Trend of cycle deaths continuesPublished 10:28am Monday, September 10, 2012
With motorcycle ridership at record highs in Minnesota, state officials are seeing more rider-related deaths.
Eleven motorcycle fatalities in August — and at least two in September — bring the number of such deaths in Minnesota to at least 42 in 2012, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
On Saturday, Sept. 1, Austin resident Dana Legried, 38, died when her husband, 49-year-old Paul Legried, lost control of a 2012 Harley Davidson, went into the ditch along Highway 16 and struck a pole. Paul sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Jon C. Geibe, 56, died Sept. 8 when he crashed into a 2001 Jeep Cherokee on Highway 13 near New Richland.
Along with the 11 fatalities in August, May and July each had seven rider fatalities.
Motorcyclist fatalities are 17 percent of the total 238 traffic fatalities this year. Of the state’s 368 traffic fatalities in 2011, 42 were riders, which accounted for 11 percent of Minnesota’s total traffic deaths, according to a DPS news release.
Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center Program Coordinator Bill Shaffer encourages motorists to share the road and look twice for motorcycles in traffic as the autumn riding season can be just as deadly.
“Riders must shoulder responsibility for protecting themselves,” he said in the release. “Ride sober, keep your speed in check, and make yourself visible to drivers.”
He also emphasized the need for riders to get training.
The cost of fuel is one reason more people are choosing to ride motorcycles. Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with nearly 230,000 registered motorcycles and more than 404,000 licensed operators.
Department of Public Safety tips
• Watch for motorcycles and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.
• Riders are advised to wear protective gear, pay attention and ride sober. Riders should take safety training courses.
• Travel at safe speeds and stay focused on driving. Speeding and inattention are the two most-cited contributing factors in motorcycle crashes.