Officials say motorcycle fatalities in Colorado are up 6% compared to 2021; year to date, we have had 75 fatalities in 2022 compared to 71 this same time last year. It just appears that drivers aren’t watching for us. CDOT has launched a new motorcycle campaign to get drivers’ attention in parking lots before they head out on the street.
“With the growing number of distractions in our lives, we need everyone to be more aware of motorcycles on our roads,” said Darrell Lingk, CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director. “This campaign serves as a great reminder for drivers to watch for motorcycles before they turn onto busy roads.”
Each year, the number of motorcycle riders injured or fatally killed grows. Many of these accidents are due to some form of distracted driving and cagers/drivers not paying attention. It is no longer just texting & driving, but illegal u-turns, running stop lights and stop signs, and the deadly driver left turn that is the cause of most of the fatalities we have reported. (BikerDown Colorado)
In 2020, 140 motorcyclists were killed; in 2021, CDOT recorded 137 motorcyclists. The most motorcycle fatalities took place in El Paso and Jefferson counties.
The new signs can be found at the following local participating parking lots:
- Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center (Propark) at 650 15th St.
- Springhill Suites (Propark) at 1190 Auraria Parkway
- Canopy Airport Parking lot (Propark) at 8100 Tower Rd.
- 555 17th St. Parking Garage at 1755 Glenarm Place
- Denver Athletic Club at 1325 Glenarm Place
- Independent Financial Bank Garage (Interstate Parking) at 1332 17th St.
- Alamo Plaza Garage (Interstate Parking) at 1401 17th St.
To prevent motorcycle crashes, CDOT asks drivers to:
- Allow extra space when following a motorcycle
- Allow motorcycles the full width of a lane at all times.
- Use extra caution when turning left at an intersection – motorcycles can be hard to see from a distance.
- Check twice for motorcycles before turning, changing lanes or merging with traffic.
- Never drive distracted or impaired.
This year Governor Polis designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and proclaimed Aug. 12 as Motorcyclist Memorial Day, and Governor Hickenlooper designated in 2015 the same proclamation except designated the date of May 17th to commemorate Motorcycle Awareness Month.
This writer can absolutely appreciate the effort of the CDOT and MOST team in coming up with creative marketing campaigns, but as a biker who rides, I feel that these campaigns would be more effective if the local law enforcement and Colorado Highway Patrol would enforce the distracted driving, as well as ticket and fine these drivers.
Checkpoints for drinking & driving have curbed the number of drivers driving impaired. Checkpoints for distracted driving, insurance checkpoints would not only fine drivers for their bad driving habits but also would be points against their licenses. Repeat offenders would face stiffer penalties and eventually, it would send a message that the impulse to read your texts while your vehicle is moving. Taking simulators to the new drivers in the high schools so that they can see for themselves how quickly distracted they can be on their phones.
50% of all drivers are driving with basic liability, a 25k maximum coverage, or no insurance. 4 of 10 injured riders that request help thru BikerDown Foundation are being hit by drivers who flee the scene or drivers who have no insurance.
This puts the burden of over-insuring yourself on the motorcycle rider to ensure that in the event of an accident, the injured rider has the necessary coverage to get thru a long recovery and loss of work.
Organizations like CORD, Abate of Colorado, BikerDown, and motorcycle lawyers like Scott O’Sullivan from Rider Justice have been attempting to get State Legislatures to pass a bill taking cell phones out of drivers’ hands when they drive and forcing drivers to use their phones via Bluetooth so that they are more focused on the road. Read more about that by clicking here
There will never be a fix to this epidemic until CDOT, MOST, CHP, local law enforcement, CORD, Abate of Colorado, BikerDown, and the State legislature work together to hold irresponsible drivers accountable for their actions. Today we are focusing on motorcycle riders; however, these tentative solutions and enforcement would also help pedestrians, bicycle riders, and other drivers themselves.
We hope that day will come sooner than later!