Minnesota motorcycle enthusiasts have a relatively short riding season. After months of being in storage, during the last month, many motorcyclists have dusted off their motorcycles and taken to the open road. Many individuals who own motorcycles speak to the thrill and excitement experienced while riding, many also, however, are acutely aware of the dangers associated with operating a motorcycle.
During the first week of June alone, motorcycle accidents on Minnesota roads claimed the lives of five individuals. Four out of the five reported fatalities involved collisions with other motor vehicles. Since May 29, a total of 28 individuals in Minnesota have reported suffering injuries while operating a motorcycle.
The significant number of recent motorcycle accidents is attributable to both increased ridership due to the warmer weather as well as a failure on the part of motorists to see and yield for motorcycles. It’s been months since Minnesota motorists have encountered a motorcycle and many simply fail to see a motorcycle before it’s too late.
With no protection, a motorcyclist who is involved in a collision with another motor vehicle is likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries. In cases where a rider isn’t wearing a helmet, severe head and traumatic brain injuries are common and often prove to be fatal.
To help prevent causing or being involved in a motorcycle accident, drivers of cars and trucks are advised to be watchful and vigilant when sharing the road with motorcycles. Drivers should keep distractions to a minimum and check their mirrors and blind spots repeatedly before changing lanes.
Additionally, motorcyclists are reminded to abide by posted speed limits and also signal well in advance of any lane changes. Motorcyclists and their passengers would also be wise to wear a helmet. In Minnesota, helmets are only required for motorcyclists under the age of 18 or for novice riders; however, helmets provide the only protection available to individuals on a motorcycle and have been attributed to saving many lives.
Source: The Star Tribune, “Grim week for Minnesotans on motorcycles; 5 killed, 28 injured,” Emma Nelson, June 7, 2014