30K bikers cruise to help a children's hospital

Last year, the charity ride raised nearly $130,000.
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Bikers took over Minnesota roads Saturday morning for the 52nd annual Spring Flood Run.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 30,000 motorcyclists kicked off the unofficial start of the biking season with the charity ride. There were several routes for bikers to take – ranging from 100 to 200 miles in length – but they all covered the scenic Mississippi and St. Croix Valley roadways between the Twin Cities and Winona.

Bikers have been doing this since 1965. Back then, just 12 people rode the 90 miles to Winona to help sandbag during a flood.

Now, thousands of people turn up every year, and proceeds go to Gillette Children's Hospital. Last year, it raised nearly $130,000.

This year's earnings have not been announced yet.

Safety

Since it's biking season, the DPS released some safety tips for motorcyclists and other drivers.

Officials urge car drivers to watch out for motorcycles and look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes. Pay extra attention to your blind spots and give riders plenty of room.

Bikers are urged to be prepared for drivers who may not be paying attention. They're also encouraged to wear safety gear as well as bright colors so they're easier to see.

There are more than 236,000 registered motorcycles and more than 414,000 licensed operators in Minnesota.

Preliminary figures show there were 56 motorcycle deaths, and a total of 397 traffic fatalities in 2016.

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