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Minnesota motorists must practice motorcycle awareness

Summer may be over, but Minnesota's trees will soon be bright with fall colors. An autumn ride on a motorcycle is a popular way for some people to enjoy these scenic views. However, this also means that other motorists must be aware of motorcycles to ensure everyone on the road remains safe.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle accidents often occur when a motorist violates the motorcyclist's right of way. Motorcycles are smaller than standard vehicles, and, thus, less visible. Motorists may be distracted, and do not anticipate the motorcyclist's movements. And, a motorist may fail to check their blind spot before turning or changing lanes. All of these actions could lead to a motorcycle collision.

Deaths among motorcyclists and their passengers have gone up almost 3 percent since 2006. In fact, 2015 saw an 8 percent uptick in motorcycle deaths alone. And, in 2016, motorcyclists constituted 13 percent of all traffic deaths. These statistics show that motorcycle safety needs to be made a priority among all drivers.

Motorcyclists can drive defensively, wear a helmet and protective clothing and take other measures to keep themselves safe while on the road. Unfortunately, they are still vulnerable to serious injuries or fatalities when struck by an automobile. Simply put, a standard motor vehicle has the laws of physics on its side, being so much larger and heavier than a motorcycle, and motorcycles do not have the structural protection and safety features that automobiles do. Motorcyclists who have been injured by another motorist may want to determine what options they have for pursuing compensation.

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