More Rider Fatalities, Despite Percentage of Bikes on the Road
The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) reports that bike sales rose dramatically in 2018 when compared to 2014, the year that the organization last did a full survey of bike ownership. But motorcycle crashes and fatalities have also increased, including in Colorado.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), in 2016 there were 195,603 registered motorcycles in the state. From 2012 to 2018, cyclists killed in crashes rose 30 percent, even though the number of motorcycles on the road accounts for just 3 percent of all vehicles on Colorado roads.
Last year in the state, 103 motorcyclists were killed in crashes. As of August 2019, 65 bikers have been killed in accidents. Another fatality was recently reported on I-70 in Denver, where a motorcyclist died after swerving in and out of traffic.
The national numbers also show how dangerous a motorcycle can be. In 2017, the National Safety Council (NSC) noted that 5,172 deaths of motorcycle drivers and passengers accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. Ninety-one percent of those killed were male. One of the biggest reasons for crashing is impairment caused by alcohol. But motorcyclists are not the only ones at fault for such accidents.
The NSC notes how others on the road may help cause a motorcycle crash:
- Drivers don’t see motorcyclists because they are smaller than a passenger vehicle, and therefore may go unnoticed–especially within the other vehicle’s blind spots.
- Drivers may not notice a biker because they are distracted.
- Drivers find it hard to anticipate the movements of those riding a motorcycle.
For their part, motorcyclists should stay alert, follow all traffic laws, and wear protective gear in order to minimize injury if they do crash.
Wear protective gear to reduce accident injuries.
Multiple injuries are common in Colorado motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists can reduce their injuries or their severity during an accident by always wearing impact-resistant personal protective equipment, such as a helmet, jacket, gloves, and boots. Some of this gear is now being made with Kevlar, an extremely strong plastic.
The current executive director of the CDOT, Shoshana Lew, is among the officials trying to spread the word about the importance of safety gear.
“Even the best motorcycle riders can be involved in a crash. Therefore, CDOT is working to find unique and engaging ways to urge motorcyclists to always wear helmets and other protective gear. We hope this campaign grabs the attention of motorcyclists and helps everyone get home safely.”
Riders–especially new riders–should also consider taking safety training programs. In Colorado, motorcyclists must attend a safety training program called Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) in order to get a valid license.
Motorcycles are a cheaper mode of transportation than other vehicles, but they are also more dangerous. If you are a rider, keep yourself safe by completing a safety program and making sure you wear the proper protective gear.