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Lake Elmo man's motorcycle-related death prompts alert from state

State public safety officials are urging safety on the roads after a man died this week in a Lake Elmo motorcycle crash.

The crash, involving a 28-year-old man, occurred Tuesday after his motorcycle left the road and struck a tree. Authorities identified the man as Nathan Helmer of Lake Elmo.

The crash represented the first motorcycle fatality of the year in Minnesota, according to a Department of Public Safety news release.

State officials cautioned riders, who are out earlier this year with unseasonably warm weather.

According to the state:

• Motorists are advised to watch carefully for motorcycles in traffic, and always look twice before turning or changing lanes.

• Riders are advised to wear protective gear, travel at safe speeds, pay attention and ride sober. DPS advises that riders seek safety training at, and wear high-visibility riding gear.

"Most motorcycle crash fatalities result from rider error," says Bill Shaffer of the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center (MMSC). "Many crashes can be avoided with crash-avoidance skills developed through training."

According to the release, there were about 41 rider deaths last year. Rider deaths, the release states, account for 10 percent of total traffic deaths annual.