Editorial Roundup: High number of crashes for motorcyclists show a need for more training

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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Why it matters: The state is on track for another record number of motorcycle deaths, pointing to the need for more safety training.

There have already been several motorcycle accidents that have seriously injured or killed riders or passengers in the Mankato area this spring.

A majority of the accidents have one thing in common — there was not another vehicle involved in the crashes but rather the drivers lost control of the motorcycles.

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It’s something being seen across the state.

Minnesota motorcycle fatalities hit a 38-year high last year, and this year is shaping up nearly as deadly.

Twenty-eight motorcyclists or their passengers have died in crashes this year as of early last week, according to the state Department of Public Safety. That’s a number just slightly behind the pace set in 2022, when the state recorded 82 deaths — the most since 1985.

The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center said there is a need for more cyclists to take training — not just beginners but those who’ve ridden for years.

The center says safety begins with the proper gear: gloves, pants, reflective vests, protective eyewear and helmets. Two-thirds of the riders killed last year in Minnesota were not wearing a helmet.

Lack of skill, particularly when navigating curves or attempting to avoid road hazards is also a common denominator is motorcycle crashes.

Every year the center offers training courses at colleges and technical schools across Minnesota. The classes, for novice and seasoned riders, involve a few hours of online instruction and an in-person class where riders go through a variety of exercises on a motorcycle.

“Start seeing motorcycles” has long been a safety campaign slogan. Indeed, those driving in vehicles need to be aware of motorcycles. And it’s another reason why the increase in distracted driving and speeding leads to more accidents, injuries and deaths, for those in vehicles and on motorcycles.

But those on two wheels have an equal responsibility to drive defensively, using turn signals for lane changes, not speeding and maintaining safe following distances.

Getting some training, whether for the first time or as a refresher, is a smart move that can save injuries and lives.

Mankato Free Press, July 11

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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