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Spike In Motorcycle Deaths Has DPS Concerned

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(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
Edgar Linares moved to the Twin Cities 24 hours before the largest...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Forty-seven motorcycle deaths so far this year has the Minnesota Department of Public Safety calling for more awareness and training. For 2011, motorcycle deaths totaled 42.

“This surge in death is a major alert to all of us,” said Bill Shaffer with the DPS Motorcycle safety center. “At the rate we’re going we’re projecting 56 motorcycle deaths this year.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

The latest death happened Wednesday night when John Mihlbauer, 45, of St. Cloud was heading south on Highway 10. Minnesota State Patrol says he struck a tractor between Sauk Rapids and Rice and died at the scene. Mihlbauer’s death makes No. 8 for the month of September.

The deadliest month has been August with a total of 10 motorcycle fatalities. The deadliest year was in 1980 with a total of 121 deaths.

“These deaths are happening far too often and are far too preventable,” said Shaffer.

DPS says the crash factors each year for rider deaths include rider error, alcohol use and motorist failure to yield. And with autumn season approaching the motorcycle dangers increase.

“As we enter into fall we have deer, we have darkness ensuing a lot earlier each day, we have farm equipment on the roadways,” said Lt. Col. Matt Langer. “As the riding season gets extended it seems like some of the dangers become more and more prevalent.”

DPS is asking motorcyclist to be well trained and wear the appropriate gear including a helmet.

“The most professional riders, the safest riders train all the time,” said Lt. Col. Langer. “They practice their skills and are never complacent.”

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