Why Motorcycle Fatalities are High in Colorado
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), between 2012 and 2018, deaths resulting from motorcycle crashes rose 30 percent. In 2018, fatal motorcycle crashes accounted for 16 percent of all Colorado traffic deaths, even though motorcycles only account for three percent of vehicles on the road in the state. As we approach the summer months, injuries and fatalities from motorcycle wrecks will likely rise. Colorado drivers need to ask themselves why. Of course, warmer weather means more bikers on the road, but what are other drivers doing that contribute to these crashes?
Motorcycles vs. Passenger Vehicles
In the U.S., motorcyclists were 27 times more likely than those in passenger vehicles to suffer fatal injuries in a crash per vehicle miles traveled in 2018. One reason for this is because motorcycles aren‘t as crashworthy as passenger vehicles. Motorcyclists and their passengers are more exposed to the open road and its potential hazards. If a crash occurs, they lack the safety equipment afforded to passenger vehicles, such as seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones. Although motorcyclists can decrease their risk by wearing helmets and other safety gear, it‘s still not the same. They can easily sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries (SCI), and other severe and often fatal injuries.
Motorcycles are also more difficult for other drivers to visualize. If another driver can‘t see a motorcyclist, the chances of a collision increase dramatically. The weather impacts motorcycles more than other vehicles, and motorcycles only have two points on the ground instead of four or more. Their center of gravity is different, and without the extra points on the ground, they aren‘t as stable.
Causes of Fatal Motorcycle Crashes in Colorado
Many factors can lead to a severe motorcycle wreck. Often, it‘s the carelessness or error of another driver on the road that is the primary reason for the crash. However, seemingly minor errors and careless mistakes can cost someone their life.
Vehicles Turning Left
One of the most hazardous situations for a motorcyclist to face is when another car makes a left-hand turn. These types of situations account for nearly half of all motorcycle vs. vehicle collisions. The vehicle driver usually strikes the motorcycle when going through an intersection, attempting to pass the vehicle, or overtaking it.
This is one scenario where a motorcycle‘s smaller size and decreased visibility increase the risk of a wreck. Typically, the driver of the other vehicle is at fault for these types of crashes. However, if the motorcyclist was traveling in the wrong lane or speeding at the time, they might have partial fault.
Failure to See a Motorcycle
Other vehicle drivers not seeing or recognizing a motorcycle’s presence is the most common contributing factor to all motorcycle wrecks. Even the most experienced and careful motorcyclists are helpless to avoid a crash if another driver fails to see them. Many drivers aren‘t paying attention or might experience glare or weather conditions that make visibility difficult. However, these aren‘t excuses for causing injuries or fatalities in a motorcycle wreck.
No matter the vehicle or the location, speeding will always increase the risk of a crash, including fatal motorcycle crashes. Speeding increases the time needed to stop, and it also increases the force of the impact if a collision occurs.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Like the risks of any other motor vehicle crash, drivers under the influence of alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs increase the chances of a collision occurring. Motorcyclists are already difficult to see; if a driver is intoxicated, it will only decrease the chances of seeing them at critical times.
All drivers should be aware that sometimes sudden stops are necessary. They should always leave enough distance between them and the vehicle in front of them, so if such a stop occurs, they don‘t hit the person in front of them. If drivers of other vehicles don‘t do this, they can rear-end a motorcyclist and cause severe and sometimes fatal crashes.
Were You or a Loved One Involved in a Motorcycle Crash in Colorado? Call Dr. Patrick Collins Esq. For a Complimentary Consultation
Coloradoans love the outdoors, their freedoms, and the open road. Being on a motorcycle, especially on a Colorado highway like I-25 or I-70, encompasses all of these. However, motorcyclists don‘t sign up to be at an increased risk of injury or death while enjoying all this state has to offer. Suppose you or someone you love recently sustained injuries or lost their lives in a motorcycle wreck in Colorado. In that case, you deserve compensation for your losses. Unfortunately, not many insurance companies are willing to give victims and their families what they are entitled to receive. Hiring a Colorado motorcycle crash attorney to represent your claim often increases their willingness. Contact our office today to schedule a free motorcycle crash consultation with Dr. Patrick Collins, Esq.