Motorcycle related deaths are up again this year, according to the Denver Post and data from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Through the end of July this year, the fatality rate had increased by 14 percent since this time last year! This is a frightening statistic for our state’s bikers. The article goes on to note that of the deaths so far this year, 34 were not wearing helmets, which seems to be a growing trend throughout the country. In fact, motorcyclists without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury and three times more likely to suffer brain injury in a crash.
What Can You Do?
Back in May of this year, I wrote to you about how Colorado in 2015 had more than 100 motorcycle deaths in a year, a new record. It appears that Colorado may be on track to surpass that record. Due to these troubling statistics, CDOT launched a new motorcycle safety campaign. As part of that campaign they stressed get proper training. You can do that through a MOST (Motorcycle Operator Safety Training) program. CDOT has provided a list of MOST-certified training providers by area on its website.
One particular educational motorcycle safety course with the goal to reduce motorcycle fatalities is known as ABATE. This training organization exists “to preserve freedom of the road, to unite motorcyclists, to promote fair legislation, safety, and rider education and to provide a network for communication on issues affecting motorcyclists.” The program offers the course at 8 locations throughout the state at:
- Arapahoe Community College
- Aurora Public Schools
- Colorado Mountain College
- Front Range Community College
- Morgan Community College
- Pueblo Chemical Depot
- Red Rocks Community College
- Sterling Airport
The course consists of an instructional period where riders learn basic safety techniques. Then, what is learned in the previous session is put to practical use during a real-world driving lesson. They also offer multiple courses including:
- Basic Rider Course
- Advanced Rider Course
- Intermediate Rider Course
- Colorado Mountain Style
- Accident Scene Management
What Can Motorists Do?
It’s not just about motorcycle riders learning to better handle their bike and wearing helmets. Drivers need to be aware of motorcyclists as well. CDOT, along with traffic safety partners in surrounding states, recently joined up to promote motorcycle awareness in the months of July and August, as that is a peak time for bikers to be traveling to motorcycle rallies. Tips for motorists include:
- Anticipate a motorcyclist’s response to hazardous conditions. His or her response may differ from a motorist’s.
- Don’t throw objects, such as trash or cigarettes, out the window; this could end up in a biker’s face.
- If you see one motorcyclist, there may be more, as they often ride in packs.
- Make sure to leave at least a two-second gap between you and a motorcyclist, more if in bad weather.
- Always use your turn signal.
The Colorado Personal Injury Lawyers with McDivitt Law Firm encourage those considering getting into motorcycle riding, or even those who need a refresher, to participate in a safety course. Doing so will helps riders develop the skills needed to safely operate bikes on the street.
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