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May deadly month for motorcyclists - Seven killed

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Public safety officials remind motorcyclists and motorists to drive carefully and share the road following a deadly month for riders in May when seven were killed. There have been 13 rider deaths to-date this year, compared to five at this time in 2011.

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Last month, one-third of the state’s deaths were motorcyclists. In a typical year, riders account for 10 percent of deaths.

This week the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) launches a safety and awareness campaign to encourage motorists to look twice for motorcyclists, featuring a new TV spot which dramatically illustrates the life-threatening consequences that can occur when drivers are unaware of motorcyclists.

This campaign also brings new life to the iconic bumper sticker “Start Seeing Motorcyclists” — developed by MMSC in 1985 — which will run on the bus sides and billboards in the metro, Duluth and Rochester.

DPS offers these life-saving safety tips for motorists and motorcyclists:

• Look Twice — motorists should check their blind spots, as motorcycles are easily hidden in traffic, and always take a second look over your shoulder – don’t rely solely on your mirrors.

• Share the road — motorists and motorcyclists should keep a safe distance from all vehicles, especially other motorcyclists.

• Drive at safe speeds and stay focused on driving—speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle crashes.

• Wear the gear — motorcyclists should wear brightly colored protective gear and a helmet for visibility and protection.

• Don’t drink and ride — one-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired riders.

Preliminary reports indicate 42 rider deaths in 2011.

The MMSC was created from a state statute to address the record high motorcyclist fatalities in the 1980s. The law also created a state dedicated Motorcycle Safety Fund, which comes directly from Minnesota motorcyclists through a portion of motorcycle endorsement fees.

Recent MMSC Activity

• Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with almost 230,000 registered motorcycles and more than 404,000 licensed operators

• Preliminary reports indicate 42 rider deaths in 2011, down from a 24-year high of 72 in 2008

• Governor Mark Dayton signed Proclamation of Motorcycle Safety for state of Minnesota on May 14, 2012.

• MMSC had a presence during the Motorcycle Awareness Month Washout Events, taking place at rest areas across Minnesota.

• MMSC began its own Twitter page, which can be viewed at https://twitter.com/#!/MnDPS_MCSafety.

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