Springtime weather means motorcycle season, and safely sharing the roads

The warmer weather in Minnesota brings back motorcycle season, and the potential for serious accidents. Both motorcyclists and vehicle drivers can benefit from being alert, safe and sharing the road.

The start of spring brings motorcycle season back to Southern Minnesota. And in the past couple years, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports that the number of licensed motorcycle riders has reached the highest in the state's history. With this increase in ridership comes an increase in motorcycle-related accidents, as well as a need for safety awareness for both motorcyclists and other vehicles.

Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable individuals on the road, accounting for six deaths so far this year in Minnesota and a total of 44 in 2014. Additionally, according to the DPS, 1,266 crashes in 2013 involved at least one motorcycle.

Three of this year's fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in Southern Minnesota on April 18. WCCO reports that these accidents involved a 37 year-old man and 38 year-old woman on a motorcycle that collided with a Cadillac crossing Highway 68 in Blue Earth County and a 53 year-old man who ran into a culvert on County Road 7 in Goodhue County. None of the victims were wearing helmets.

Safety tips for motorcycles and other vehicles

Because of these alarming statistics, it is important for both bikers and other vehicles to take precautions to prevent motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration designates May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and urges drivers of all vehicles to "share the road" safely.

Automobile drivers can watch for motorcycles when entering the freeway or roadway and when changing lanes or merging into traffic. It is also helpful to avoid any type of distracted driving, such as texting and other cell phone use, and to keep from following motorcycles too closely.

Motorcycle operators can ensure they have proper training and a license endorsement. They also can protect themselves and their passengers against more severe injury by wearing DOT-approved helmets, brightly colored clothing, and safety gear such as Kevlar or armored jackets which also can increase visibility and protection, particularly at night.

Obtaining insurance and contacting an attorney

Motorcyclists also can protect themselves, their passengers and their property by carrying enough insurance to cover all potential injury, liability and losses, including provisions in the event that the other driver is uninsured or under-insured. And, in the event of an accident, particularly one involving physical injury or a fatality, it can be beneficial to obtain legal representation to help with your legal claim. The experienced attorneys at Ryan & Grinde, Ltd. can act as your liaisons with the insurance companies, helping you obtain the legal justice and financial compensation you deserve.

Keywords: motorcycle accidents, sharing the road, rider safety