ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) is urging new and experienced riders to take a training course following a deadly year for motorcyclists. In 2012, 53 riders were killed, a 26 percent increase from 2011.
Motorcycle training information will be presented at the International Motorcycle Show (IMS) January 11–13 at the Minneapolis Convention center. A complete course listing is available online at motorcyclesafety.org. MMSC officials say the early start to the rider season — the first rider death was in March — as well as a record number of riders, coupled with common crash factors, contributed to the 2012 increase in fatalities. There were 15 deaths in March–May 2012, compared to seven during that same period in 2011.
“2012 was a deadly year on the road for motorcyclists and it’s up to both riders and drivers to reduce these tragedies,” says Bill Shaffer of the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center. “Riders can take responsibility by keeping their skills sharp through training, wearing high-visibility protective gear and riding sober.”
MMSC offers these safety tips for riders:
- Wear full protective gear including a brightly colored jacket, DOT-approved helmet, rider pants, motorcycle-specific boots and gloves.
- Drive at safe speeds and stay focused on driving. Speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle-only crashes.
Training Courses for New and Experienced Riders
With rider error as a leading factor of motorcyclist crashes, MMSC recommends riders sign-up for one of the affordable and potentially life-saving courses at motorcyclesafety.org. The courses range from the Basic Rider Course for new riders wanting to earn their motorcycle endorsement to Civilian Police Motorcycle Courses where experienced riders can learn the same techniques used by police motor officers.
Without proper training, new riders are more likely to be involved in a crash. Experienced riders also benefit from additional training to hone their crash-avoidance skills, including countersteering and emergency braking.
Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center at the International Motorcycle Show
The IMS will provide the opportunity for riders to talk to Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)-certified RiderCoaches about motorcycle safety topics, as well as 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.
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 motorcycle testing project 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 230,000 registered motorcycles and nearly 400,000 licensed operators.
- MMSC added two new courses to their 2013 curriculum, the SMARTrainer Plus Course and the BRC Refresher Course.
- MMSC attended the 2012 Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) Conference in Bloomington, MN from Oct. 22 to Oct. 23.
MMSC and the SMARTrainer had a presence at 15 motorcycle organization events and shows from March 2012 to August 2012.
- Follow MMSC on Twitter: @MnDPS_MCSafety.