IN FOCUS Discussion: Motorcycle safety and awareness

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In Utah, motorcycle crashes are 11 times more likely to result in death than car crashes. Over the past five years, 210 riders have died on our state’s roads. Motorcyclists are among the smallest and most vulnerable vehicles and, every year, experts say they see fatalities that could have been prevented if either party would have paid more attention and been more prepared.

As the weather warms up, state officials plead with both motorcycle riders and drivers in a new campaign called “Ride to Live” to be more careful and proactive on the roads this year. Officials are also seeing an increase in the number of registered motorcyclists from 43,271 in 2005 to 78,155 in 2019. The campaign focuses on two goals, to educate the public about lane filtering and encourage motorcyclists to enroll in skills courses.

According to state law, riders may engage in lane filtering when all of the following criteria are met: the movement can be made safely, the person is operating a motorcycle, they are traveling on a roadway with two or more lanes in the same direction, the speed limit is 45 miles per hour or less, the surrounding vehicles are all at a complete stop, and the motorcycle is traveling at 15 miles an hour or less.

Everyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet under Utah’s law. Experts say wearing helmets that meets UDOT’s standard is the single most effective means of reducing the number of injuries and deaths from motorcycle crashes. Between 2014 to 2018, only 63 percent of motorcyclists involved in a crash were wearing a helmet. Those who were not wearing a helmet were 1.6 times more likely to have fatal injuries.

The Utah Department of Public Safety offers a 25 percent discount to both new and seasoned riders who take a skills rider course through one of their four partners: Utah Rider Education, Dixie State University, Harley-Davidson of Salt Lake City, and Learn to Ride by SLCC.

Joe Perez, a motorcycle crash survivor joined ABC4’s Rick Aaron for an IN FOCUS discussion on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. to talk about the circumstances of his crash, how his riding gear and experience played a role in his survival, how it changed him and the way he rides, and what his message is to the public.

Kristen Hoschouer, Safety Outreach Administrator at the Utah Department of Transportation talked about the statistics related to motorcycle crashes, their new Ride to Live campaign with DPS, Utah’s Lane Filtering Law, why they encourage riders to take skills courses, and the enrollment discounts offered through their partners.

Trooper Andrew Pollard with Utah Highway Patrol’s Motor Squad discussed additional statistics about motorcycle crashes, the leading contributing factors, the criteria in which motorcyclists can lane filter, and the impact of helmets.

For more information, head over to ridetolive.utah.gov or zerofatalities.com/motorcyclists.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Perez, Hoschouer, and Tpr. Pollard, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

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