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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Stephanie Kaufenberg  651-201-7566
January 17, 2014
Safety and Training Urged With Rise in Motorcycle Rider Deaths in 2013
Motorcycle Safety Center Heading to International Motorcycle Show This Weekend

​ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota motorcyclists lost 60 fellow riders in 2013, according to preliminary data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Despite the shorter riding season, the number of rider deaths increased nine percent from 2012, when 55 riders lost their lives.

Operator error, motorist failure to yield right-of-way and alcohol continue to be common contributing factors.

Fifty-seven crashes resulted in the 60 rider deaths, of which 30 only involved the motorcycle. Failure to negotiate a curve was cited 20 times in those crashes.

“We can all do more to keep motorcyclists safe on the roads,” said 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. Drivers can share the road by giving riders room and taking the time to look twice for motorcyclists.”

Last year, 20 rider fatalities occurred in July, making it the deadliest July on record for motorcyclists and the second deadliest month in the past 15 years. August 2008 was the deadliest with 21 rider deaths.

International Motorcycle Show (IMS) – Jan. 17-19

Motorcyclists will have a chance to test their riding skills in a virtual environment on the SMARTrainer, a motorcycle simulator with a range of scenarios. Each rider receives a performance review.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)-certified RiderCoaches will be at the IMS to talk about motorcycle safety topics and MMSC training courses. New 2014 MMSC material, including the Rider Training Courses Brochure, the “Start Seeing Motorcyclists” bumper stickers and reflective decal stickers, will also be on hand.

Training Courses for New and Experienced Riders

With rider error a leading factor in motorcyclist crashes, the MMSC recommends riders to sign up for one of the affordable and potentially life-saving courses at

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.

Experienced riders also benefit from additional training to hone their crash-avoidance skills, including counter-steering and emergency braking.

More Information on Minnesota Motorcycle Crashes

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
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 |