By Shawn Hogendorf
April 19, 2013
A fresh spring snowfall won’t stop the annual Spring Flood Run from kicking off another motorcycle riding season along the roadways of the Mississippi and St. Croix river valleys on Saturday, April 20.
“The bad weather does not stop us,” the Spring Flood Run’s website reads. “The run is never cancelled because of anything! EVER!”
Breakfast at the Beach Bar in Lakeland starts at 8 a.m. Kickstands up at 10:30 a.m. The annual motorcycle run marks another riding season—with up to 30,000 riders hitting the scenic Mississippi and St. Croix Valley roadways—between the Twin Cities and Winona. Saturday’s forecast is for dry and sunny weather, with high temperatures possibly reaching 45 degrees.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging motorists to exercise extreme caution and look twice for motorcyclists. Riders also need to shoulder the responsibility for protecting themselves. To ensure a safe riding environment, law enforcement agencies in southeast Minnesota, including the Minnesota State Patrol, local police and county sheriff’s offices will conduct extra enforcement, especially targeting impaired driving and speeding, according to a news release from the Minnesota DPS. Wisconsin law enforcement agencies will also increase enforcement efforts on its side of the border.
According to DPS, the last 10 flood runs had zero motorcycle fatalities in Minnesota. “Statistics show riders and motorists are doing the right thing by sharing the road during this annual event,” said Bill Shaffer, motorcycle safety program coordinator for DPS. “We hope riders and motorists continue their safe driving behavior during this year’s event and throughout the rest of the riding season.”
Preliminary reports indicate there were 55 rider deaths in 2012, which accounted for 14 percent of Minnesota’s total traffic deaths. To date in 2013, two motorcyclists have been killed in crashes, one of which, took the life of a Lake Elmo man. Ridership is at record-high levels in Minnesota, with more than 237,000 registered motorcycles and 405,000 licensed operators. Motorcycle rider training courses begin in April and are available through October for new and experienced riders – register at motorcyclesafety.org,https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ots/mmsc/Pages/default.aspx.
MMSC added two new courses to their 2013 curriculum, the SMARTrainer Plus Course and the BRC Refresher Course. 7,438 students took a rider training course in 2012 with the MMSC. In the last five years, more than 40,000 students have been trained. Despite the last 10 fatality-free Spring Flood Runs, the event still has the potential to be a dangerous day on Minnesota roads, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
“All it takes is one bad decision for our roads to turn deadly,” Lt. Eric Roeske, of the Minnesota State Patrol said. “In many cases, that bad decision occurs when someone decides to get on a motorcycle after drinking or drivers fail to yield the right-of-way.”
DPS offers these safety tips for motorists and motorcyclists:
- Watch for motorcycles, and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes.
- Due to the smaller size of motorcycles, their speed and distance is more difficult to judge.
- Give riders room and check blind spots. Pay attention and drive at safe speeds.
- Be prepared for inattentive drivers by staying focused on riding and keeping your speed in check.
- Wear the gear. Motorcyclists should wear a DOT-approved helmet and brightly colored protective gear for visibility and protection.
- Don’t drink and ride. One-third of all motorcycle fatalities involve impaired rider