After a long, cold winter, many motorcycle owners enjoy nothing more than venturing out for a pleasant spring ride at the first sign of warm weather, leading to an increase in motorcycle traffic on Minnesota roads. Unfortunately, 2014 has seen the second earliest motorcycle-related death. On March 11, a 30-year old man lost his life after he hit a pothole while riding at an illegal speed and was ejected from his motorcycle. In the wake of such an accident, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) is advocating that all riders, regardless of skill level, participate in a motorcycle rider training course.
Through training courses, riders can help ensure their own safety on the roads. Many courses are affordable and are taught from April to October. The three types of courses offered are the essential beginning rider course, the Basic Rider Course, and the Civilian Police Motorcycle Course, which allows experienced riders to learn the techniques police motor officers use. All three courses will focus on sharpening riders’ skills and enhancing their crash-avoidance techniques.
Motorcycle training courses will also discuss the importance of wearing a proper Department of Transportation approved helmet, eye protection, motorcycle-specific boots, a brightly colored jacket, gloves and pants. As with all driving classes, the motorcycle courses will emphasize that riders should not operate their motorcycles if they are not sober. Campuses that host the courses are located throughout Minnesota, including St. Cloud, Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Grand Marais, and the Twin Cities area.
Warmer weather of the spring season comes with deadly hazards that motorcyclists should be aware of. Sand and gravel at intersections are common problems, and the spring thaw also results in an increased number of potholes that can be dangerous for motorcyclists. Frozen snow run-off can be difficult to see at night, so riders should use caution when out in the late evening. Additionally, motorists are becoming reacquainted with motorcycles on the road, and safety officials encourage motorists to be alert and watch for motorcycles, looking twice before changing lanes or turning.
Motorcyclists can protect themselves by keeping the following tactics in mind.
The Minnesota DPS is responsible for educating the public with statewide programs in emergency management, victim assistance, alcohol and gambling, traffic safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration, pipeline safety, fire safety, emergency communications and law enforcement. The DPS operates under three chief principles: education, enforcement, and prevention.
The MMSC has been educating, training, and licensing motorcyclists with the goal of reducing motorcyclist fatalities since the early 1980s. For more information about motorcycle safety, riders should visit the MMSC website.
Though motorcyclists take numerous steps to protect themselves on the road, accidents sometimes occur. Riders or loved ones of riders who were involved in a motorcycle accident should contact the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben. For a free consultation call (612) 377-7777 or 1-800-752-4265 (toll-free).