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88-year-old trike cycle driver crashes; passenger, 79, dies

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An 88-year-old trike cycle driver crashed into a ditch in western Wisconsin, killing a 79-year-old passenger, authorities say.

Investigators say the Saturday crash happened on Highway 63 at about 12:27 p.m. east of New Richmond, Wisconsin, roughly 45 miles northeast of Minneapolis, according to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office.

The 88-year-old driver, Robert Kastens, and his passenger, Charlene Kastens, were thrown from the three-wheeled Honda vehicle, investigators said.

The two, both from Deer Park, Wisconsin, were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul by ambulance. He had non-life-threatening injuries, but Charlene Kastens was pronounced dead at the hospital. Their relationship was not immediately disclosed.

Trike bikes have become more popular in recent years with aging bikers suffering from aching joints and slowing reflexes, the New York Times reported. The older riders favor the steadier three-wheelers that don't have to be balanced with legs at stop lights, the newspaper reported.

Wisconsin has had nine motorcycle-crash related deaths this year, compared to 13 at this time last year, the state DOT reported.

There were 84 motorcycle crash fatalities in 2013 in Wisconsin, a 28 percent decrease from 2012 and the lowest mark since 2009, largely due to increased safety campaigns and a shortened riding season, the Appleton Post Crescent reported.

In Minnesota last year, there were 60 motorcycle fatalities, up from 55 in 2012, state officials reported.

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