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Riders, law enforcement stress motorcycle safety as weather warms up

Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 21:06:03-04

MURRAY, Utah — As we get into the warmer months here in Utah, you are likely to see more motorcyclists out on the roads.

Riding motorcycles is a lifestyle for Karl Baird.

"It's been going on for 30-plus years for myself and my family," said Baird.

Baird is the co-owner and vice president of The Chapel Motorcycle Shop in Murray.

He says in his years of riding, he has seen the good, the bad, and unfortunately, the ugly.

"My brother and business partner got hit right next to me," Baird said. "We've been first to respond to countless accidents."

According to the Utah Highway Safety Office, there were 1,148 motorcycle-related crashes in 2021. That resulted in 13 people dying on a bike, 41 altogether.

With ridership usually increasing in the warmer months, numbers show that crashes also go up.

Last year, according to the Utah Highway Safety Office, there were 66 motorcycle-related crashes in the month of March. Those numbers peaked in June, at 177.

Sgt. Cameron Roden with Utah Highway Patrol says one of the biggest things is motorists being distracted and not focused on driving.

"We've got to try to eliminate those as much as possible," said Sgt. Roden

Sgt. Roden says it is also important for motorcyclists to be aware and defensive as possible on the road.

"For the motorcyclist, it's important for them to get the appropriate driver's education, rider's education, give them the best chance to make sure they are riding properly," said Sgt. Roden. "But then drivers to make sure that they're being driving aware, driving focused and looking out for the other motorists, such like motorcycles."

It's a sentiment echoed by riders, like Baird.

"I would just beg everybody to pay attention, drive with your eyes open and be accountable, take responsibility when you're on the road," said Baird.

Both Baird and Sgt. Roden stressed the importance of motorcyclists having the proper gear, like a helmet, when they ride. The hope is that will keep riders safe, in case they are involved in an accident.