MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Pine County man is hospitalized after hitting a black bear on Interstate 35 near Pine City late Friday afternoon.

The Minnesota State Patrol says 48-year-old Edmund Hanson, of Brook Park, was driving on I-35 when a black bear stepped out onto the highway.

Hanson struck the bear and flew off the bike. He was wearing full protective gear but is in critical condition. Hanson was airlifted to an area hospital.

The small black bear was killed in the accident. Black bears are common in the area.

The state patrol is investigating.

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