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STATE OFFICIALS URGE MOTORCYCLISTS TO SEEK SAFETY TRAINING


Wed, Mar 24th, 2010
Posted in State of Minnesota

ST. PAUL - Public safety officials are encouraging all motorcyclists, even experienced riders, to tune up their riding skills just as they tune up their bikes for the riding season. Minnesota Department of Public Safety preliminary data show there were 52 motorcyclist fatalities in 2009, underscoring the need for proper safety training so riders learn-or relearn-how to control their bikes in an emergency.

Motorcycle safety training is available statewide April-September; find course schedules atwww.motorcyclesafety.state.mn.us or call 800-407-6677.

Last week, the state recorded its first crash of the riding season when a motorcycle rider and passenger were seriously injured on I-94 in St. Paul. The driver lost control of the motorcycle after attempting to swerve around a mattress in the road.

"Motorcycles are more difficult to operate than other vehicles. Many riders, even those with years of experience, do not know how to steer, swerve, or stop quickly in an emergency," says State Patrol Lieutenant Eric Roeske. He notes that adding to springtime risks are potholes, sand and ice left over from long winter.

A common misconception riders have is that it is best to "lay the bike down" to avoid hitting another vehicle. Trained riders know how to use their brakes to stop the bike without laying it down. "It doesn't matter how long you've been riding, if you've never taken a safety course, you are missing some vital information that may save your life," said Roeske.

Motorcycle safety training is for beginners and experienced riders and teaches emergency braking, critical handling techniques such as steering, cornering and swerving, as well as the mental strategies used to identify problems before they lead to crashes.

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