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May deadly month for motorcyclists - Seven killed

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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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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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