STILLWATER, Minn. - It's like the Minnesota fishing opener, only on two wheels.
An estimated 30,000 motorcycle riders will hit the roads of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin Saturday for the annual Flood Run, which takes bikers up and down scenic roads along the Mississippi River and St. Croix River Valley. For many it is the first major ride of the year.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety urges both motorists and motorcyclists to use extra caution to avoid collisions. Drivers are advised to look extra hard for bikers as their machines are smaller and more difficult to spot. Riders should watch their following distance, be extra aware at intersections and stay out of blind spots.
“Riders should be doing everything they can to prevent crashes and make it home safe from every ride,” says Lt. Tiffani Nielson, Minnesota State Patrol. “Ride smart, ride sober and wear protective gear. Even though other drivers should be looking twice, be aware that they might not always see you.”
To help keep things safe the State Patrol and law enforcement agencies in southeastern Minnesota will be running extra squads.
DPS offiers suggestions both for those on four wheels and two.
- Watch for motorcycles. Due to their smaller size, of motorcycles, their speed and distance is more difficult to judge
- 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
- Be prepared for inattentive drivers by staying focused on riding and keeping your speed in check
- Wear the gear. Motorcyclists are highly encouraged to 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 sites