Safety officials urge drivers to be safer around motorcycles after a dramatic rise in biker deaths

Apr 23, 2019, 6:15 PM

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Officials from UDOT and UHP are very concerned about how deadly 2019 could be for motorcyclists.  There was a big spike in the number of biker deaths over last year, and we could match that this year.

Harley rider Lindsay Ross can remember being hit by a vehicle that ran a stop sign in Park City.  Luckily for her, she was wearing her protective gear and her helmet, but, she was pretty banged up.

Ross says, “I had some broken ribs and a broken shin bone and some bruising.  Thank God no road rash.”

She got back on her bike as soon as she could, since she loves riding, but, she says she has to be on the lookout for distracted drivers all the time.

“It’s every day.  Even on the way up here, there were people not paying attention.  Motorcycle season is pretty new, since it is getting warmer, so, I don’t think people are aware,” Ross says.

In 2017, there were 39 biker fatalities.  In 2018, that number jumped to 47.

“We’re already on par this year to hit that mark.  We can do better as a state,” according to UHP Sergeant Nick Street.

Safety officials say there’s a phenomenon called “inattentive blindness.”  This happens when a driver’s brain doesn’t recognize the motorcycle as something to worry about.  Street says drivers need to slow down how they scan the roads to make sure they see everything in front of them.

He adds, “You are not very easily going to see motorcyclists, so, slow down that scan as you come to intersections and roadways or when you pull from parking lots.”

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Safety officials urge drivers to be safer around motorcycles after a dramatic rise in biker deaths