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Seems like there have been a lot of single bike collisions with resulting deaths this year. The St Cloud Times had the story of another one today:

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.


  1. Gravatar for Tom

    Mike, I know this is controversial but I really think that motorcyclists should be required to pay much higher insurance that covers the hospitalization costs that are incurred when they are injured. Many of these accidents end up with the injured party being permanently paralyzed. Who covers the substanticl cost of these lifetime debilatating injuries? Usually society as a whole unless they have family wealth. I know many experienced motorcyclists often are injured by negligent drivers but I would make rates for young motorcycles commensurate with the costs that these young and wild drivers cost society.

  2. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    Depending on the state riders have from very good coverage all the way to almost nothing. There have been a couple of recent Minnesota rulings that have significantly changed the coverage that they by here. We have been doing all we can to expand the coverages available and hope to see the legislature address it this season. Availability and more information is so important. thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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