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Number of Minnesota motorcycle fatalities nearly at 2012 total

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The numbers are striking: Minnesota has already had 53 motorcycle fatalities this year, when it had 55 in all of last year, according to state data.

The state is on pace for 68 motorcycle deaths for 2013, Minnesota safety officials say.

That would be a higher number than in recent years, although there was a spike in 2008, when there were 72 motorcycle fatalities in Minnesota, according to state statistics. The record high came in 1980, when there were 121 motorcycle fatalities, state data say.

Among the recent fatalities was 92-year-old Jim Kromschroeder.

KARE 11 examines the numbers and talks with Mary Berger of Waconia, a motorcyclist who nearly lost her life in a crash in 2011.

"It reminds me every day, like the scars on my body remind me every day, that life is precious," she told KARE. "Driving a car and a motorcycle is a privilege and we all need to be careful. We all need to look out for the other person."

The state offers these tips:

For motorists — Watch for motorcycles, and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes. Due to the smaller size of motorcycles, their speed and distance is more difficult to judge. Give riders room and check blind spots. Pay attention, drive at safe speeds and drive sober.

For riders — Wear protective gear, including a DOT-approved helmet, riding gloves, boots, pants, jacket and eye protection. Pay attention to riding, ride at safe speeds and ride sober. DPS advises riders to take safety training courses to hone skills.

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