Minnesota reached a tragic milestone on Monday when the number of people killed on the state's roads this year surpassed 300.
Several fatalities over the weekend pushed the number to 304. Last year, Minnesota didn't surpass the 300 fatality mark until Nov. 8.
The fatalities this year include 56 motorcyclists and 24 pedestrians. Last year at this time, 266 people had died on the state's roads, including 41 motorcyclists and 14 pedestrians.
Among the most recent fatal crashes, a 63-year-old motorcyclist from Columbus was killed Sunday afternoon in a collision with a car headed in the opposite direction about 5 miles west of Stacy on Fawn Lake Drive in Anoka County. The Sheriff's Office didn't say which vehicle may have crossed the centerline.
The car's driver, a 21-year-old woman from Linwood, was not hurt.
Another motorcyclist, 25-year-old Joshua L. Larson, of Apple Valley, also was killed Sunday when his bike "jumped the median into oncoming traffic," hitting one car and then another while he was exiting Hwy. 212 at Valley View Road in Eden Prairie, the State Patrol said. Larson was wearing a helmet, according to officials.
According to state statistics, 36 motorcycle riders who were killed this year were not wearing a helmet and 23 motorcyclists were killed while negotiating a turn.
Public safety officials say that the increase in the rate of traffic fatalities this year is alarming but that the overall number of deaths on Minnesota roads has declined 12 percent in the past five years.