State puzzled by rise in motorcycle fatalities

Published 9:19 am Monday, June 18, 2012

FALCON HEIGHTS — State officials and motorcycle enthusiasts are puzzled by an alarming rise in fatalities.

The Department of Public Safety counted 17 motorcycle deaths in Minnesota by Saturday. There were only 10 at this time in 2011.

Steve Krenz with the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center said, “It’s really sad, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

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Krenz suggests that riders of all ages and experience levels take the state’s rider safety class. He spent Saturday at the Antique Motorcycle Show on the state fairgrounds, recruiting riders to sign up and sharpen their skills. More than 9,000 people will take the safety classes this year.

The Department of Public Safety is also trying to spread the message to motorists via digital boards on metro freeways to “Look Twice for Motorcycles.”

One factor could be a longer season. Warm weather this year set in sooner than last year. Motorcyclists were riding in March.

“I think some peope think they’re going to live forever and you can’t have that attitude,” said longtime rider Tom Kluver. “You have to be on edge all the time.”