Riding a motorcycle can be a thrilling experience. The freedom of flying down the road is exciting, and riding is a great way to get outside and enjoy beautiful weather. However, motorcycles also have their risks. Accidents happen all the time, and they’re often serious. If you’re a motorcyclist in Minnesota, you should be aware of the accident numbers in the state and what you can do to stay safe.
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents claim the lives of dozens of people in Minnesota each year. As of August, there have been 29 motorcyclists killed so far this year. In 2019, 44 motorcyclists died in accidents.
Of the 29 deaths this year, 20 crashes involved just the motorcycle, and the other nine involved another vehicle as well. Three crashes involved a collision with an animal, and one accident involved a bicycle.
Only nine of the motorcyclists who were killed were wearing a helmet. At least 20 of the motorcyclists killed had a valid motorcycle license, and seven did not.
Two of the riders killed were in their 20s, five were in their 30s, and 11 were in their 40s. There were seven riders killed in their 50s, two in their 60s and two in their 70s.
Statistics from previous years show that crashes are more common in June, July, and August, most likely because motorcyclists spend more time on the road during the summer. The worst year for fatalities in Minnesota was 1980 with 121 riders killed.
Motorcyclists are much more likely to die than occupants of passenger vehicles in an accident. It’s impossible to completely eliminate your chances of an accident, but you can greatly reduce your risk by following the proper safety precautions provided by the MN DPS OTS Motorcycle Safety Center.
The best way to avoid a fatal accident is to wear a DOT-approved helmet at all times when riding. Not all helmets offer the same safety features, so it’s important to choose one that meets the DOT’s standards.
You can also reduce the risk of accidents by wearing brightly-colored gear that increases your visibility. Stay vigilant for distracted or inattentive drivers, and try to predict what other vehicles on the road will do. Because motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, drivers often have a harder time judging how fast they’re going and how far away they are. The best strategy is to assume that you’re entirely invisible.
Keep at least two seconds of following distance from other cars, and don’t try to perform any maneuvers outside of your skill set. Before you change lanes or make a turn, look twice. Motorcycles are more vulnerable than passenger vehicles, so you have to be even more careful than the typical driver on the road.
A large percentage of motorcycle accidents happen while navigating curves and corners, so you should have a plan for every corner you encounter. Be honest with yourself about your skill and comfort level. Stick to routes that you feel comfortable with. Feeling stressed or anxious will increase your chances of crashing.
As tempting as it can be to speed on your motorcycle, stay within the speed limit. Never drink and ride. There is never a reason to get on your motorcycle after consuming alcohol.
If it’s been a while since you worked on your riding skills, consider taking a training course to relearn or improve your skill set. Most training programs run from April through September and can be found on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website.
Motorcycle crashes are devastating for everyone involved. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben can help. Our experienced accident attorneys will take care of the legal process so that you can focus on recovering. You are our main priority. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation at (612) 377-7777 or toll-free at 1 (800) 752-4265.