A busy stretch of Excelsior Boulevard was closed for most of Tuesday night after a fatal crash involving a motorcycle, and the wreck has many metro riders talking about safety and trying to raise awareness about smaller vehicles on Minnesota's roads.
According to police, an SUV pulled out in front of the motorcyclist while the rider was trying to make a left turn, which is one of the most common risks motorcyclists face.
"Motorcycles have a much smaller profile -- both from the front and the side, so people don't have that locked in as a visual recognition in most cases," explained Eric Larson, a motorcycle safety instructor for the Department of Public Safety. "They are used to seeing the profile of a car, the double head lights."
Larson is in his 10th season of teaching new riders and those looking to freshen up their skills, and he says even he has had some close calls, like most riders do.
"I've had several, and you are going to have them on the road," he said.
Larson said he was driving on Highway 10 in Blaine and was passing a semi-trailer on the left when the driver of the rig started coming over into his lane.
"There was a piece of rod sticking out of the cement barrier, and it went into my leg," he recalled.
Rusty Ogren has also been riding motorcycles for most of his life, and he says he repeats safety courses often -- but he can also relate to the biker who was killed near Lake Calhoun, who was not wearing a helmet.
"It's not comfortable," he admits. "It bounces on my head while I ride, it limits my vision. It's not comfortable for me, and for me, it's a choice."
Larson, on the other hand, advocates for as much safety equipment as possible, and he practices what he preaches.
Police had to close both directions of the boulevard from near France Avenue all the way to Lake Calhoun on Tuesday night to respond to the fatal crash. The victim has not yet been identified, and it's not yet known if distraction played a factor in the crash -- but many bikers say that's their biggest fear.