ST. PAUL — The annual “Spring Flood Run,” Saturday, April 20, marks another riding season, with up to 30,000 riders hitting the scenic Mississippi and St. Croix Valley roadways between the Twin Cities and Winona. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging motorists to exercise extreme caution and look twice for motorcyclists. Riders also need to shoulder the responsibility for protecting themselves.
To ensure a safe riding environment, law enforcement agencies in southeast Minnesota, including the Minnesota State Patrol, local police and county sheriff’s offices will conduct extra enforcement, especially targeting impaired driving and speeding. Wisconsin law enforcement agencies will also increase enforcement efforts on its side of the border.
According to DPS, the last 10 flood runs had zero motorcycle fatalities.
“Statistics show riders and motorists are doing the right thing by sharing the road during this annual event,” says Bill Shaffer, motorcycle safety program coordinator for DPS. “We hope riders and motorists continue their safe driving behavior during this year’s event and throughout the rest of the riding season.”
Preliminary reports indicate there were 55 rider deaths in 2012, which accounted for 14 percent of Minnesota’s total traffic deaths. To date in 2013, two motorcyclists have been killed in crashes. Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with more than 237,000 registered motorcycles and 405,000 licensed operators.
Despite the last 10 fatality-free Spring Flood Runs, the event still has the potential to be a dangerous day on Minnesota roads.
“All it takes is one bad decision for our roads to turn deadly,” says Lt. Eric Roeske, Minnesota State Patrol. “In many cases, that bad decision occurs when someone decides to get on a motorcycle after drinking or drivers fail to yield the right-of-way.”
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.
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 237,000 registered motorcycles and 405,000 licensed operators.
- Preliminary reports indicate 53 rider deaths in 2012, a 26 percent increase from 2011 and 14 percent of the total traffic deaths. The first time rider fatalities have gone up since 2008.
- Motorcycle rider training courses begin in April and are available through October 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.
- 7,438 students took a rider training course in 2012 with the MMSC. In the last five years, more than 40,000 students have been trained.
- Follow MMSC on Twitter: @MnDPS_MCSafety.