MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More motorcyclists have died this year on Minnesota roads compared to last year at this time, according to officials with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Officials said 26 riders have lost their lives in 2013. There were 18 motorcycle deaths at this time last year.
Already in July five riders have died, including three on the Fourth of July in two separate crashes, and a couple in their 50s on Monday. Only one of those victims wore a helmet, prompting the Department of Public Safety to renew its call for all motorcycle riders to wear their helmets.
“We recommend that everyone wear full protective gear when riding and that includes a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet. We also want to see folks wearing motorcycle specific jackets, eyewear and boots,” said Bill Schaeffer, a motorcycle training specialist.
Although a public outcry usual follows a jump in fatalities, Schaeffer said any changes in policy or a mandating helmet use must come through the legislature, not the DPS.
“We work within the framework of our current law, and that law gives licensed operators and their passengers over the age of 18 the choice, to wear a helmet or not,” he said.
Schaeffer said he believes that common sense should also play a role in how someone suits up to ride. He said the numbers “do not lie,” and a national study shows that a rider’s survival rate in a crash jumps by nearly 40 percent if that rider is wearing a helmet.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Chris Simon Reports