Minnesota is a great state in which to ride a motorcycle. There is a lot of beautiful scenery that is conducive to riding on a bike and viewing the countryside. Accidents occur, though, and Minnesotaís statistics for motorcycle accidents run consistent with national numbers. There were 4,576 motorcycle accidents that ended in fatality in America in 2005. That number represents 10.5 percent of the total number of accidents with deaths. In Minnesota in 2005, there were 59 rider fatalities which made up 10.6 percent of the total. In 2006 67 riders lost their lives in Minnesota (representing 13.6 percent), while nationally 4,810 riders died (11.3 percent). The number of motorcycle accidents has been on the increase every year for the past nine years.
Laws governing motorcycle operation vary from state to state. In Minnesota, a helmet is only required for riders under eighteen and those who only possess a motorcycle learnerís permit. All others may choose whether they wish to make a helmet a regular part of their riding gear or not. It is important to note when make this decision, though, that helmets saved 1,658 lives in 2006. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that another 752 live could have been saved if a helmet had been used. Licensing regulations for motorcycle operators vary from state to state as well. In Minnesota you must first posses a valid driverís license. You can then go to your local driverís exam station and pass a written knowledge exam. Once that has been completed, you have one year to complete a road skills test to acquire the final endorsement.
It is estimated that a motorcycle driver has less than two seconds to decide what to do in an accident situation and do it. Many of the laws and licensing regulations are set up to help protect riders and other drivers. Over fifty percent of the riders who have been in an accident are found to have less than five months of experience on their bike. It is also found that 92 percent of the riders involved in an accident are essentially untrained. Typically, they are either self-taught or have been taught by family and friends. Of all of the motorcycle accidents that occur, one-fourth of them only involve the motorcycle. Most typically an inexperienced rider will enter a curve traveling too fast. If they lean the bike too far to one side to try to make the corner, the rear tire may slide out from under the bike and dump the rider and any passengers onto the roadway. If the rider does not lean the bike far enough, they will under-steer the corner and possibly leave the roadway and/or lose control of the bike.
The other three-fourths of the motorcycle accidents that occur involve another vehicle of some sort. Intersections are the most likely place for these incidents to occur. Motorcycles look much different than most anything else on the road. A lot of drivers are not expecting to look for a two-wheeled vehicle. Anything can hide a motorcycle from another driverís attention. Most of the drivers of the other vehicle in motorcycle accidents claim to have seen the motorcycle too late to avoid it, or not to have seen it at all. 98 percent of these types of accidents end in injury. 43 percent of those are not minor injuries.
There are many other factors that may be present in a motorcycle wreck. Over fifty percent of the accidents involve alcohol use on the part of the biker. 73 percent of the riders were not wearing any form of eye protection at the time of the accident. Imperfections in the roadway, like potholes and ridges, are only involved in about two percent and animals in the road are present in a little over one percent. Weather is a factor in only about two percent of the motorcycle accidents in America.
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