Motorcycle fatalities in the state are up slightly from over the same period last year, state officials said today.
Twenty-seven motorcyclists have died on Minnesota roads so far this year, compared to 25 last year. For the entire year of 2008, Minnesota saw 72 motorcycle fatalities, the highest number since 1985.
Speed, inexperience, inattention and impairment account for the majority of motorcycle crashes, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
"Motorcyclists should slow down, ride within their limits, stay focused and ride sober," the agency said in a statement released today.
Last year, 42 percent of riders killed had been using alcohol and were over the legal blood alcohol limit.
Officials also caution other drivers to be aware of motorcyclists on the road. Nearly half of all motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle.
Officials are urging motorcyclists and other drivers to follow basic safety guidelines in preparation for the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., which begins next week.
"Watch carefully for motorcyclists this weekend, and expect to see them throughout the summer and well into the fall," said Cheri Marti, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.
There are about 225,000 registered motorcycles in the state, a record high.