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Police host safety event, say accidents involving bikers spike when weather warms up

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Posted at 5:55 PM, May 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-02 19:55:38-04

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah – The Cottonwood Heights Police Department hosted the Canyon Bike Festival Saturday to raise awareness about the dangers motorcyclists and bikers face on Utah's busy streets, as police report a spike in motorcycle and bike accidents in Utah during the spring and summer months.

“It seems to increase this time of year as the weather warms up; more riders are out on the road,” said Mark Askerlund from the Cottonwood Heights Police Department.

Roads were closed after a fatal collision between a motorcycle and a vehicle in Ogden Monday night. And a man from Kaysville was killed when he crashed his motorcycle into the back of a semitrailer in Wasatch County on Highway 40 last Sunday.

Saturday, a man suffered critical injuries after a motorcycle and car collided and officials believe the driver of the car did not see the motorcyclist.

Askerlund said it's important for both drivers and bikers to be aware.

“Have common courtesy, give plenty of room to the bicyclists when you're passing,” he said.

Helen Knipe with the Utah Department of Public Safety talked about strategies drivers can use when they encounter a motorcycle.

“Motorcycles are smaller than cars," she said. "They’re harder to see, so if you’re leaving a driveway or making a turn, you do a quick check."

Motorcyclist Dave Palazzolo talked about some common mistakes bikers make.

“We're good at using the throttle, we're good at twisting the throttle and getting a go fast, but we're not always good at using the brakes and using the brakes appropriately,” Palazzolo said.

The Utah Department of Public Safety is offering motorcycle safety courses, which Knipe says come highly recommended for anyone who owns a bike.

"It teaches them life-saving skills and strategies to ride safely among all the car traffic that's out there," Knipe said.

They offer the courses at various locations around Utah. For more information, click here.