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Tue, Jun 15th, 2010
Posted in Police Reports

ST. PAUL -As thousands of motorcycle riders hit the roads this summer, around 400 agencies across Minnesota will ramp up patrols on Saturday, June 19 for enhanced motorcycle enforcement to stop impaired and speeding riders. The Department of Public Safety is urging all motorcyclists to ride safely and for motorists to stay alert and look twice for motorcycle riders.

The enforcement falls against a backdrop of 53 rider deaths in 2009, a decrease of 26 percent from 2009, and a record number of motorcycles on the road. Minnesota has reached an all-time high in motorcycle ownership - 226,675 motorcycles are registered in the state, an increase of 100 percent in the last 13 years. During 2007-2009 in Minnesota, 186 riders were killed and another 4,203 injured in motorcycle crashes.

Lt. Eric Roeske of the Minnesota State Patrol says the statewide effort aims to set a tone for summer that impaired and speeding riders have no place on Minnesota roadways. According to Roeske, "Two common factors in motorcycle crashes are speed and alcohol. Those things are completely within the rider's control." Each year, alcohol is involved in about one-third of motorcycle fatalities. During 2007-2009 in Minnesota, 63 riders were killed in alcohol-related motorcycle crashes-51 were at or above the legal limit of .08.

June through September is the deadliest time for motorcyclists. Over the past five years, 67 percent of riders were killed during this time period. More than half of all motorcycle crashes are single-vehicle events in which the rider loses control of the bike and runs off the road or crashes.

Roeske stresses the importance of safety training and wearing proper riding gear: eye protection, helmet, boots, gloves, jacket, and long pants. "Every rider should take a safety course, wear brightly colored protective riding gear and avoid drinking alcohol if they are going to be riding," says Roeske.

For rider training and safety information, call 800-407-6677 or visit www.motorcyclesafety.org. Tips and information to increase visibility are available at www.HighViz.org.

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