As rider deaths climb, motorcycle foundation recognizes dealership for 18 years of supporting safety classes

L-R: Walter Crovo and Dave Jones, Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructors; Kurt Meeder, Factory Powersports general manager; and Tyson Pulsipher, Dixie State University director of Community & Community Education. Crovo and Jones presented a certificate to Meeder for the dealerships continued support of MSF safety courses, St. George, Utah, May 15, 2018 | Photo by Paul Dail, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — According to preliminary numbers, motorcyclist deaths as of mid-May had already surpassed the total number of rider fatalities in 2017. And with a recent incident involving a rider in Cedar City, the reports don’t show any sign of slowing.

Read more: Rider killed in motorcycle crash on SR-56

Factory Powersports, St. George, Utah, May 15, 2018 | Photo by Paul Dail, St. George News

As National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month comes to a close and the weather gets warmer – meaning more bikes on the road – these numbers serve as a good reminder that both riders and motorists need to be more aware of each other. It was with this in mind that the Motorcycle Safety Foundation presented a certificate of appreciation to Factory Powersports in St. George for donating motorcycles for use in the foundation’s safety classes.

“Factory Powersports, through all its names, has offered 18 years of service in the interest of public safety and rider safety,” Dave Jones said as he presented the certificate to the dealership’s general manager, Kurt Meeder.

Jones is one of the instructors for the motorcycle safety classes offered through Dixie State University Community & Continuing Education and held on the Ridge Top Range – former location of the St. George airport.

Jones told St. George News that The National Highway Transportation Safety Council reported 41 rider fatalities in Utah in 2017.

“We have exceeded that so far this year,” Jones said. “It’s a really sad statistic.”

Motorcycle lying in the middle of SR-56 after collision with Honda SUV that killed the rider, Cedar City, Utah, May 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Cedar City Police Department, St. George News

The incident in Cedar City resulted when an SUV pulled out in front of the motorcycle. According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, over half of motorcycle-car crashes are caused by drivers entering a rider’s right of way.

While this points to the need for more awareness on the part of motorists, it also illustrates the importance of safety classes like those offered by the MSF, and it’s a mission that Meeder said he supports.

“Safety is important,” he said. “More than anything, just instructing people about the basic riding skills so they get a foundation for that.”

It isn’t just about younger people either, Meeder said, adding that Factory Powersports sees a lot of older customers who are interested in riding but have never done so previously. He said:

A lot of times our riders come in having grown up around it. Their family was into dirt bikes or motorcycles or ATVs … but when you come in as an adult and you’ve never done this, these schools provide an avenue of education and basic safety skills. The best way to learn is to go to those and practice, practice, practice.

Meeder has been with Factory Powersports for four years but said the dealership has been donating bikes to the safety classes since they were Stephen Wade Powersports.

“They’re new units,” Meeder said of the motorcycles. “We have a program where we work with the manufacturers. They give us a little break to put them into service.”

L-R: Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructors Walter Crovo and Dave Jones speak with Kurt Meeder, Factory Powersports general manager, St. George, Utah, May 15, 2018 | Photo by Paul Dail, St. George News

One of the other instructors in attendance at the presentation, Walter Crovo, said he has always appreciated the support from Factory Powersports

“I can’t thank Kurt enough,” Crovo said. “It hasn’t been about money or selling more bikes. When I’ve talked to Kurt, he said, ‘Anything to promote motorcycle safety.’ This is a dealership that actually walks the walk and talks the talk.”

Unfortunately, Crovo said, the rider safety classes only run in St. George from September through March. While the Ridge Top Range has been called “holy grail of ranges,” it’s unavailable for use during the spring and summer months, primarily as a result of other organizations needing the range, including for wildland firefighter training.

“Those are our busiest months because people want to ride safely,” he said. “We can’t even help them. … That hurts me.”

For Crovo, it really is all about the rider and making sure they are able to be out on the road and safe. But while the fatality statistics are alarming, he said the motorcycle safety classes aren’t about scare tactics.

“I have adults who come into class who are like, ‘It’s not if you’re going to die of a crash on a motorcycle, it’s when,’ but I don’t buy that,” he said. “If you do what you’re coached, and you keep the risk factor down and the skillsets up and treat this serious, you will have a lifetime of motoring fun.”

Crovo said they call riding a motorcycle “serious fun.”

“Serious because there’s risk involved, and fun because it’s a freakin’ motorcycle.”


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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • comments May 28, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I know a lot of these younger riders that think they’re hotshots like to either wear gear that is totally jet black or no gear at all (think bermuda shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops). Best to wear full gear and at least some florescent colors (really, the more the better). Also get a headlight pulsator, run headlights on bright, and just expect people to make their L turns in front of you ALL THE TIME. Don’t ride like a clown and just expect auto drivers to do stupid things constantly–the kinds of stupid things that can easily result in your death–just prepare for and expect it.

  • Travis May 28, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    No sympathy for the guy passing and weaving and riding the DOUBLE YELLOW LINE at 70+ MPH the other day on Utah Interstate 15!

  • Jim Dandy May 29, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Thanks for the feedback. I see a lot of riders young and old riding in “fools gear”. ATGATT……ALL THE GEAR ALL THE TIME. Crazy disrespectful riders are on bikes and in cars…even in semis. I would love to fix that but…… show patience and be safe…..hopefully that behavior will rub off on those crazy drivers! I see crazy behavior on motorcycles daily and my heart wants to save them! I know with knowledge and training they can keep the fun meter pegged and RIDE SAFE! Hope to see everyone out on the road being respectful and polite no matter what rears its ugly head!!! Drive Safe!!!!

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