Motorcycle fatalities hit record high in 2016

Published: May. 2, 2017 at 5:25 AM MDT
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More motorcyclists died on the roads last year than in any other year in Colorado.

"Our roadways are becoming increasingly dangerous for motorcyclists," said Sam Cole with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The majority of the fatalities last year happened between the months of May and October, which is typically when more riders are on the road due to the mild weather. Forty-three percent of the 125 killed were younger than 35, and 61 percent were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

With all this in mind, the state legislature has designated May "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month." To coincide with that, CDOT is launching a campaign aimed at encouraging riders to get more training.

"No matter how skilled of a motorcycle operator you are (or aren't) you can always get better," the department said in a statement. "A wrong maneuver on the road can be a matter of life or death."

Motorcyclists are encouraged to take advantage of the safety training courses offered across the state. More information


"They're riding carelessly, they're riding recklessly, they're also speeding, and they're also riding impaired," Cole said of some riders.

The blame for the increase in fatalities doesn't just lie with the motorcyclists, however.

"We see drivers out there that just aren't paying attention. They're on their phones, they're following motorcyclists too closely or they're speeding or they're impaired -- a number of reasons why they cause crashes involving motorcyclists," Cole said.

Cole told 11 News there will be a similar campaign later this summer targeted at the general population.

"That gets them to pay attention to safety in order to keep motorcyclists safe on the road."

In the meantime, he had some advice for drivers now.

"When you're on the highway, you want to leave several car lengths between you and the motorcyclist in front of you, just to give them plenty of space. Don't be aggressive around motorcyclists, just know that they've got families too ... we want to keep them alive as much as you want to stay alive."

As for motorcyclists ...

"We don't want motorcyclists to just take one course, we want them to be continuously perfecting those skills in order to stay safe."