Utah law enforcement is stepping up motorcycle safety awareness. As part of a statewide campaign, “Heads Up: We’re All Responsible,” motorcycle enthusiasts, equipment suppliers, and police recently gathered to raise the profile of motorcycles with all drivers. The effort is part of the larger Zero Fatalities campaign, which has the goal of bringing annual traffic deaths as close to zero as possible. Last year, thirty-six motorcyclists were killed in crashes on Utah roads.
The emphasis on motorcycle safety is timely, although unrelated to any particular incident. Recent Utah news coverage has included numerous stories about motorcycle crashes, many with unhappy endings.
April was a particularly bad month. Two motorcyclists died in back-to-back crashes in Midvale on the sixth and in Layton on the seventh. On the twenty-second, a retired Millard County sheriff’s deputy was killed and his wife seriously injured when he apparently lost control of his motorcycle and drove off I-15 near Kanarraville. A very serious non-fatal crash made the news on the nineteenth.
The most prominent incident also happened on the nineteenth when the owner of a well-known Salt Lake City deli was struck while riding his motorcycle by a driver who has since been charged with driving under the influence. That collision demonstrated exactly what police and motorcycle safety advocates stressed at the “Heads Up” event: both motorcyclists and other drivers have to do more to improve safety. In this case, the driver of the car made an incautious left turn into the path of the motorcycle, which had the right of way. Actions such as this are perhaps the most common event in car-motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, the motorcycle driver was not wearing a helmet, which greatly reduced his chances of surviving a crash. Utah law does not require operators over the age of eighteen to wear helmets, but they are encouraged to do so.
Motorcyclists aren’t always the victims, however. On April 13, a six-year-old Salina boy was killed after he stepped into the road in front of a motorcycle whose driver did not see him.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, but motorcyclists need to be vigilant year round. While the rate of crash deaths for cars has dropped significantly in recent decades, it’s held steady for motorcycles, in large part because new technologies—airbags, anti-lock brakes, and so on—either can’t be added to or are less effective on motorcycles. Per vehicle mile driven, motorcyclists now experience twenty-six times the level of fatal crashes as passenger car occupants. Many people ride motorcycles to experience the freedom of the open road, but at the same time, they must stay alert to the road’s dangers and look out for their own personal safety. Other drivers often claim they did not see the motorcyclists they hit, but more than 40 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes don’t involve another vehicle.
At the law firm of Craig Swapp & Associates, we understand the potential complexities of motorcycle crashes. We work hard to achieve the best outcome for our clients, whether that means a settlement or bringing a case all the way to trial. The victims of motor vehicle accidents are entitled to fair compensation for the damages and injuries caused to them by others, and that’s what we strive to achieve.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, give us a call to see if we can help. We offer a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Call us today at 1-800-404-9000 or contact us online. You can also launch the LiveChat application from any page of this website to have your questions answered in real time.