MURRAY (ABC4 News) – As motorcyclists begin taking their bikes out of the garage for a ride in the warm weather, Utah Highway Patrol want to issue a reminder about safe practices in the road.
“A day like today is a great day to be out on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are a lot of fun and it’s a great commuting option for a lot of people, saving on gas,” said Sgt. Nick Street with Utah Highway Patrol.
In 2018, troopers said there were a total of 47 motorcycle fatalities on Utah roads — up from 39 in 2017.
As a motorcycle rider himself, Sgt. Street said drivers need to look twice when turning or changing lanes. State law requires drivers to keep a two-second distance.
“Make those scans across the roadways to look for smaller vehicles. As we look for larger cars, it’s easy,” he said. “But now, we have to take a little slower scan of our left and right before we move into an intersection and make sure we’re not missing motorcycles.”
Kegan Morrison took his motorcycle out for a ride Friday night in Orem, but never came home. He collided with a car turning left. The driver said they didn’t see Morrison.
Although Morrison was wearing a helmet, his foster grandmother, Sue Ferre said he was ejected about 70 feet from his bike. She said nearly every bone in his body is broken.
“I told him that if he didn’t wear his helmet, I would disown him,” Ferre said with a laugh. “That helmet was probably what saved his life.”
Ferre is now urging other motorcyclists to wear a helmet when riding, even though it’s not required by law.
“You are not invincible. Most motorcyclists think they are,” she said. “They weave in and out of cars. Kegan was the same way.”
Sgt. Street, who has responded to fatal motorcycle crashes and seen the consequences firsthand, also encourages helmet use. He said 30 percent of riders killed in motorcycle crashes were not wearing a helmet.
“You can only break your head once,” he said. “Remember somebody loves you. Somebody cares about you. We’re the ones that have to have that difficult conversation with your family if something critical happens to you.
At only 24 years old, Morrison is now fighting for his life at Intermountain Medical Center. Ferre said he aspired to work towards being an electrician or installer.
“My heart just broke. He is my sole support in doing things for me,” said Ferre. “He is so loved by everyone. He is the kind of guy who, if you need something, he’ll be there to do it. He’s such a sweet guy.”
If Morrison survives his injuries, she said he’ll face a mountain of medical bills. If you would like to help, you can donate to his GoFundMe here.