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Motorcycle safety top of mind after deadly weekend

Senators were discussing plans to delay the confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump's pick to be Veteran Affairs secretary over growing questions about the nominee's ability to manage the government's second-largest department. (Photo: Utah Highway Patrol)

SALT LAKE CITY — A series of motorcycle crashes over a beautiful spring weekend has state troopers reminding both bikers and drivers to be more aware and careful.

“Three [accidents] in a short period,” Sgt. Danny Allen, head of the Utah Highway Patrol’s Motorcycle Squad, observed. “That’s not a good start to the riding season.”

In Pleasant Grove and Riverton, officers say vehicles pulled out in front of the riders, leading to the crashes. In the third accident, a motorcyclist lost control in Grand County, sliding into the gravel shoulder. Two of the three accidents resulted in deaths.

Allen says it’s imperative for cyclists to take riding courses to keep up their skills, as well as wear safety gear. He also said it’s smart for riders to assume they can’t be seen.

“You have to ride like you are invisible to the public,” he advised. “We talk about cars seeing motorcycles and defensive driving, but one of my big things is, I want motorcyclists to improve their skills. They need to improve their riding skills.”

Drivers still bear responsibility as well, however. State troopers say it’s up to drivers to check twice for motorcyclists, not just relying on their mirrors alone to spot them.

Courses for motorcyclists are available at Salt Lake Community College, the state Driver License Division, and at Harley Davidson.