ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Public safety officials say Minnesota drivers need to keep an eye out for motorcyclists who are taking advantage of the early spring weather.

Officials also are urging motorcyclists to ride safe and smart.

Minnesota recorded its first fatal motorcycle crash of 2016 on Monday. Fifty-two-year-old Duane Gordon Bixler of Fridley and his passenger, 48-year-old Joni Sue Miranda of St. Paul, were killed when their three-wheeled motorcycle collided with a minivan in Fridley.

Last year, Minnesota's first motorcycle fatality of the season happened on March 15. According to preliminary reports, there were 61 motorcycle deaths in the state in 2015. That's up from 44 fatalities the previous year.

Bill Shaffer of the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center says at this time of year, both motorcyclists and motorists need to be extra cautious.

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