COLORADO SPRINGS — Motorcycle crashes are happening at a troubling rate in Colorado. "We've seen a 25% increase in motorcycle fatalities so far this year compared to last year," said Sam Cole, Colorado Department of Transportation, Traffic Safety Communication Manager. “A lot of those fatalities are happening in El Paso County.”
El Paso County has an unwanted lead, still, plenty of other Colorado counties are showing increasing motorcycle crashes. Cole said, “most motorcyclists are responsible.”
A closer look at 2020 data shows most motorcycle crashes for the year so far are single-vehicle crashes. “In other words, it only involved a motorcycle, which means it was most likely the motorcycles fault,” said Cole, “They’re going too fast they’re riding aggressively.”
There is also a significant number of accidents with vehicle drivers to blame. “They [motorcycle riders] are really at the mercy of drivers on the road; they really depend on drivers to see them, to yield to them, and to give them plenty of space,” said Cole.
One of the most commons car verses motorcycle scenarios is the car cutting off a motorcycle at an intersection.The two scenarios show that improvement requires change by both motorcycle riders and drivers. Slowing down and better attention to driving are important and simple solutions.
No matter how big or small your vehicle may be, we all need to keep an eye out for motorcycles that always have a small profile on our Colorado roads.
Now is the time of year when we’ll see more and more of our neighbors and even visitors out on the road enjoying some two or three-wheel freedom. There are always those commuters who share the road every day, but the summer weekends are the most popular times for those looking for a break from the everyday.
Riders on the less visible vehicles sometimes fall victim to distracted drivers, not being seen in a larger vehicle’s blind spot, wildlife encounters, or the very avoidable speeding or reckless driving incident.
CDOT offers these tips to motorists for how to avoid collisions with motorcyclists:
Allow extra space when following a motorcycle – use the ‘three-second rule’ to ensure adequate distance.
- Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
- Motorcycles can be hard to see at a distance so use extra caution when turning left at an intersection.
- Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
If you or someone you love is considering getting the required motorcycle endorsement from the state of Colorado or are already licensed, encourage them to check out state’s Motorcycle Safety Operator Safety Training program.
Data from the state cites a 2015 survey indicating 35% of the 106 motorcyclists killed on Colorado roads did not have a motorcycle endorsement or did not have a license of any kind. That’s a somber reminder of the importance of training how to properly navigate our roads rather than relying on skills learned behind the wheel of a car.
There are programs across the Pikes Peak Region and the state that offer training for beginners and advanced riders. As the basics of motorcycle operation are the same no matter whether you like dirt bikes, dual-purpose, sportbikes, touring bikes and cruisers, you’ll learn what you need.
Don’t have a motorcycle yet, but want to earn that endorsement? No problem, schools offer a motorcycle and helmet as part of the training program. You just need to come prepared with basic safety gear.