Spring’s early arrival in the Twin Cities caused many motorcycle enthusiasts to tune up their bikes and hit the road early this year. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm resulted in the death of a Lake Elmo motorcyclist. This accident prompted the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) to issue a motorcycle accident safety warning on March 16th.
DPS Motorcycle Safety Warning
The DPS warning is aimed both motorists and bikers. It encourages drivers to be alert to the presence of motorcyclists around them and to double-check blind spots when changing lanes or making a turn.
The warning also encourages riders to wear protective gear like helmets (in order to prevent brain injury) and eye protection, obey posted speed limits and pay attention to road conditions, including the vehicles around them.
The safety warning concludes by reminding the public that motorcycle registrations are at a record high. 230,000 bikes are registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles and 404,000 bikers are currently licensed by the state. This means that there are more motorcycles on the road and more diligence is required on everyone’s behalf.
Common Motorcycle Accidents
In 2010, Minnesota experienced 45 motorcycle traffic fatalities and 1,296 injuries, including 17 deaths and 148 injuries in crashes involving alcohol. The state experienced a total of 1,377 crashes involving motorcycles in 2010.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies several common causes of motorcycle accidents in the United States. Lack of experience and failing to recognize the limits of the bike and the rider are common causes, as are failing to ride defensively and failing to follow speed limits.
Motorcycle Safety in Minnesota
Fortunately, there are several things riders can do to reduce their chances of being involved and injured in a traffic accident.
The State of Minnesota runs Motorcycle Safety Centers which offer motorcycle safety courses for beginning riders and experienced bikers alike. A defensive riding course can help motorcyclists practice safer riding behaviors, like double-checking blind spots, using indicators and obeying traffic laws.
It is also important that riders protect themselves with appropriate motorcycle gear. Though not required by the state, the Minnesota DPS recommends all riders wear a DOT-approved helmet since the main cause of injuries in a crash is head trauma. Gloves, boots and other apparel are also essential to protecting a rider during a crash.
Though motorcycling is a fun activity in the warmer months, it does pose safety risks to riders. Motorcyclists should take extra precautions to be safe on the road and always ride defensively. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please consult an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.