Deadly motorcycle crashes on track to meet 2016 record

Local News

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 Utah)  Motorcycle crash survivors issue a warning about the importance of safety gear. 

So far this year, 18 people have died while on a motorcycle. That’s on track to meet last year’s record year of 41 deaths, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Nathan Christensen considers himself lucky he’s not one of those statistics after a driver made a u-turn in front of his motorcycle going nearly 50 miles per hour. 

“I impacted her front driver side and was thrown over the front of her side for 30 feet and landed on my head and shoulder,” Christensen said. 

The Murray resident was air lifted to the hospital with severe injuries – ranging from a severely broken leg, broken ribs, shoulder blade, collar bone, vertebrae, a punctured lung and a concussion. 

“This was with all the gear on. Had I not been wearing the gear, I wouldn’t be here,” Christensen said. 

Two years later, Christensen still struggles with injuries. 

Trauma surgeons at Intermountain Medical Center see up to a dozen people injured by motorcycle crashes every week. Half of those who don’t make it, failed to wear a helmet.  

“The the most common cause of death in a motorcycle crash is a massive head injury. The helmet really is the most important piece of equipment a rider can wear,” Dr. Dave Morris said, Intermountain Medical Center trauma surgeon said. 

“Over the last few years, we’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of motorcycle crashes in the state, especially with fatalities,” Marques Varela said, motorcycle safety program manager at the Utah Department of Public Safety. 

To prevent further deaths, Zero Fatalities, Intermountain Medical Center’s level 1 trauma program and Herrison Eurosports team up to encourage riders to wear the proper safety gear to prevent anyone else from becoming a statistic. 

“I will admit, it really stirs something inside me when I see people riding without the proper gear and being unsafe. It really does leave a pit in my stomach,” Christensen said. 

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