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Motorcycle deaths up in 2011; two so far in Washington County

Washington County is among a handful of counties with multiple motorcycle fatalities through the first half of 2011, contributing to a death rate above 2010 levels.

There were two fatal crashes in Washington County between January and July; only Scott County had a higher total at three deaths. Five counties had two deaths each.

Twenty-two motorcyclists have been killed statewide this year, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced Wednesday. That is up from 17 in the same period last year.

"A big concern is that August and September are typically high-traffic and high-fatal months for riders," Bill Shaffer, state motorcycle program coordinator, said in a release. "Rider and motorists need to share the road and be watchful of each other."