Can’t wait to get out on the open road? May, which is Motorcycle Month, is the ideal time to take a safety training course in Colorado.

Do you know how many motorcycles are registered in Colorado? Believe it or not, there are more than 195,000 motorcycles registered in the state, ranking Colorado within the top 20 states for the number of registered motorcyclists.

To keep motorcycle drivers and passengers safe, Colorado offers its Motorcycle Operator Safety Training, or MOST. If you haven’t gone through it, now may be a good time since May is recognized as Motorcycle Safety Month.

Reducing Colorado Motorcycle Fatalities

Nationwide, nearly 5,000 riders and passengers were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2015, the most recent year national statistics are available. In Colorado, 125 motorcycle riders were reported killed in 2016, an increase from the 106 killed the year before.

One of the objectives of MOST is to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities and crashes. If you go through the course, you’ll receive a driver’s license endorsement that verifies safety training and legally qualifies you to ride a two- or three-wheel motorcycle.

As a side note, in 2015, when 106 motorcycle operators were killed, law enforcement said that 35 percent of those killed did not have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license, or had no license at all. This suggests that the riders killed had little or no professional training.

Respecting the Rules of the Road

Law enforcement officials make it clear that the best way to enjoy a motorcycle ride is to make sure you’re properly trained to handle it in all kinds of situations. The MOST course also emphasizes Colorado motorcycle laws, in particular, laws concerning helmet use and eye protection. Riders in our state should remember:

  • Motorcycle riders age 18 and over are not required to wear helmets. However, if the motorcycle driver or passengers are under age 18, they are required by law to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet.
  • Colorado does require some form of eye protection for all drivers and passengers. Officials say the best eye protection comes from a visor on a helmet. Goggles or eyeglasses with lenses made of safety glass or plastic also are acceptable.

Motorists Should Keep an Eye Out

Motorcycles are no match for vehicles so when there is an accident involving a motorcycle and a car or truck, cyclists are clearly at a disadvantage. Vehicle drivers need to do their part in keeping everyone on the road safe. A few safety tips that will help, according to authorities:

  • Motorists should check blind spots when preparing to change lanes or merge with traffic. Motorcyclists can easily be hidden amongst the traffic, especially if it’s heavy.
  • Watch out when turning left. Authorities note that most accidents between cars and motorcycles involve turning left at an intersection. If you are preparing to cross traffic or turn left, make sure you take a second look.
  • Use turn signals to indicate your next move. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.

Motorcyclists and motorists just need to remember to share the road. For safety’s sake, each should treat the other with respect by observing and obeying all traffic laws. Motorcyclists interested in the MOST program, please go to the CDOT website.

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