Thousands of motorcyclists will kick off the unofficial start of the Minnesota riding season during the “Spring Flood Run” this Saturday (April 20). The route takes riders along the scenic Mississippi and St. Croix Valley roadways between the Twin Cities and Winona.

Motorists need to use extra caution this weekend with thousands of motorcyclists riding between the Twin Cities and Winona for the event. Riders should take safety into their own hands and motorists are encouraged to always look twice for motorcycles.

Riders also should watch for dangerous spring riding conditions as the April snow melts. Snow run-off freezes at night, pavement is uneven and there is sand and gravel at intersections and turns.

To ensure a safe riding environment, law enforcement agencies in southeast Minnesota will have patrols out during the event. The Minnesota State Patrol will also have troopers patrolling the area.

“Riders and other motorists need to work together and share the road to prevent deadly crashes,” says Lt. Gordon Shank, Minnesota State Patrol. “Taking small steps like putting on your helmet and protective gear or looking twice for motorcyclists before pulling out into an intersection could save another person’s life, or your own.”

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Motorcycle Safety Center (DPS-MMSC) offers these safety tips for motorists and motorcyclists:

Motorists:

Watch for motorcycles. Speed and distance is difficult to judge due to their smaller size. Always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes. Give riders room and check blind spots before changing lanes or making a turn. Pay attention and drive at safe speeds.

Riders:

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 riders. Take a training course. Training is underway at most MMSC training site

The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) provides high-quality rider education, training and licensing to prevent motorcycle crashes and the resulting fatalities and injuries. It was created in the early 1980s to address record high motorcyclist fatalities. Visit motorcyclesafety.org for more information.

– Photo courtesy of the Internet Public Domain