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So far this year, 26 motorcyclists killed on state roadways

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

​ST. PAUL -- The three motorcyclists killed on July 4 in two crashes, plus two more fatalities Monday in Crow Wing County, have pushed the number of motorcyclist deaths to 26 so far this year.

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According to the state Department of Public Safety's Motorcycle Safety Center, 26 riders have lost their lives in 2013; there were 18 motorcycle deaths at this time last year.

Already in July, five riders have died, including three on July 4 in two separate crashes. That follows a deadly June when 10 riders were killed, making it the deadliest month for riders in 2013.

So far this year, there have been 162 traffic fatalities in Minnesota, 16 percent of which are riders. There were 55 motorcyclist deaths in 2012.

Department of Public Safety officials point to many of the same contributing factors for the rider deaths this year, including motorcyclist error and failure to yield the right of way.

Motorcycle Safety Center Program Coordinator Bill Shaffer encourages motorists to share the roads, drive at safe speeds and look twice for motorcyclists.

He also says riders should wear full protective gear, including a Department of Transportation-approved helmet, brightly colored jacket, rider pants, boots and gloves. Most importantly, he encourages riders to get trained.

"Training is a life-saving option that teaches riders crash-avoidance techniques to stay safe on the road," says Shaffer. "Any experience level is welcome; you can never get too much training as a new rider, returning rider or experienced rider."

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