Fatal Minnesota motorcycle accident raises safety issues

The motorcycling season in Minnesota is brief, not surprisingly, given the yearly climate cycles. But although shorter than those of other states, the biking season in Minnesota is a glorious one with the many lakes, rivers, forests and open prairie to explore. Sadly, no motorcyclist is completely safe on Minnesota roads and motorcycle accidents happen all too often, some of them fatal.

On a Saturday evening in late June 2013, a 26-year-old cyclist from rural Minnesota tragically died in a collision with a motor vehicle in Lakeville in suburban Dakota County. According to news reports, the motorcycle driver was riding on a major street when the other vehicle turned in front of him. The victim was not able to stop and hit the rear of the turning vehicle, causing him to fly off the cycle into the other vehicle and the street. He reportedly died at the scene of the motorcycle accident from a resulting head injury and was not wearing a helmet at the time.

Minnesota motorcycle accidents by the numbers

In June 2013, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released 2012 statewide motorcycle accident data. Not surprisingly, the three Minnesota counties with the highest number of motorcycle accidents were in the Twin Cities metro area: Hennepin (340), Ramsey (146) and Dakota (110) Counties. Statewide that year, there were 1,563 motorcycle accidents, 51 of them involving fatalities.

Use common sense to stay safe

While motorcycle accidents are often caused by the fault of other drivers, a biker can take common-sense steps to protect him or herself while riding. For example:

  • Do not tailgate.
  • Wear a helmet and eye protection.
  • Stay within the speed limit especially on gravel and curves, on wet pavement and in traffic.
  • Wear sturdy, thick clothing like a jacket, leggings, shoes and gloves.
  • Have routine maintenance and needed repairs done on the motorcycle.
  • Do motorcycle safety checks regularly.
  • Drive defensively and don't assume other vehicles will yield even when they should by law.
  • Follow traffic laws; don't attempt fancy maneuvers or illegal moves like passing between lanes of cars.

Seek legal advice

Anyone injured in a Minnesota motorcycle accident or who has lost a loved one in such an accident should discuss the incident with an experienced Minnesota personal injury attorney to understand his or her legal options for recovery and for assistance dealing with the insurance companies involved. If the other driver was negligent or reckless, that may be the basis of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.