ROAD TO ZERO

Utah sees spike in bicycle fatalities

Aug 10, 2022, 6:51 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — It has been a tragic and deadly year for bicyclists on Utah roads.

According to the latest numbers from the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah has seen 11 fatalities, more than any previous year in the past decade, and there are still five months left in the year.

In 2021, there were six reported deaths. In 2020, there were eight, and in 2019, there were six.

“This has been a terrible year on our roads. We’ve seen a record number of fatalities. It’s definitely concerning,” said UDOT spokesperson John Gleason. “When we are talking about the most extreme numbers we’ve seen in 10 years, that’s the focal point, but these are human stories and these are human tragic events that we need to keep in mind.”

Gleason said they are still trying to figure out all the reasons why this year is so bad, but they believe it has a lot to do with an increase in speeding and distracted drivers.

“We are seeing a number of speeding citations and the number of risky behaviors increasing on our roads,” Gleason said. “There’s going to be a lot of studies done on what we’ve seen since the pandemic.”

Lisa Hardy has still not completely healed. She ended up in the hospital and doing rehab for several months after being hit by a car on her bike in South Jordan several years ago.

“I broke my pelvis in three places, my shoulder blade, and my cheek bone,” Hardy said. “I was in the bike lane where I was supposed to be and she did not see me and hit me.”

Now, she rides mostly trails and stays off the road.

“I think there are more distractions — people on their phones and they are looking down quick and look back up,” she said. “That one- or two-second look down, there could be a biker right there.”

Gleason hopes messages like this can remind all drivers to pay attention.

“Sometimes our minds skip over it and we’re not always looking for bicyclists. So we need to train our minds to really look for bicyclists,” he said.

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Utah sees spike in bicycle fatalities