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2008 deadliest year for bicyclists since 2000

Bicyclists, motorists urged to share the road safely this season
May 4, 2009 ST. PAUL, Minn. - Following the deadliest year for bicyclists in eight years, state traffic safety and transportation officials are urging motorists to drive alert as warm weather arrives and bicyclists return to the road. Last year 13 bicyclists were killed, the most since 2000 (14) and a significant increase from the four bicyclist deaths in 2007.

More bicycle commuters last year was a factor in the increase in deaths. A similar number of bicyclists is expected this year and safety officials urge caution for those who may be new to bicycle commuting.

“The spring and summer months bring new challenges for motorists as bicyclists join traffic, so it’s critical that everyone share the road,” said Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel. “During May, National Bike Month, we want motorists to recognize bicyclists as people, not obstructions, and bicyclists to recognize and obey stop signs and traffic signals, not ignore them.”

Each year, an average of eight bicyclists are killed and more than 950 are injured in crashes with motor vehicles, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. More than 60 percent of bicycle crashes occur from June through September. Most bicycle crashes occur during afternoon rush hours.

The major contributing factor in bicyclist-motorist crashes is failure to yield the right of way. Both bicyclists and drivers are at fault for this. For bicyclists, another crash factor is disregard for traffic control devices. A crash factor for motorists is failing to see bicyclists and driving inattentively. People under age 25 are at greatest risk; they represent more than half of all bicyclists injured annually.

These Swans sighted fishing on the Moose Horn River near Sturgeon Lake.

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