Motorcycle Deaths On Track To Exceed Last Year

Story Published: Aug 2, 2009 at 5:18 PM CDT
Story Updated: Aug 2, 2009 at 5:18 PM CDT

Many of the Hells Angels are leaving the area toward Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual motorcycle rally.

Authorities are urging bikers to be extra cautious on the roads this time of year; motorcycle deaths are most prevalent in the months of August and September.

Tiffany Tarrolly has some pointers.
27 riders have died on Minnesota roads so far this year.
Compare that to 25 at this time last year.

Sergeant Mark Baker of the Minnesota State Patrol says there’s an easy answer as to why we’re outpacing last year’s 24-year high.
“I think a lot of it is the popularity of motorcycles, again people are getting into, a lot of middle aged men especially, and when the price of gas went up we saw an increase in motorcycle miles driven,” said Sgt. Baker.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, there are a record 225,000 registered motorcycles in Minnesota.

Though motorcycles make up less than five percent of all registered vehicles, they accounted for more than 15 percent of motor vehicle deaths last year.

Sgt. Baker says it has a lot to do with riding experience.
“We’re seeing a lot of mistakes a lot of the motorcycle crashes, the majority we’re seeing are the motorcycles themselves, no other vehicle involved, so there’s usually some mistake made, maybe overdriving the bike or not handling the bike properly.”

That’s why biker, owner and president of Harley Davidson in Hermantown, Dennis Kachelmyer, says safety courses are even more important than the right gear.
“You need to know how to stop the motorcycle properly and how to turn it properly and those are two key things that can get you into a little bit of trouble if you’re not current,” he said.

The Minnesota DPS reports the most common factors attributing to motorcycle crashes are inexperience, speed, inattention and driving under the influence.

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