Motorcycle rally highlights safety tips

Friday , June 13, 2014 - 11:47 AM

HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Beneath the thunder of jets zooming across the sky, more than 200 motorcycles roared out of the parking lot onto the street to cruise through Weber and Davis counties to let other motorists know they should share the road. 

The motorcyclists included civilian employees at Hill Air Force Base,  Air Force personnel, law enforcement officers and two mayors. They were participating in the fifth annual “See Me Save Me” motorcycle rally on Thursday. 

The 43-mile, one-hour ride began at Hill’s motorcycle safety training range, wound through the base into Roy to Wilson Lane, along Washington Boulevard in Ogden then into South Ogden to Highway 89 before ending up in Layton. From there the rally went west and followed Main Street to State Street in Clearfield through Sunset before ending in Roy at the Hill Air Force Base Museum parking lot. 

Layton Mayor Bob Stevenson said he was riding in honor of former Mayor Steve Curtis, who died a year ago, as well as to promote safety. Stevenson has been riding motorcycles most of his life. Sunset Mayor Beverly Mcfarlne rode as a passenger on a motorcycle driven by a worker on the base. 

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"I believe it is important we need to be aware of motorcyclists,“ Mcfarlane said. 

The ride was sponsored by the 75th Air Base Wing. 

Vice Commander Col. Frederick Thaden said many of those employed on the base ride motorcycles to and from work when the weather warms up. 

In 2013 in Utah 31 people were killed in motorcycle accidents. In the Air Force there were 18 fatalities involving motorcycle accidents in 2013. Since the beginning of 2014 in the Air Force there have been 8 fatal motorcycle accidents, Thaden said. 

Allan Woods, the 75th Air Base Wing safety officer, has been coordinating the event since it began. He has ridden motorcycles most of his life.

He said the most common threat to motorcyclists “is the dreaded left-hand turn. The vehicle driver is looking at us, but looks right through us and then pulls out.” 

Woods, of Layton, has not been in an accident to date, but has had plenty of close calls. 

He recommends that motorcyclists take a safety training course, not only to learn evasive maneuvers, but also to correct bad habits. 

Woods said he did not realize until he took the course, he failed to use his mirrors. 

"I was not paying attention to them,“ Woods said. ”Motorcyclists need to be aware of what is going on around them all the time.“ 

Woods said the rally gives motorists an opportunity to realize they need to share the road with the motorcyclists. 

The following are tips for driving around motorcycles provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety:

  •  Check  blind spots - really check. If a vehicle can disappear in a blind spot, a motorcycle can really disappear.
  •  Don't tailgate motorcycles - they can stop faster than a car.
  • Use extra caution at intersections - many motorcycles are hit by vehicles when they're turning, both left and right. Look, and then look again.
  •  Focus on the road - distractions can be deadly for all roadway users.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers and several police officers from local agencies, including Clearfield, Layton, Ogden and the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, rode with the motorcyclists. 

They also closed intersections along the way so the motorcyclists could get through without causing too many delays. 

Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or lpark@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE. Like her on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/SELorettaPark.

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