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Disturbing uptick in cycle-vehicle crashes

There has been a disturbing number of motorcycle accidents in recent weeks, and we beg to know why.
Tuesday, as we were putting this issue to bed, we learned that there had been a fatal motorcycle accident on Minnesota Highway 5 in Gaylord.
On Monday, Aug. 7, it was reported that a motorcycle and a sport utility vehicle had collided in Henderson, sending the cyclist to the hospital with, thankfully, non-life-threatening injuries. The Minnesota State Patrol reported five accidents involving motorcycles on Aug. 12 alone.
And it’s not just motorcycles that are being involved in accidents. On Aug.1, a bicycle was struck by a vehicle on Highway 212 near Glencoe.
Of course, we know that the incidences of motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents are more likely in the summer, when the weather is ideal for that bike trip or a walk.
But why have there been so many of these accidents? It is obvious that a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian is going to be more difficult to see than a semi or full-size vehicle, but still the proportion of motorcycle accidents to the typical motor-vehicle accident has been extremely high, particularly in the past couple of weeks. Is it distracted driving? On the part of the vehicle drivers? On the part of the cycle drivers?
It would seem that, in the wake of all these accidents, now is a good time to review our driving habits, particularly during this season when motorcyclists are out and about.
According to Drive Safely’s website, one of the first rules of driving safely around motorcycles is to double check oncoming traffic when making a lefthand turn. Check it once, then check it again. Far too often, vehicles start turning left and fail to see an oncoming cycle.
Second, check and double check at every intersection, regardless of whether you are turning or not.
Third, it’s not unusual to see motorcycles swerving in their lane of traffic. While potholes and debris can be a nuisance for vehicle drivers, they can be hazardous for motorcycles. Therefore, give them plenty of room as they head down the road.
And, fourth, stay well back if you are driving behind motorcycles.
If we all make a commitment to be more conscious drivers, we can reduce the number of motorcycle accidents that occur. In fact, we can make the highways, streets and roads safer for everyone. And that would be a good thing.