On social media last week, I noticed a trooper behind two motorcycles on I-35 near Faribault in a snowstorm, was that a joke?

It was not a joke. Two motorcyclists traveling south became stranded on I-35. The motorcycles were towed due to the weather.

Spring is upon us, and motorcycles are once again sharing the highways. Unfortunately, the state has already seen two fatal motorcycle crashes this year.

Motorcycle use is at an all-time high, and the two primary factors involved in these crashes are “driver inexperience” and “speed."

In Minnesota, more than half of motorcycle crashes are single vehicle crashes. One reason that riders are killed is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection for the riders. The occupant protection built in to our passenger cars protects us greatly, but that cannot be incorporated within a motorcycle. Serious head injuries are common among fatally injured riders. This is why helmet use is very important.

Nationwide, 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is only 20 percent. Nationwide, 25 percent of motorcycle operators killed in crashes are not licensed or are improperly licensed to operate a motorcycle. Approximately half of all fatal single-vehicle motorcycle crashes involved alcohol.

Driving a motorcycle requires more skill and coordination than driving most other vehicles, and impairment, even at lower levels, diminishes judgment and motor skills greatly. It is not advisable to ride a motorcycle that you are not able to push or pull upright by yourself.

A motorcycle must fit the person, and the style of the cycle should fit the user.

All motorists are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.

Motorcyclists are reminded to make themselves visible to other motorists. For more information on motorcycles, crash facts, training courses and research go to: www.nhtsa.gov.

You can avoid a ticket – and a crash – if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send them to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, MN, 55901-5848, or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.