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Motorcycle deaths up 56% within a year

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Motorcycle Safety Center reported last week that motorcycle deaths in Minnesota are up 56 percent from the same period last year.
As of June 19, 25 motorcycle fatalities were reported by the DPS. Since then, a motorcycle death was reported in Sibley County, and a motorcycle driver and a passenger were killed on Interstate 90 near Jackson.
And those are just the fatalities. It seems that motorcycle accidents with injuries also are on the increase.
Part of the reason may be that there seems to be more motorcycles out on the roads. When gas prices pushed $4 a gallon two summers ago, it seemed more and more people pulled their bikes out of the shed and used them to commute during the summer months.
But a 56 percent increase in fatalities since June 2014 is both startling and frightening. What’s happening?
The DPS cannot pinpoint a specific reason that there are more motorcycle fatalities. But it does know that 17 of the 22 crashes that resulted in the 25 fatalities (three of the fatalities were passengers; the rest were drivers) were in rural areas. Eleven of those crashes occurred when motorcycle drivers were trying to negotiate a curve. In three of those crashes, another vehicle failed to yield.
 And age does not seem to be a factor. Eleven riders killed this season were over 50. Nine were between the ages of 30-49, and four were in their 20s.
The DPS is urging all drivers, regardless of age, to either get trained, or refresh their training.
And it wouldn’t hurt the rest of drivers on the road, be they driving cars, semis or other vehicles, to be mindful of the cyclists in our midsts. Motorcycles are sometimes hard to see, and we tend to get distracted more easily by our phones, radios and passengers.
Please, please, let’s all be a little more careful, a little more considerate, a little more patient, and a little more well-trained.