A Clearwater man died this afternoon when his motorcycle went off Minnesota Highway 24 north of Annandale.
Our sympathies go out to his family and friends. Hopefully, the investigation will uncover what happened and help with the prevention of more loses like this.
While the numbers for motor vehicle deaths has dropped over the past two years, deaths from motorcycles have tripled, from a record low of 24 in 1997 to recent high of 72 in 2008. That is the highest number of fatal crashes in past 24 years. So far this year is on pace to meet that number. The steady rise in motorcycle crashes has become a top concern of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Secretary Mary Peters, who broke her collarbone a few years ago when she crashed her Harley-Davidson Road King at 40 mph.
To address the problem, the Transportation Department is developing national standards for entry-level riders and has launched an educational campaign on the importance of wearing helmets and other safety gear. Congress has also become involved, authorizing $2 million to study crash causes.
For every driver and rider it’s important that the following be kept in mind:
1. Yield the right-of-way.
2. Start seeing motorcycles.
3. When on a motorcycle, make sure people see you.
4. When just starting to ride, make sure you have the correct training.
The road is big enough for everyone.
A recent Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial got a number of comments after it made the following suggestions to deal with the increase:
- Increased training of new drivers.
- More emphasis on sober riding.
- The Increased use of safety equipment.
- Drivers paying more attention on the roads.
The discussion about helmets dominated most of the responses. Clearly, this is one there may not ever be an agreement on, but as to the other suggestions, they really make a lot of sense. Every new driver needs to get the all important training that riding a motorcycle isn’t like a bike or a car.
As an attorney who has represented a large number of riders, I’ve seen the devastation caused by car/bike collisions. As with any death in a Minnesota motor vehicle collision, there are a number of issues that will need to be reviewed. My partner, Joe Crumley, addressed this topic in a recent article for the Minnesota Lawyers Trial magazine. I was interviewed last year on the same topic.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.