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Sgt. Troy Christianson mug

Sgt. Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: Can you talk about motorcycle safety?

Answer: With spring upon us and motorcycles once again sharing the highways, this is a great time to provide motorcycle crash facts and safety tips. We currently have had two fatal motorcycle crashes this year.

In Minnesota, over half of motorcycle crashes are single vehicle crashes. Motorcycle use is at an all-time high and the two primary factors involved when they crash are driver inexperience and speed.

One main reason that motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection. The occupant protection built in to our passenger cars protects us greatly, but cannot be incorporated within a motorcycle.

Nationwide, 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is only 20 percent.

Nationwide, 25 percent of motorcycle operators killed in crashes are not licensed or are improperly licensed to operate a motorcycle.

Approximately half of all fatal single-vehicle motorcycle crashes involved alcohol. Driving a motorcycle requires more skill and coordination than driving most other vehicles and impairment, even at lower levels, diminishes judgment and motor skills greatly.

It is not advisable to buy a motorcycle you cannot push or pull upright by yourself. A motorcycle must be the right fit for the person and the style of the cycle should fit the user.

Because serious head injury is common among fatally injured motorcyclists, helmet use is important. Helmets are about 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.

All motorists are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Motorcyclists are reminded to make themselves visible to other motorists.

For more information on motorcycles, crash facts, training course and research go to: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Safety/Motorcycles.

Remember, you can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

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Coulee Courier and Houston County News editor

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