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Motorcycles and Colorado Roads: The Startling Danger

Posted in Blog on April 22, 2015

On April 30, 2012, 20-year Navy veteran Greg Edwards was struck by a van when its driver ran a red light at the intersection of Cliff and Chambers in Denver. Edwards was thrown from his motorcycle upon impact, breaking his leg and sustaining other injuries.

Two years later, Edwards was given the tragic news that his leg needed to be amputated as a result of the accident.

In April of 2014, driver William Pettapiece hit a motorcyclist at the intersection of East Alameda Avenue and South Monaco Parkway and fled the scene. The motorcyclist did not survive the accident, but Pettapiece was identified and arrested by Denver police.

That same month, motorcycle rider Trever Rawson was killed when he ran into a rope that was strung across Colorado 92 in Montrose County. Two men had hung the rope at chest height to drag an elk carcass to their pickup truck.

A 2011 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that a person riding a motorcycle is 30 times more likely to die in a crash per traveled vehicle mile than a person in a passenger car. In 2012, motorcyclists represented 15 percent of all traffic fatalities.

Unfortunately, stories and statistics like these confirm what some motorcycle riders already know: Despite the rise in popularity, many drivers are still not knowledgeable enough about the two-wheeled vehicles to share the roads in Colorado with motorcyclists.

While you can’t guarantee the outcome of your ride every time you hit the road, you can take steps to protect yourself and those you care about.

Safety Tips All Colorado Motorcyclists Need to Know

  • Take motorcyclist training and education courses. Even if you’re a pro rider, you can learn something that might save your life.
  • Always ride so that other drivers can see you. Stay out of blind spots, as being hidden increases the chances of an accident.
  • Don’t drive on the shoulder or share a lane with a car. If the car makes an unexpected move, you won’t have anywhere to go or enough time to react.
  • Use protective gear and a helmet. In 2012, four passengers and 75 riders died in motorcycle accidents. All four passengers and 52 riders were not wearing helmets, as reported by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
  • Avoid the dangerous practice of weaving between lanes, and make certain you signal before you change lanes.
  • Make certain you can safely ride with a passenger by practicing in a safe place first. Having a passenger requires more skill to ensure their safety alongside that of the driver. Take driving instruction courses designed to teach you how to operate the motorcycle with a passenger if you have any reservations.

While it may be tempting to engage in reckless behavior with a driver of a vehicle who has not shared the road with you politely, always keep in mind that you are jeopardizing your safety when doing so. As drivers get used to motorcyclists on the road, riding will get easier, but for the now, the odds aren’t usually in the motorcyclist’s favor. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.

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