According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah motorcycle deaths have increased by 50 percent this year so far this year. This statistic includes the six deaths during this past month. Thursday, officials cautioned riders and asked them to take the necessary steps to be safe. The article used Peter Ballentine’s 2012 example. As he was driving back to Utah from Jackson Hole, Wyoming when he came across five black Aberdeen Angus cattle in the middle of the road. Ballentine managed to avoid most of them. However, he was clipped by the last one and skid across the street cracking the gasoline tank on his motorcycle.
Ballantine recounted the experience saying, “My motorcycle exploded, pouring gas all over and setting me on fire.” Fortunately for Ballentine, he was wearing flame-resistant material on his pants, jacket, gloves, and helmet. Ballentine began to stop, drop, and roll and was able to extinguish the fire.
As paramedics arrived on the scene and saw the burning remains of his motorcycle, they immediately tried to put Ballentine into an ambulance. The medical professionals took one look at the flaming bike and assumed that Ballentine must have been injured terribly. Ballentine told those that arrived on the scene that he was okay. “I said, ‘I’m perfectly fine.’ I didn’t have any broken bones. I wasn’t bleeding. I didn’t have any numbness or tingling.”
Later, at a press conference, spokesperson for the Utah Department of Transportation, John Gleason said that Ballentine was lucky and more motorcycle riders should purchase gear like his. He also recommended those who drive motorcycles take a course to remind them of appropriate motorcycle safety. “We’ve already seen ten motorcycle fatalities this year, which is double what we saw last year at this time…and it’s concerning because we are just heading into those months when we see fatalities increase because there are more people out trying to enjoy the weather.”
Motorcycle deaths are a problem in Utah. Although motorcycles only make up three percent of all registered vehicles, they represented 14 percent of highway fatalities last year. Ballantine encouraged riders to retake a safety course to renew the skills that might not be as sharp after a long winter of not riding.
We are glad to learn that Peter Ballantine was okay. At The Advocates Law Firm, we have seen the dangers of riding a motorcycle without proper equipment. In an article on bestbeginnermotorcycles.com they suggest using the following:
- A Helmet. There have been significant studies demonstrating the importance of using a helmet. Those who use a helmet are more like to survive a severe motorcycle crash.
- Gloves. Often, when people are involved in a motorcycle accident, they will extend their hands to brace the impact of the crash. This action can put your hands and fingers in danger if you are not adequately protected.
- Jacket. This tip isn’t just a fashion statement. Even though this piece of equipment has made its way outside the world of riding, it is still imperative. It can protect you from inclement weather and a slide across the blacktop.
- Boots. Proper boots can protect your feet. Similar to gloves, you don’t want your tennis shoes to fly off when you are crashing.
- Pants. Similar to the other suggestions, motorcycle pants can protect your legs in the event of a crash. According to the article in bestbeginnermotorcycles.com, your jeans will be shredded to threads if you are in an accident. They do not provide the protection you need.
The suggestions listed above can be pretty costly when you purchase all of them. However, you must ask yourself if you would rather pay out a little extra cash now or have to pay thousands of dollars of medical bills and possibly suffer irreparable harm to your body by not having them if you are in a crash. Peter Ballantine was smart and wore the needed gear to keep himself safe, and it paid off. We encourage you to do the same.