Ask A Trooper: How can motorcycle riders protect face

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2023

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By Sgt. Troy Christianson

Question: Now that motorcycle season is here, can you talk about motorcycle operators must “wear” eye protection. Windshields haven’t been considered legal eye protection for many years.

Answer: You are correct. No person shall operate a motorcycle without wearing an eye-protective device.

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No person under the age of 18 shall operate or ride a motorcycle on the streets and highways of this state without wearing protective headgear that complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety.

Last year was the worst for motorcycle fatalities since 1985, with 82 deaths.  We have had 29 motorcycle fatal crashes so far in 2023.

Drivers, look twice for motorcycles, especially when changing lanes and driving through intersections. Motorcycles are harder to see in traffic and their distance and speed are difficult to judge due to their smaller size.


• Drive at safe speeds.

• Give riders room.

• Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.

• Put away any distractions.

• Riders, wear full protective gear, including a helmet. It can make a difference between life and death. Two-thirds of riders killed in 2022 were not wearing a helmet. Make sure your gear is “high-viz” to help you stand out in traffic.

Other things that can save your life:

• Ride as though other drivers don’t see you. Don’t ever assume another driver knows you’re there.

• Never ride impaired or distracted.

• Use turn signals at every lane change or turn.

• Ride at safe speeds and maintain a safe following distance.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at,