A motorcyclist's death this week in Dakota County was the state's fifth such death in May, part of a pattern of increased deaths involving all kinds of vehicles on Minnesota roads.

Kou Yang, 31, of St. Paul, died at 7:25 p.m. Thursday on Hwy. 3 at E. 82nd Street in Inver Grove Heights, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. He was heading north when he lost control on a curve, was thrown from his vehicle and struck a road sign.

Yang's death was the eighth motorcycle death in the state this year, one in which overall road fatalities are up.

So far, 122 people have died on Minnesota roads, up 29 from the same time frame last year, according to a state Department of Public Safety news release.

The last time Minnesota had a higher death count on the roads by May 7 was in 2008, when there were 132.

Speed-related fatalities have doubled compared with the same time last year, with 50 deaths, the DPS said.

The second most common type of fatality was unbuckled motorists, at 35 deaths.

There have been 28 alcohol-related fatalities so far this year, down nine such deaths compared with last year.

The body count includes 13 pedestrians and two bicyclists. There have also been two fatalities related to distracted driving.

In the first six days of May alone, 12 people died on state roads, the DPS said.

Of those, four were speed-related, three involved alcohol use and two were motorists who weren't wearing seat belts.

"One bad choice on the road can lead to a lifetime of regret," Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director, said in a news release. "To help reduce the significant increase in traffic fatalities on our roads, we ask everyone to drive smart by slowing down, paying attention, planning a sober ride and buckling up."

The majority of motorcycle fatalities, including Yang's death, happened as riders tried to negotiate curves, the DPS said.

Officials advise motorcyclists to slow down, look through the curve, countersteer and gently roll on through the curve, according to the release.

Staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.

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