Skip to main content

Officials urge motorcycle safety as season gets off to an early start

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Public officials are urging safety as motorcycle riding season gets off to an early – and deadly – start.

This comes a day after a rider and passenger were killed in a crash Monday. Duane Bixler, 52, of Fridley, was driving the motorcycle when he went through a red light and hit a minivan. He and his passenger, 49-year-old Joni Sue Miranda of St. Paul, were both killed, the Anoka County Sheriff's Office says.

The incident marks the second-earliest motorcycle fatality ever in Minnesota, the state Department of Safety says. The earliest motorcycle death happened Feb. 23, 2002.

Last year, the first rider death of the season occurred March 15. During the 2015 riding season, there were 61 motorcycle fatalities, up from the 44 in 2014, preliminary numbers show.

“It’s the time of year when motorcyclists and motorists need to be extra cautious out on the roads,” Bill Shaffer, with the Department of Public Safety, said the news release. “Riders haven’t been out on the road for a few months, so it’s a good idea for them to take some time to brush up on their skills. Motorists also need to remember to look twice for motorcycles.”

As the warm weather continues, the agency is reminding riders to wear full, brightly-colored protective gear and a helmet, to drive at safe speeds, pay attention, don't follow too closely and to ride sober. Safety officials are also encouraging riders to take a training class.

The Department of Public Safety is also asking motorists to keep an eye out for motorcycles, and to look twice before turning or changing lanes.

There are more than 236,000 registered motorcycles in the state, with more than 414,000 people licensed to drive them, the Department of Public Safety says.

Next Up


Ryan Poles picking Chicago creates battle of the rebuilds with Vikings

Both of the Vikings' GM finalists land in the same division looking to return to relevancy.

David Ortiz

Twins congratulate David Ortiz on HOF induction, it ends badly

Twins fans haven't forgotten the biggest mistake in franchise history.

Snowmobile tracks Any Arthur Flickr

Who left the burnt snowmobile on a frozen Minnesota lake?

There wasn't much left beyond the frame and a few other large, metal parts.

T Kline Robbinsdale City Council

Charges: Drunk council member fled police on wrong side of Hwy. 100

The complaint alleges he caused a wrong-way crash, then drove around an officer that tried to stop him.


What does the future hold for the Vikings at linebacker?

Anthony Barr is hitting free agency, and Eric Kendricks is approaching age 30

vehicle car

String of vehicle thefts in St. Paul, most left running unattended

The department is urging people not to leave their car running unattended.

kid hospital doctor

Child COVID hospitalizations reach pandemic-high in northern MN

As omicron surges, more kids are ending up in the hospital.

ice fishing close unsplash

'It's disgusting': Anglers dumping sewage on to popular ice fishing lake

A local CO told Bring Me The News it's people in newer, RV-style wheel houses.

Alejandro Rios and Michael Steward

Reward offered for information on 2021 double fatal shooting in St. Paul

It's been a year since Alejandro Rios and Michael Stewart were found dead on the sidewalk.


Dept. of Public Safety reacts to spike in motorcycle deaths

The number of motorcycle deaths so far this year has already exceeded the death total from last year and has Minnesota Department of Public Safety calling for more awareness and training. The most recent fatality happened when a motorcyclist rear-ended a tractor north of Sauk Rapids Wednesday night.

Dry conditions give wildfire season an early start

Mid-February is not usually wildfire season. But this is no ordinary winter. Over the weekend crews responded to a grass fire near Hugo and a forest fire near Superior. Andover's fire chief says "it's almost scary dry" for this time of year.

Farmers gamble on weather, get early start in fields

Some farmers are out planting nearly a month earlier than usual. They're taking a calculated risk: They get a huge jump on the season, but if freezing temperatures return it could damage seeds and plants.