Rules of the road in Colorado: Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Inna D

Motorcycles have an undeniable “cool” factor, but with these powerful bikes comes huge risks. The Colorado Department of Transportation shares that last year, there were 136 motorcyclists killed on Colorado roadways. In 2020, motorcyclist fatalities were nearly 22% of all traffic fatalities in Colorado, even though motorcycles represent just 3% of the vehicles on our roads.

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is here, and in honor of keeping everyone safe on the roads, these are important reminders from the Department of Transportation.

Motorcyclists safety tips

  • In Colorado, riders age 18 and over are not required to wear helmets in Colorado. However, if the motorcycle operator or passengers are under age 18, they must wear DOT-compliant helmet (these helmets saved the lives of 1,872 U.S. motorcyclists in 2017, with an additional 749 lives that could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn their helmets)
  • Never ride while impaired or distracted
  • Always complete rider education courses and ride with a current motorcycle license (in 2020, 36% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were riding without valid motorcycle licenses)
  • Obey the speed limit (34% of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2020 were speeding)

Motorists tips to prevent accidents

  • Yield to motorcyclists, especially while turning at intersections
  • Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see - their size can cause drivers to misjudge their speed and distance
  • Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has the same rights of the road as any other motorist - allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times
  • If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, remember: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling, and the motorcyclist could have forgotten to turn it off - proceed with caution to allow the motorcyclist the opportunity to complete the maneuver
  • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, you may not see them in your blind spot
  • Allow more follow distance — beyond three to four seconds — when behind a motorcycle which gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency

You can still enjoy the freedom and thrill of motorcycles, but with these precautions. And if you’re a driver, be aware of motorcyclists on the road. Ride in style (safely) this summer!

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