Minnesota DPS Reminding People to Stay Cautious When Out Riding Their Motorcycles
A survey the department conducted found about half of Minnesotans don't wear motorcycle helmets
With warm weather comes the many motorcyclists who are ready to get back on the road.
If you’re one of them, Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) officials say it’s important to not let the excitement get the best of you and to always be cautious.
Minnesota has more motorcycle accidents during rush hour and on the weekends than at any other point in time.
“We have a fair number of crashes because for a lot of people, motorcycling is a hobby. Those weekends, we generally see them in the afternoon to evening hours,” said Bill Shaffer, with Minnesota DPS.
In 2016, there were more than 5,400 motorcycle fatalities across the U.S.
That number was just under 5,000 in 2015.
To lower your risk of getting into a motorcycle crash, Minnesota Department of Public Safety officials say to always wear the right clothing, including armored pants and jackets, motorcycle gloves and a helmet.
The department found only about half of people in Minnesota wear them.
“It’s a good idea not only from a crash prevention standpoint but it can also be a good idea from a comfort standpoint,” Shaffer said. “It can protect you from road debris, bugs, that type of thing. Wearing a light colored helmet can be a good thing because the wind isn’t whipping the moisture right off your face and into your hair while you’re riding.”
The colors of the rest of your outfit can also play an important role in keeping you safe whether it’s during the day or night.
“My summer riding jacket is high visual yellow with a retro reflective material on it. I wear a brightly colored helmet. I think that’s huge and really helps other drivers see you better,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer says it’s also up to other drivers to keep the roads safe.
Always check your blind spot twice, keep a three second response time distance between your vehicle and the motorcycle and always yield to motorcyclists.
“We have a number of people who pull out in front of motorcycles thinking they had time to go. What they’re fooled by is that it’s hard to judge the distance between them and how far away the motorcyclist is,” Shaffer said. “So if you see a motorcyclist coming, be extra sure that it is really far away. If you are going to pull out, best bet is just wait until it passes.”
Minnesota DPS says an additional way to stay safe while riding your motorcycle includes taking rider courses annually.
Classes are being offered at MSUM and in Detroit Lakes and Roseau for all skill levels.