUL — Motorcycle rider deaths are significantly higher compared to this time last year. Twenty-five riders have died on Minnesota roads so far in 2015, which is 56 percent more than this time last year when there were 16 motorcycle fatalities.
The latest motorcycle death happened Thursday, June 18, around 9:30 p.m. during a pursuit on County Road 75 near County Road 7 in Stearns County. The driver was thrown from the motorcycle and pronounced dead at the scene. The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating.
So far this year, there have been 158 traffic fatalities in Minnesota; nearly 16 percent of those are motorcycle riders. In 2014, 46 motorcyclists were killed in crashes, according to preliminary reports.
Public safety officials are asking motorcyclists to take safety into their own hands and motorists to look twice for motorcycles.
“Motorcyclists and motorists need to work together to share the road to prevent more motorcycle fatalities,” says Lt. Bob Zak, Minnesota State Patrol. “It’s really unfortunate that there are nine more motorcycle deaths than this time last year, and we need the public’s help to keep this number from increasing.”
2015 Fatal Motorcycle Crash Facts (these do not include the latest crash)
Age: Eleven of the riders killed this season were older than 50. Nine riders were between the ages of 30-49. Four riders were in their 20s. It’s important for new riders, riders returning from a break and experienced riders to take a training course and sharpen and hone skills.
Passengers: Three passengers were killed in the 22 crashes.
Helmet Use: Helmet use is known for 22 of the 25 riders killed. Of those 22 riders, 14 were not wearing a helmet and seven were wearing a helmet.
Location: Seventeen of the crashes happened in rural areas. Four of the crashes occurred in urban areas. Location was not reported for one of the crashes.
Contributing Factors: Contributing factors point to rider error in many of the crashes. Riders were negotiating a curve when 11 of those crashes happened. A second vehicle failing to yield was cited in three of the crashes.
Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) Program Coordinator Bill Shaffer encourages riders to get trained.
“Training can save a rider’s life,” says Shaffer. “It teaches riders crash-avoidance techniques to stay safe on the road. Any experience level is welcome. You can never get too much training as a new rider, returning rider or experienced rider.”
For more information about affordable training courses provided by MMSC, visit motorcyclesafety.org.
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.