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Motorcycle Crash Fatalities Down 29 Percent From This Time Last Year


September 2014

The Minnesota motorcycle riding season is ending with good news. There were fewer fatalities from motorcycle accidents this year than last year. By September 23 of 2013, there had been 55 deaths. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, as of September 23, 2014, there has been a 29 percent decrease to only 39 casualties. 

The Department of Public Safety’s motorcycle safety coordinator Bill Shaffer said that three factors contributed to the lower number of motorcycle crash fatalities. 

  1. There were no deaths caused by deer collisions in Minnesota this year as opposed to seven last year.
  2. Only three motorcycle passengers died this year. Last year, seven passengers were killed.
  3. Fewer motorcycles were registered in 2013, which lowers the number of riders on the road. This was the first decline since 1996.

The Department of Public Safety reported that traffic deaths in Minnesota numbered 251 compared to 263 at the same time last year. During all of 2013, 387 people lost their lives on Minnesota highways. Sixty of them were motorcyclists.

Crashes Last Weekend

Over the September 13th weekend, there were a few motorcycle incidents. Driver Brian Barth, 53, of Dassel, Minnesota, and Maxine Shaw, his 58-year-old passenger were killed when they were ejected from the motorcycle after striking the wall of an overpass. They were on northbound Highway 100 heading toward eastbound Highway 394, stated a state patrol incident report.

A non-fatal crash occurred when St. Paul motorcyclist Alejandro Martinez, 42, was involved in a hit-and-run accident. He incurred a slight head injury after being struck by a vehicle as he was riding south near Minnehaha Avenue on Dale Street, according to the Pioneer Press. The police are looking for any witnesses to the accident.

Janice Theisen, 57, of White Bear Lake was hurt in a motorcycle crash on September 13. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said that she passed away a few days afterwards at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Tips for Safe Motorcycle Riding

  • Always assume other drivers can't see you. Drive your motorcycle as if nobody else on the road is worried about your health. Use the search, evaluate and execute (SEE) riding strategy whenever you ride.
  • Look where you plan to go, which is called visual directional control. Train your eyes three to four seconds ahead of you while turning into a corner. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, do not look at the approaching vehicle, the guardrail or the road. That increases the likelihood that you'll run into the object you're watching, which is called target fixation.
  • Use the handle grips to lean the motorcycle. By pressing forward on one of the handle grips, the bike will lean in the opposite direction. This method of countersteering is how you lean your bike, not how you turn it.
  • Don't just use one brake. Squeeze both brakes slowly. Gradually increase the pressure as you reduce your speed. The front brake provides 70 percent of your stopping ability. Grabbing the front brake can cause you to flip, so handle the front brake carefully.
  • Do not lay your bike down to prevent an accident. You want to maintain control of the motorcycle. You should countersteer or use both brakes to evade a collision.

If you're unfamiliar with these methods, take a beginning or advanced motorcycle riding course to get proper instruction. Your life could depend on it.

Motorcycle riders have the same rights as anybody else on the road. The experienced team of motorcycle accident attorneys at Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben knows the difference between motorcycle litigation and car or truck claims.

We’ll give you our expert opinion and ensure that your rights are enforced. We'll make certain that you get all of the compensation you deserve if you were injured in a motorcycle accident. Give us a call us at 612-377-7777 or 1-800-752-4265 (toll free) for a free consultation.