STATEWIDE — On the heels of the deadliest year on record for motorcyclists, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is launching a new campaign aimed at keeping motorcyclists safe. May is also Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which coincides with the beginning of the riding season in the state.
Last year, there were 137 motorcyclists killed on Colorado roadways, more than any year on record, and a 33 percent increase from 2019 when there were 103 motorcyclists killed. Although motorcycles are only 3 percent of the registered vehicles in the state, they made up 22 percent of the traffic fatalities in 2020.
“The research and data show helmet use as the most important factor in the survivability of a motorcycle crash,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Head injuries are common in these crashes. So, whether you are riding around town or cross country, we encourage riders to always wear a helmet.”
New data shows that 52 percent of motorcycle riders killed in 2019 were not wearing helmets. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 83 motorcyclists’ lives could have been saved in Colorado between 2015-2017 if all riders had worn helmets. Instead, there were 334 motorcyclists were killed during that period, most not wearing helmets.
“Motorcycle ownership requires great responsibility from riders with skill and gear as key ingredients,” stated Matthew C. Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Whether this is your first season or your fifteenth, you will enjoy the ride more as a safer, more confident rider. Don’t be content with just passing the training required for the issuance of your license, add to your knowledge and skills for advanced mastery of your motorcycle.” The Colorado State Patrol can help riders develop new skills through the Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST). For more information, visit www.comost.com.
In May, CDOT will launch the new Aftermath campaign to underscore the importance of wearing a helmet. The campaign will dispel misconceptions about wearing a helmet, such as they are too restrictive, by showing the devastating consequences of not wearing one. The campaign will run across the state on billboards and on social media. Some of the images used in the campaign are here.
CDOT also reminds drivers of cars and trucks to use caution around motorcycles. This includes carefully checking blind spots and using extra caution at intersections since motorcycles can be hard to see. In addition, it is advised that drivers never follow motorcycles too closely since a motorcyclist can stop more quickly than a car.
In addition to wearing helmets, riders should do the following to stay safe on Colorado roads:
- Get a license endorsement.
Getting a motorcycle license endorsement keeps the motorcyclist in compliance with state law and verifies the motorcyclist has the basic skills to operate a motorcycle on a roadway.
- Wear proper gear.
Proper gear includes a helmet, boots that cover the ankles, riding pants and jacket, gloves and eye protection.
- Receive professional training.
All motorcyclists should receive professional training. Long time riders are encouraged go to training classes for a refresher every few years.
- Follow all traffic laws.
All motorcyclists are required to follow the rules of the road. In Colorado, lane splitting is illegal.
- Ride sober.
Even one drink can decrease reaction times, coordination, vision, judgement and concentration, all of which are crucial when operating a motorcycle.