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Motorcyclists react to recent increase in crashes, fatalities

Jul 4, 2023, 10:02 AM | Updated: 2:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Highway Patrol is sounding the alarm saying there have been far too many fatal motorcycle crashes on Utah roadways.

So far this year there have been 462 motorcycle crashes resulting in 22 fatalities, 13 of those deaths just since Memorial Day.

Last year that number during the same time, the 100 Deadliest Days, was only seven.

“If we continue on that same trend with motorcycle fatalities, through this summer, this is definitely going to put us ahead of last year, which last year was kind of a record-breaking year for us,” Sgt. Cameron Roden, a public information officer for the Utah Highway Patrol, said.

Roden said the data so far suggests a 50/50 split between motorcyclists and drivers when it comes to who is at fault in these incidents.

“It’s a shared responsibility when it comes to looking at what we need to do to change that,” he said.

He is reminding all drivers to pay attention, put down distractions and share the road. 

“For motorcyclists, the message we have for them is to make sure that they are obeying the laws of the road. We’ve seen a few that their speeds were too fast for the conditions,” Roden said.

Tawnya McGrath and Diana Young with biker advocacy group The Belles Utah said they have been monitoring the numbers and are not happy with this trend.

“We are seeing too many deaths, too many injuries,” Diana Young said. “We all need to have some patience, have some kindness. We want to share the road and we want to be safe as well.”

McGrath gets upset when she hears of motorcyclists at fault in these incidents, by speeding on the roadways.

“It upsets me because it really does give us a bad name,” she said. “At the same time it is our responsibility to be seen and to also anticipate that we are not, that drivers don’t see us.”

She said over the last year her love for riding has not changed but unfortunately her habits have.

“I haven’t ridden as much this year as I normally do because of it seems like every day I am seeing a new fatality,” McGrath said.

The Belles Utah provide educational courses to bikers, from beginners to even long time riders. Like UHP, they want to see these crash numbers come down and are pleading for all, drivers and motorcyclist, to share the road.

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Motorcyclists react to recent increase in crashes, fatalities