ROAD TO ZERO

Trooper Urges Riders To Have Safety Plan As Motorcycle Fatalities Surge

Aug 6, 2018, 9:45 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2018, 1:02 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – So far, 2018 is shaping up as Utah’s deadliest year on the road for motorcycles, and there are still three months of riding ahead.

The Utah Highway Patrol does not have any data-based explanations for the surge in motorcycle fatalities. But, a trooper with the UHP Motor Squad is urging all riders to have a safety plan for every ride.

“I would really love to see people wear protective gear, and really take care of themselves,” said Sergeant Nathan Croft, who has been a motorcycle rider, on the job and off, for more than a decade.

“I just recently came back on the motor squad,” he said. “My wife is a little bit stressed that I’ve decided to come back on the motor squad. But, I feel there are things to mitigate risk.”

Sgt. Croft said motorcycle riders need to slow down, wear protective gear, and enjoy the ride.

He performs the same safety routine every time he gets on his motorcycle.

“I always wear a helmet. I always wear protective gear,” he said. He also wears a motorcycle jacket when he’s on patrol.

“I’ve seen people riding with shorts and a T-shirt and flip-flops,” he said. “It’s pretty disheartening.”

“When we know a helmet could have saved somebody’s life, it’s an unfortunate crash to respond to when it’s such an easy thing to remedy,” said Sgt. Nick Street, a public information officer with the UHP.

Croft checks the air in his tires, checks his headlight lights and blinkers, and warms up with Figure 8s.

“It’s important to not just jump on the motorcycle and take off,” he said. “Get yourself warmed up, mentally prepared.”

MORE: Road to Zero Fatalities

Croft prepares mentally to be a defensive rider on the road.

“It hasn’t been going good, by any means,” said Street, referring to the rise in motorcycle fatalities.

There have already been 37 motorcycle fatalities this year. That’s two fewer than last year’s annual total of 39 and eight fatalities short of the Utah record of 45 motorcycle fatalities in 2014.

Just since Memorial Day, it’s been very dangerous for motorcycles.

“Seventeen crashes, with 20 deaths,” said Street.

There are no clear answers why.

“My personal feeling is: I think that less people are protecting themselves through proper gear and proper training,” said Croft. “A lot of people have experience riding. But, they really haven’t taken any comprehensive training courses.”

Many riders have a lot of time and experience on the road, without a lot of education about safety on the road.

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Trooper Urges Riders To Have Safety Plan As Motorcycle Fatalities Surge