Motorcyclists contribute to high crash rate; Patrol cites speed

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / March 8, 2023

(Douglas County, Colo.) Motorcycle crashes continue to be one of the top ways to die on Colorado’s roadways, according to Colorado Department of Transportation data.

In 2022 Colorado road fatalities reached a dubious record: 745 individuals died from crashes, marking the highest number of deaths since 2002 when the state recorded 743 deaths.

Motorcycle rider fatalities accounted for nearly 20% — 147 riders died in 2022, compared to 137 the year before. It is the most motorcycle deaths reported by CDOT on the online fatal crash data site.

The most common reason for motorcycle deaths was other motorists or careless driving and speeding on the part of the motorcyclists.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s Fatal Accident Reporting System (NHTSA’s FARS), eight motorcyclists died on Douglas County roads in 2020 out of the 20 crash fatalities. Another three died in 2019, and according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, three more motorcyclists died in 2021 in rural areas of the county.

“As a motorcycle rider myself, I find it even more imperative to be aware of what other

drivers are doing around you,” said Master Trooper Gary Cutler, a former member of

the Colorado State Patrol Motor Unit and public information officer. “Ensuring you maintain the proper speed on a motorcycle helps avoid hazards that lead to injury or fatalities.”

CDOT’s crash data dashboard also shows 97 crashes involving a motorcycle during 2022, and seven of those crashes were fatal. Five of the fatal crashes were attributed to speeding by a driver.

The Colorado State Patrol calls on motorcycle riders and other motorists to stay alert while on the road to prevent accidents or death. Motorcyclists can drive defensively by staying out of blind spots of nearby vehicles and maintaining proper speeds.

Motorists near motorcycles on the roads should remember to

  • Allow extra space when following a motorcycle
  • Allow motorcycles the full width of a lane at all times.
  • Use extra caution when turning left at an intersection - motorcycles can be hard
  • to see from a distance.
  • Always check for motorcycles changing lanes, turning, or merging with traffic.

The Colorado State Patrol offers Motorcycle Operator Safety Training for basic riders, advanced raiders, and three-wheel riding courses. Beginners to advanced riders who want to refresh their skills can go to for more information and sign up for a course.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO

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