MURRAY, Utah — There have been seven motorcycle fatalities in Utah in 2021. May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and one local club held an event in Murray on Sunday to help spread the word. Bikers at the event are pleading with drivers to be extra cautious on the roads this summer.
“Drivers out there need to keep their eye out for everything on two wheels, or three wheels if they are riding a trike,” said Radar, the road captain for the recently formed Down to Care (DTC) motorcycle club and nonprofit. “We’re in this together. We’re a community coming together, and everyone should be on the lookout for everyone else.”
“Our lives are more important than you receiving your messages on your phone,” said Jonathan Allen.
He and his partner Nancy Maurer know just how devastating distracted driving can be. The two were severely injured when a distracted driver hit them. Allen broke multiple bones, and Maurer had to be placed on a ventilator.
“It was very scary,” Maurer said. “I don’t wish anybody to be in an accident, big or small. You go from end-of-life status where I am today. It’s been a struggle every day for the last eight months.”
Sunday was the first time she had been on a motorcycle since the crash.
“It was extremely frightening,” she said. “I had a hard time, but I just thanked good lord above that I would be okay, and here I am.”
Almost all of the bikers at the event had a story of a close call with a distracted driver.
“There’s a lot of Utah drivers that don’t see motorcyclists,” Diann Blair said tearfully.
Blair’s husband died in a motorcycle accident last year after he went head on with a car in Idaho.
“We need to change the laws in this state for people to be more aware of bikers,” she added.
“If [a biker] were to get in a crash, [it is] 11 times more likely to end in a fatality than a driver,” said Marissa Hesterman, the program coordinator for Utah Highway Safety Office Vulnerable Roadway Users. “So, it’s so important to be aware of motorcyclists.”
Radar added that it’s also important for bikers to practice essential safety skills before heading out on the road.
“Practice those emergency stops. When you’re riding keep your head on a swivel,” he said. “Keep your eyes up, keep your eyes down. Immediately in front of you, two seconds down the road, 10 seconds down the road.”
A full list of safety information and resources for both drivers and bikers can be found at the Department of Public Safety’s Ride to Live Utah website.
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