The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating a fatal bike crash in central Minnesota.
A 51-year-old Sartell man was apparently doing everything right, wearing a helmet and riding his bicycle on the wide shoulder of a rural central Minnesota road. But authorities said despite the cyclist's precautions, he was killed after a car struck him from behind.
According to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, a 2012 Ford Edge struck John Girard Seiler at County Highway 2 just south of St. Wendel Township Tuesday night. He was thrown from his bike into the ditch and died at the scene.
"I think he was doing anything he possibly could. He was riding in a legal, safe manner, traveling where bicyclists should travel," Chief Deputy Bruce Bechtold said. "And I can't imagine he could've done anything differently to prevent this for himself."
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A Pasadena, Calif., woman was headed to Michigan when she drifted off the road and hit Seiler, Bechtold said.
Police identified her as 73-year-old Judy Ranson Post. Bechtold said there is no indication she was on the phone or texting. Post submitted to a voluntary blood test at an area hospital.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported a 10 percent increase in bicycle crashes in 2014 over the previous year. There were 776 bike crashes in 2014 with five fatalities. About 95 percent of all bike crashes and nearly half of the fatal injuries occurred in urban areas with populations of 5,000 or more.
Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota Executive Director Dorian Grilley said riders and drivers must be extra attentive on rural roads where the speed limits are 55 mph or higher.
"The problem is that in greater Minnesota the speeds are higher and being struck from behind often does result in serious injury or a fatality," Grilley said.