State motorcycle rider training starts in April

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) urges riders of all skill levels to take a training course, following a deadly year for motorcyclists in 2012.

Last year, 53 motorcycle riders were killed, a 26 percent increase from 2011. Motorcycle rider training is an affordable option that teaches crash-avoidance techniques and hones critical riding skills. Motorcycle training information will be presented at the Donnie Smith Bike Show Saturday and Sunday at the St. Paul River Centre. A complete course listing is available online at

Motorcycle riders are encouraged to register for the MMSC rider training season online at Courses run April through October and include the Basic Rider Course, the essential beginning rider course and the civilian police motorcycle course, where experienced riders can learn the same techniques used by police motor officers.

Courses are available at 30 campuses throughout Minnesota, including Duluth, Grand Marais, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester, St, Cloud and Twin Cities area.

Without proper training, new riders are more likely to be involved in a crash. Experienced riders also benefit from additional training to hone their crash-avoidance skills, including countersteering and emergency braking.

To promote rider training, MMSC is launching a “Ride Better. Ride Smarter. Ride Longer.” rider training campaign. The campaign aims to demonstrate the skills learned and honed through training that provide riders the means to be safer on the road.

The Donnie Smith Show provides riders the opportunity to talk to Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)-certified rider-coaches about rider training courses and other motorcycle safety topics. It also offers riders the chance to test their riding skills in a virtual environment on the SMARTrainer motorcycle simulator with a range of scenarios to test skills.

The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC) provides 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. The MMSC provides on-cycle and classroom rider training courses, develops awareness campaigns and informational materials, and coordinates third-party skills testing for motorcycle license endorsement through the Basic Rider Course and evening testing at select DVS Exam Stations.

Motorcycle safety is a component of Toward Zero Deaths (TZD), the state’s primary road safety initiative. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior.