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DPS encourages Basic Ride Course

WORTHINGTON -- According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), there are almost 230,000 registered motorcycles in the state, with more than 400,000 licensed operators at the close of 2011. Ridership is at record-high levels.

As of January 2012, there were 1,210 licensed operators in Cottonwood County, 1,074 in Jackson County, 993 in Murray County, 1,936 in Nobles County, 981 in Pipestone County and 888 in Rock County.

Preliminary reports indicate 41 rider deaths in 2011, down from a 24-year high of 72 in 2008. Rider deaths account for 10 percent of Minnesota's total traffic deaths annually.

"A majority of fatal motorcycle crashes result from rider error," stated Bill Shaffer of the DPS Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC). "Many crashes could be prevented by riders honing their crash-avoidance skills through proper training."

Motorcycle rider training sharpens skills, gives riders the edge to be a better rider and may save their lives. In the past five years, 42,553 riders have taken a MMSC training course. The courses are available in a variety of skill levels.

The Basic Rider Course is recommended for beginning riders, and also for those who are returning to riding after not being on a bike for some time. Riders under the age of 18 are required to take this course to obtain a motorcycle permit. Participants must be 18 or older and have a motorcycle permit to take the course to receive a motorcycle endorsement.

The Basic Rider Course will be taught at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington Campus, April through August. Through the Pipestone Campus, the course will be taught at the Pipestone Area High School.

Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck can be reached at