ROAD TO ZERO
‘It’s very troubling’: Motorcycle fatalities up 40% in Utah; UDOT trying to find out why
SALT LAKE CITY — Alarming numbers from the Utah Department of Transportation show a huge increase in motorcycle fatalities in Utah this year, compared to the average of the last five years.
As UDOT announces those numbers have jumped quite a bit this year, a family in Murray is sharing how their son died on 900 East in Murray because a driver just didn’t see him.
In the front hall of their home in Murray, a photo of Nathan Lance serves as a constant reminder of the hole left in the Lance family.
“It’s devastating for everyone involved,” Tony Lance said.
Tony and his wife, Suzy, talked about how their 21-year old son was just getting ready to head to Texas to finish flight school. He was excited about school and what was in store for his life moving forward.
Down the street from their home is a constant reminder of why Nathan isn’t here today.
“He just didn’t have a way out. You could see the skid mark and he had half a second to figure it out and it killed him instantly,” Tony recounted of the crash that killed his son.
Tony and Suzy drive by that spot every day on the corner of 900 E. Vine Street.
They say an elderly driver turned left in front of Nathan as he rode his motorcycle down 900 East last November.
An honest mistake with a devastating outcome.
“As fast as police officers said, ‘Your son died,’ your life before ended. It’s over,” Tony said.
“We have before Nathan and after Nathan,” Suzy echoed. “And I think when you lose a son, you’re forever changed.”
Their family is just one of dozens since, where everything changed in a moment because of a fatal motorcycle crash.
“Right now, the motorcycle fatalities — it’s very troubling, and we’re seeing a big increase in the number of deaths of motorcycle riders,” said John Gleason, spokesperson for UDOT.
He explained that 27 motorcyclists have died on Utah roads so far in 2022, from January 1 to July 18. It’s far above the average of 19 looking at the same time period over the last five years.
That’s a 40% increase, Gleason said.
He’s not exactly sure why the numbers are as high as they are.
“It’s something that we’re going to be looking at to see why we’re seeing this increase in motorcyclist fatalities,” he said.
Gleason urged drivers to watch out and look for motorcycles as they’re driving, especially if they’re changing lanes or turning. He also asked motorcyclists to continue their training and education, and wear helmets and proper protective gear.
“We have to look at the shared responsibility that we each have as drivers of vehicles and as riders of motorcycles,” Gleason said. “We have to watch out for each other.”
UDOT is planning a social media campaign with posts and a video they expect to release this week, getting that message out to drivers and motorcyclists in an effort to prevent fatalities from continuing to skyrocket.
The constant reminder of road safety from UDOT is one the Lances are also sharing.
“It really was avoidable,” Tony said of the crash that killed his son. “I see people and they just don’t get what they’re doing. They don’t realize that they can actually kill someone. They can ruin their lives and other people’s lives around them just because they’re not paying attention.”
The message comes too late for the Lances, but they hope it’s not too late for someone else.
Suzy made a tearful plea to the public: “If you can be more aware, then you can save a family from going through this.”
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