ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota public safety officials are worried 2013 could end as the deadliest year on the roads for motorcycle riders.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety figures show that 53 motorcycle riders have been killed on Minnesota roads so far this year. There were 55 deaths in all of 2012. And with prime riding season now here, public safety officials worry 2013 could end with close to 70 deaths.
Mary Berger of Waconia understands well the importance of sharing the road. She still rides her motorcycle as often as she can, even after nearly losing her life.
"It was very very close," says Mary.
In 2011, Mary was driving home on a Carver County highway. A teenage driver came to a stop sign, stopped, didn't see Mary on her bike and pulled out right in front of her.
"Because of the motorcycle training that I have taken I was able to not hit the other driver," says Mary.
She avoided a collision, but Mary hit the pavement and was severely injured.
"While I did everything I could to lessen the impact of the accident unfortunately I came very close to dying."
And many riders are dying according to the latest statistics from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. While the cause of the increase is not entirely clear, safety officials point to two common crash factors - rider error and drivers failing to yield the right of way.
Today, both Mary and her bike wear the scars of her close call.
"It reminds me every day, like the scars on my body remind me every day that life is precious," says Mary. "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 Minnesota State Patrol urges motorists to watch for motorcycles, and always look twice before entering a roadway or changing lanes. Because of their smaller size, the speed and distance of motorcycles is harder to judge. Give riders room and check blind spots.
For riders, the advice is to wear protective gear and pay attention to your riding, including riding at safe speeds. Riders are also advised to take safety training courses to hone their skills.
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