ST. PAUL — Nearly 30,000 riders will take to the roads along the Mississippi and St. Croix River valleys from the Twin Cities to Winona this weekend during the annual “Fall Flood Run” motorcycle event. Motorists are urged to look twice for motorcycles on Saturday on Highway 61 between the Twin Cities and Winona.
Motorists and riders each have a responsibility as 2013 proves to be another deadly year. Fifty-five riders lost their lives in 2012 and it was the first year since 2008 that rider deaths had gone up.
This year, there have been 54 rider deaths as the riding season continues and the Fall Flood Run kicks off.
“These are family members, friends and co-workers that are losing their lives,” says Bill Shaffer of the DPS Motorcycle Safety Center, “Motorcyclists and drivers need to step up and take action to reduce these tragedies.”
There were 20 rider deaths in July, making it the deadliest July on record, second only to August 2008 (21 deaths) as the deadliest month in the past 15 years. Preliminary reports show operator error and failure to yield right-of-way are contributing factors in these fatal crashes.
Of the state’s 2012 traffic fatalities, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of Minnesota’s traffic deaths. To-date in 2013, motorcyclists are 21 percent of the total traffic fatalities.
DPS offers these safety tips for motorists and motorcyclists:
- 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.
Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with nearly 237,000 registered motorcycles and more than 405,000 licensed operators.
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.
- MMSC attended the International Rider Education Training System Conference from Aug. 14 to Aug. 17.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.
- More than 7,400 students took a rider training course in 2012 with the MMSC. In the last five years, more than 30,000 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.