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Monday, April 22, 2013

Warmer temps mean more motorcyclists on Colorado's scenic roads

After such a long, harsh winter, the 2013 motorcycle season promises to be a busy one for Colorado motorcyclists. Unfortunately, more bikes on the road can mean more opportunities for motorcycle accidents. Thankfully, though, if both motorcyclists and motorists keep some basic safety tenets in mind, the roads will be safer for everyone.

For motorcyclists

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reports that one in every five of the state's traffic fatalities annually is a motorcyclist. In 2010 alone, (the most recent year for which such data is available), there were 72 motorcyclist or motorcycle passenger fatalities. Equally tragic is the fact that motorcyclists are found to be at least partially at fault in 70 percent of those crashes, a number which would surely drop if more riders take comprehensive safety training like that offered by the CDOT's "Live to Ride" campaign.

In addition to receiving proper training on how to successfully navigate a motorcycle through common traffic headaches like road construction zones, debris on the road, sudden weather changes and inattentive motorists, motorcyclists can greatly decrease their chance of fatal injury by wearing proper protective gear.

While it's true that Colorado is one of only a handful of states that still doesn't have some form of motorcycle helmet law on the books, the simple truth is that helmets save lives. Additional protection in the form of eyeglasses/goggles, gloves, a durable jacket and pants can also prevent some of the most common injuries seen in motorcycle accidents, namely "road rash" (abrasions caused when exposed skin scrapes the roadway once a motorcycle goes down), and burns from contact with hot engine components.

Exercising caution around other vehicles, not weaving in and out of traffic, not riding on the shoulder of the road and never operating a motorcycle after consuming alcohol are also important safety tips for bike operators.

For motorists

Since vehicle drivers are sharing the road with motorcyclists, they also need to practice safe driving to prevent accidents. The most common complaint about motorcycles is that motorists simply can't see them, but there are ways to increase your chances of spotting nearby motorcycles. Taking the time to closely look around when making lane changes or turning can make a huge difference for a motorcyclist, as can not following too closely behind them. Obviously, since the best way to safely interact with motorcycles on the highway is to be attentive, all distractions (like phones, texting, email, web surfing, mp3 players or GPS systems) should be avoided while behind the wheel of a car or truck.

As the state's temperatures keep on climbing and gas prices continue to rise, there will be more and more people depending on motorcycles, mopeds or scooters as their main mode of transportation. That is why everyone on the road needs to take exercise due caution and be attentive. If another person's inattentive or negligent behavior caused you or a loved one to be injured in a motorcycle accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.