ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) –- May was a deadly month for motorcyclists in Minnesota — and that’s prompted a warning from safety officials.

Seven people died in motorcycle crashes in May.

“At this point last year we only had five fatalities,” said Bill Shaffer, head of the motorcycle safety division at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. “We’re already up to 13 (so far) this year so we’re getting a bad start on the 2012 season.”

Shaffer said one reason for the high number may be the early spring. Another is an increase in riders.

In any case, many of the accidents are following the old patterns — crashes with cars and trucks, often involving driver inattention and failure to yield the right-of-way.

The department is out with a new TV ad and is reviving the slogan “Start Seeing Motorcylists” on bus signs and billboards.

Shaffer says the best advice is to take a safety course. They’re available for all levels of experience. And there’s information at


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