‘It can cost us our lives’: Motorcycle riders plead for drivers to watch out for them
Gov. Jared Polis has designated May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month,” and people who ride motorcycles say it’s a good time to remind people to give them extra space on the roads.
“Give us more room. We need more room. If you’re right up on us and something happens, you’re going to run over us,” said Erik Peat, an employee at Apex Sports.
He said motorcycle riders need to practice safe driving skills just as much as any other driver on the road.
“A lot of riders put their bikes away in the fall and then they don’t touch them again until the spring. So I always recommend taking a safety course or something like that to start off the season,” Peat said. “Anything that we do if we take some time off, we’re not as proficient at it when we come back to it. So a little bit of a refresher course sometimes helps a lot.”
According to data from the Colorado Springs Police Department, May is one of the worst months for motorcycle crashes. Data shows that in 2017, there were 30 motorcycle crashes in May, which was the most compared to any other month that year. In 2018, there were 35 motorcycle crashes, which was also the highest number of crashes all year.
“Even in a low-speed crash, just because of the mass and the size of another vehicle, you can sustain some pretty serious injuries and damage to your motorcycle in a crash. It’s just the nature of the beast. If you’re in a smaller profile vehicle, you are more exposed,” said Officer Alan Roman, a member of the police department’s motorcycle unit.
Roman rides a motorcycle for work and said he focuses a lot on other drivers while he’s out on the road.
“We’ve found through experience over the years that a lot of people are very distracted when they’re driving, so they’re not really paying attention,” he said.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the average vehicle’s blind spot in 650 sq. ft., which can be the size of a small studio apartment or even a jet.
“Make sure when you’re driving out there in your vehicles, take the time to check your blind spots. Take a little more time at the intersections. Do come to complete stops at intersections,” Roman said. “Make sure you’re checking all four ways, and just take the time to give other motorists out there, whether they be motorcyclists or other passengers, give them a little space. Give them a little time. Be a little more patient out there. We appreciate it and I know the other motorists would appreciate it.”
Even though wearing a helmet is not required in Colorado, Jeff Ingram said he always wears one when he’s on his motorcycle just to be safe.
“It's not wise because the injuries are just so significant if you go down,” he said. “I have a jacket that I wear in case I fall, you know just a riding jacket. I have a helmet and my wife has bought me this giant bright yellow backpack that you can see from the moon just so everybody else can see me too."
CDOT said motorcycle deaths are up 32 percent in Colorado since 2011. Experts remind drivers to give motorcycles as much space as you give other cars and let the bikes use the full width of the lane. CDOT has a special
set up with more driving tips and crash statistics.