The push to reduce crashes and increase highway safety continues. The Michigan Department of Transportation is reminding Michigan that the number of deaths, compared to last year was passed some time ago. According to an MDOT release on Tuesday, Michigan State Police are reporting 19 more people died on Michigan roadways since last week making a total of 692 this year. In addition to those deaths, 167 more people were seriously injured for a statewide total of 3,420 to date. That’s 59 more fatalities than last year at this time and 395 more serious injuries.

As part of their Towards Zero Deaths campaign, MDOT is focusing on motorcycle safety, pointing out that half of all motorcycle fatalities involve riders who are not properly licensed. Michigan requires a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license to legally ride a motorcycle on state roadways. Although motorcyclists under the age of 18 are required to take a motorcycle safety course, applicants over 18 years old are not required.

It’s highly recommended for all new or returning riders to take an instructional course. MDOT emphasizes that training and education is an ongoing process for every rider and should not end with licensure.

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There are three key skills that can help make a rider safe:

  • Negotiating curves: Riders should slow down before a curve, look where they want to go, press the handlebar in the same direction as the curve, and roll on the throttle during a turn.
  • Turning: Connect the dots by looking to the end of the turn and the motorcycle will follow.
  • Braking: Seventy percent of a motorcycle's stopping power is in the front brake. Squeezing the front brake and pressing down on the rear brake will allow a rider to make smooth, controlled stops.

The Michigan Department of Safety is also reminding riders that they should always wear a helmet and protective gear. Finally, as riding is a demanding and complex task, riders should stay sober while riding. In 2016, 1 in 3 bikers killed in a single-vehicle crash had been drinking.

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