Statewide last year, there were 77 accidents including Off-Highway Vehicles, like ATVs or side by sides, that resulted in injuries. In addition, eight other accidents were fatal.
According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, in 2021, accident trends are higher than normal when it comes to fatal accidents.
“It seems to be a trend of excessive speed and we’ve had a drastic uptick in speed-related crashes so far this year,” Sgt. Jeremiah Bohn said.
Bohn said the biggest thing people riding motorcycles or UTV’s can do to reduce serious injuries is wear a helmet.
“There is no mandatory helmet law if you are over 18 but it is a big difference especially on a lot of crashes I’ve been to and I’ve been to quite a few,” Bohn said. “The helmets really make a big difference in whether the person survives or not.”
Bohn said for car drivers, driving defensively and aware is key when around those kinds of vehicles.
“When you spot a motorcycle keep an eye on them, know where they are at,” Bohn said. “Sometimes a motorcycle they can drive in three sections of the lane, sometimes they might be in the inner section of a divided highway. Sometimes they can feel like it’s a little close and just give them a little extra room.”
Similar to cars motorcycles also have blind spots. Bohn said motorcycle and UTV drivers also need to be mindful of other vehicles.
“Look behind you before you change lanes. There is also a false sense of security on a motorcycle that when people change lanes there is a smaller gap between the motorcycle and the vehicle they are pulling in front of just by the nature of proximity to them,” Bohn said.
Bohn said the Highway Patrol has a Vision Zero campaign to help decrease the number of fatal accidents, hopefully, down to none.