motorcycleThere are tons of great places throughout Colorado for motorcycle riding — lots of long, scenic highways with the Rockies at your side. But riding a motorcycle has its risks, and anywhere cars and motorcycles share the road has the potential for collisions. And if an accident between a car and a motorcycle does occur, the less protected biker is always most at risk.

John Aguilar of The Boulder Daily Camera recently covered an auto accident in which a motorcyclist took the worst of it:

Ernie Travis has had skin grafted onto his severely burned legs, he’s had pins inserted in his ankle to stabilize the shattered joint, and he’s wolfed down fistfuls of pills to stave off the pain in his lower body.

‘I’m on a lot of drugs, and I’m still in a lot of pain,’ said the co-owner of medical marijuana dispensary Boulder Vital Herbs who is still recovering at a burn unit in the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, eight days after a car broadsided his motorcycle in downtown Lafayette. ‘My foot looks like a big old piece of meatloaf.’

Travis seems confident in this interview both that his helmet saved his life and that he was not at fault. According to Aguilar:

Travis said he won’t be shy about taking legal action against whomever is at fault, whether it’s the driver of the vehicle that struck him, the contractor doing work at the intersection, or — if there was a problem with the traffic signals — the city of Lafayette itself.

Both car and motorcycle drivers need to be constantly vigilant, since accidents can happen at any time and are usually sudden and unexpected. I’ve had some close calls riding a Honda 450 Rebel and can testify that you need your wits about you.

KKTV reports that at the end of last month there was a burst of motorcycle accidents in Colorado Springs that hospitalized no less than six motorcyclists in one afternoon. Potential causes for the accidents are under investigation and range from possible alcohol use to loss of control.

Officers say with the summer weather, we’ll see more motorcyclists out on the road, and many of them will be safe drivers, but not all of them. ‘More people are out riding and a lot of these people are taking risks, they’re speeding and not paying attention and you know you’re a lot more vulnerable on that motorcycle than you are in a motor vehicle,’ said Sgt. Lonnie Spanswick, with Colorado Springs Police Major Accident Unit.

An accident involving a motorcycle is an almost surefire recipe for personal injury — or worse, as one 13 year old in Olathe discovered last June.

Whether you’re on two wheels or four, always be careful and always follow the law. Be good to your fellow drivers: the life you save might be your own.

Image by f650Biker, used under its Creative Commons license