The International Motorcycle Show rolls into town this weekend and it's bringing a simulator that will allow riders the chance to put their driving skills to the test in a virtual environment.

With a seat, handlebars and the standard motorcycle controls, the SMARTrainer will allow riders to navigate through several scenarios and receive a performance review from an instructor certified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

The show coincides with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety announcing its list of motorcycle safety courses that will be offered in 2013. Information on course offerings will be available at the show, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Class information also is posted on the department's web site,

Last year was a deadly one for motorcyclists on Minnesota roads, with 53 riders killed according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

With a goal of sharply reducing the number of fatalities in 2013, the department's Motorcycle Safety Center is urging all of the state's 230,000 motorcyclists and 400,000 licensed operators to take a training course this year.

"2012 was a dealy year on the road for motorcyclists,  and it's up to both riders and drivers to reduce these tragedies," said Bill Shaffer of the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center. "Riders can take responsibility by keeping their skills sharp through training, wearing high-visibility protective gear and riding sober."

Among the new offerings this year is the SMARTrainer Plus course. In the course, participants will use the simulator that tests thier ability to navigate 15 hazards and traffic situations in urban, suburban and rural settings. The scenarios presented in both in daylight, night and foggy conditions address situations such as passing a parked truck with an open door and encountering pedestrians.

That course will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 26, Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23, and March 2, 16 and 30 at Century College's Transportation Facility in Afton.



This scenario tests a motorcyclists' ability to recognize and navigate around a truck with an open door

This scenario tests a motorcyclists' ability to recognize and navigate around a truck with an open door


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