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"Ask a Trooper" talks about motorcycle safety

by Bonnie Amistadi

ASK A TROOPER by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

With spring upon us and motorcycles sharing the highways once again, I wanted to use this opportunity to bring some attention to the subject. Here are the did you know facts.

Did you know, in Minnesota, over half of motorcycle crashes are single vehicle crashes? Motorcycle use is at an all-time high and the two primary factors involved when they crash are driver inexperience and speed.

Did you know one main reason that motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection? The occupant protection that is built in to our passenger cars protects us greatly, but cannot be incorporated within a motorcycle. Nationwide, 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is only 20 percent.

Did you know, nationwide, that 25 percent of motorcycle operators killed in crashes are not licensed or are improperly licensed to operate a motorcycle?

Did you know that approximately half of all fatal single-vehicle motorcycle crashes involved alcohol? Driving a motorcycle requires more skill and coordination than driving most other vehicles and impairment, even at lower levels, diminishes judgment and motor skills greatly, first and foremost.

Did you know it is not advisable to buy a motorcycle you cannot push or pull upright by yourself? A motorcycle must be the right fit for the person and the style of the cycle should fit the use.

But still, almost half of all motorcycle crashes involve a collision with another vehicle. In many crashes, the driver never saw the motorcyclist or didn't see the rider until it was too late. There are many reasons why other drivers do not see motorcyclists. So its important for everyone to pay attention.

For more information on Motorcycles, crash facts, training course and research go to: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles .

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us ).