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Two percent of all vehicles on the nation’s roads last year were motorcycles, yet they were involved in 11 percent of all traffic accidents, leaving slightly more than 5,100 riders dead and 103,000 injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fatalities have more than doubled over a decade as more motorcycles have hit the road. Recent reports indicate that deaths on motorcycles are also rising in Minnesota.

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.

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.

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