PALM DESERT, Calif. - The first day of May marked the start of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Unfortunately, it was preceded by two fatal motorcycle crashes over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, an accident in Desert Center involving a motorcycle took the life of a 49-year-old man from Las Vegas. That accident was followed by an incident late Sunday afternoon in Yucca Valley that left a motorcyclist dead following a collision on Twentynine Palms Highway. These are just the latest in a string of incidents this spring.
"Lost traction and went over the barrier almost off the cliff," Patrick Uher told KESQ News Channel 3's and CS Local 2's Katie Widner. "When I woke up and there were people over me I was, like, "Oh geez." The only thing I could think from there was, 'What's wrong with me now?' because I'm not moving. My arm is not moving."
Uher totaled his motorcycle last month on Highway 74 in Palm Desert. He said he took a turn too wide and wiped out after hitting a patch of sand.
He said the experience was a huge wake-up call for him.
"I need to get more experience with things, take it slower. You know, keep yourself in check more," Uher added.
Dave and Allison Woods operate the California Motorcycle Safety Program in Palm Springs and San Bernardino.
"Locals think that Highway 74 is graduation day," Dave said.
The experts recommend that new riders take their time easing into the hobby.
"What we absollutely encourage when you leave the basic training is to take your time to get the experience of being on the street and don't try to tackle things just because you have your license," Allison said. "It doesn't mean you're going to be good at what you're doing."
They also suggested that veteran riders stay refreshed on their riding knowledge.
"Your first class shouldn't be your last class. You should always keep training yourself over the course of your career," said Dave.
Dave and Allison said they live by the mantra 'ATTGATT,' which stands for "all the gear, all the time." Dave said there are lightweight jackets that have full coverage that can be worn in the desert heat, so there is no excuse.
In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Transportation have teamed up with local motorcycle training programs to offer four-hour refresher courses. The classes will take place twice in the local area this month.
You should always check your First Alert Weather Forecast before heading out for a long ride.