UHP: Motorcycle speed club a symptom of illegal street racing boom | News, Sports, Jobs
HUNTSVILLE — Two riders who were seriously injured in a motorcycle collision on State Road 39 last weekend participated in an unofficial illegal racing club, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
One person suffered serious injuries and the second motorcyclist suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries in Sunday’s crash, UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden. He said the two were racing on a remote stretch of SR 39 in the Monte Cristo area when one passed a switch and slowed, with the second runner penetrating it.
Roden said street racing has become a growing concern in major cities across Utah, as evidenced by recent crackdowns by Ogden and Salt Lake City police. But unofficial gatherings have also taken place more on highways.
“They’ll block the road and run races, even on the freeway,” Roden said.
Ogden Police Department traffic control chief Lt. Cameron Stiver said street racers have complained to justify urban racing that there are no more convenient organized running tracks.
“We did some blitzes on race issues,” Stiver said in a recent interview. “To ignore it would be a mistake. If they want a racetrack built, they have to petition their community leaders.
Salt Lake City police and UHP soldiers staged a street race July 15-16, arresting 15 people and towing 14 cars. Calls to Salt Lake police about illegal street racing rose from 71 in 2019 to 409 in 2020, according to a news release.
Speeding in general is being increasingly enforced this summer following a new state law that makes driving over 105 mph an act of reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor. Roden said also referred drivers to the Utah Bail Schedule, which describes the potential shock of the speeding sticker. For example, speeding over 100 mph, as well as 31 mph or more over the speed limit, carries a mandatory minimum fine of $720.
Speeding is implicated in 30% of Utah road deaths, Roden said. There have been 57 deaths in the category so far this year. In 2021, there were 8,105 speed-related crashes, resulting in 109 fatalities.
In the motorcycle accident category, data from the Utah Highway Safety Office shows there were 118 accidents involving motorcycles in Weber County in 2021, including one fatality. Statewide, there have been 1,163 accidents involving motorcycles, with 41 fatalities.