Motorcycle accidents are a fact of life and the norm for motorcycle riders in Colorado. However, the number of accidents the Colorado riding community sees is up 33% from last year. AAA Colorado and CDOT report 75 fatal motorcycle crashes this year compared to the 71 seen in the previous year.
BikerDown and other organizations report that most crashes are caused by some form of distracted driving by drivers. Montoya said, “there are many forms of distracted driving besides cell phones” distracted driving isn’t the only reason why deadly crashes and accidents are happening; there has also been an increase in rider error. Speed and over-aggressive riding on the bikers’ part can play a factor.
So what is the impact on motorcycle riders after they have been hit? With airbags and seat belts, riders face much longer recovery times than in normal vehicular accidents. These riders’ recovery time can be 3-9 months or longer, which can tremendously impact their families. They can suffer life-changing injuries that can affect their job and what kind of work they do in the future.
A massive increase in drivers driving uninsured or the basic statewide minimum of coverage won’t even come close to making the driver whole again. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycle riders rely on the fact that the at-fault driver will have coverage to help them with their injuries. This is no longer the case, as statistics show that 50% of all drivers are driving with no insurance.
Laurie Montoya stated, “Last month, we had a rider who had over 750k in medical bills, and his motorcycle attorney had to tell him that the driver only had 25k of insurance. How is a biker supposed to recover? Pay for the driver’s negligence caused by making an illegal u-turn?”
The answer is simple: Motorcycle riders must be responsible for increasing their motorcycle insurance to know they are fully covered in an accident. If you don’t, it can break you in the event of a severe accident. Call your insurance agent, don’t call a 1-800-insurance number. Insurance agents will look out for your best interest and what you need in the event of an accident. They are experienced in the laws in Colorado and not reading off a teleprompter at a computer center or in their kitchen. Call an actual motorcycle attorney and get an honest insurance review from a lawyer who doesn’t sell insurance; they SUE INSURANCE COMPANIES.
BikerDown, CDOT, CORD, and other organizations have been asking for law enforcement and our government legislator to take a bigger stand to stop drivers from driving distracted. Senate Bill 175 was introduced to the Colorado legislature in 2022 to ban adults from talking on cellphones while driving, except for using a hands-free accessory like a Bluetooth headset. Under current law, adult drivers can use cell phones for calls but cannot text or browse the internet.
No matter what the law on the books is in Colorado, law enforcement needs to be more diligent in enforcing those laws and citing drivers who are texting and driving or driving distracted. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles needs to implement a system where when a driver’s insurance lapses or cancels, they are notified, and their driving privileges are suspended.
Most departments will say that they don’t have the funds to implement these programs; however, I firmly believe that the State of Colorado can find a way as they do for other programs in this state. The checkpoints and citations alone could reimburse counties that expend the funds to keep all drivers, pedestrians, and motorcycle riders SAFER ON THE ROAD.