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August Deadliest Month for Riders in MN; 40 Deaths for Year

A motorcycle rider with a passenger in Iowa wearing no helmets.

ST. PAUL — The number of preliminary Minnesota motorcyclist fatalities hits 40 following the deadliest month of the year. August had 11 rider deaths, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) preliminary reports. This time in 2011 there were 29 rider deaths.

May and July follow August for the deadliest rider months — 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.

MMSC 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. Ride sober, keep your speed in check, and make yourself visible to drivers,” says Shaffer. He also emphasizes the need for riders to get training.

The cost of fuel is one of the reasons 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.

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