WILLMAR -- Police officers in Willmar, Atwater and Benson along with Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies will work special "safe and sober'' shifts focused on motorcycle safety this weekend, according to an announcement from the departments.
The focus will be on motorcycle safety, and that means also enforcing laws to protect the safety of those on motorcycles. Officers will be looking for driver's violations that could endanger motorcyclists, as well as any violations committed by riders, according to the announcement.
Motorcycles represent about 5 percent of registered vehicles in Minnesota, but account for 16 percent of traffic fatalities.
All motorists are urged to pay more attention to motorcycles. Always look twice for motorcycles, and never follow too closely. Motorcycles stop much faster than cars, and their brake light isn't as visible as the high-mounted center stop lamps on cars and larger vehicles.
Motorcyclists need to do more for their own safety. More than half of motorcycle crashes involve only one motorcycle. Riders age 40 and older account for over half of all injuries and nearly three of four rider fatalities in Minnesota in recent years.
Motorcyclists should always ride smart, sober and at safe speeds. Motorcyclists are also urged to "ride visibly'' with their headlights on and to wear protective clothing.
-- Staff reports