CDOT Cautions Motorists to Watch for Motorcyclists
Gov. Polis Designates May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
STATEWIDE — With warmer weather expected and the riding season getting into full swing, the Colorado Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to use extra caution around motorcyclists. Motorcycle deaths are up 32 percent in Colorado since 2011 and fatalities tend to peak during the summer months with more motorcycles on the road.
“Motorcyclists, along with pedestrians and bicyclists, are among the most vulnerable roadway users,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “Therefore, it’s imperative that drivers make the extra effort to check their surroundings and use extra care when in the vicinity of motorcyclist, pedestrians and bicyclists.”
Governor Polis designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month under a proclamation issued today. The proclamation encourages drivers to provide extra space for motorcyclists on roadways. It also encourages motorcycle riders to obey all traffic laws and take advantage of the state’s Motorcycle Safety Operator Safety Training program.
Motorcycle, pedestrian and bicycle deaths comprised 34 percent of all fatalities in 2018, up from 24 percent in 2005. Motorcycles alone account for just three percent of registered vehicles on the road, but represent over 16 percent of fatalities. In 2016, motorcyclist fatalities hit an all-time high of 125 deaths in Colorado but have since fallen slightly to 103 deaths in 2018.
The average vehicle blind spot is 650 square feet, which is large enough to fit a small studio apartment or even a jet. Therefore, small vehicles, such as motorcycles, can often get lost in a driver's blind spot. In addition, many motorcycle crashes often happen when a driver turns left in front of a motorcycle the driver didn't see.
Motorcyclists can help reduce crashes too by obeying the speed limit and never riding impaired. Head injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. Therefore, CDOT encourages all riders to wear helmets and other protective gear.
To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its initiative. This project takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behavior, our built environment and the organization's operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for those traveling by all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission - to get everyone home safely.
CDOT offers these tips to motorists for how to avoid collisions with motorcyclists:
· Allow extra space when following a motorcycle – use the ‘three second rule’ to ensure adequate distance.
· Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
· Motorcycles can be hard to see at a distance so use extra caution when turning left at an intersection
· Check your mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
· Never drive distracted or impaired.
Additional information is available at COMotorcycleSafety.com.