Safety officials and bike dealerships across the country, including in Colorado, are reporting increased motorcycle sales over prior years and more riders on the roads. The reasons for that are several, including the early arrival of spring throughout much of the country and the rising cost of gas, which makes operating a passenger vehicle problematic for many people.
That's kind of a double-edged sword: Although motorcycles spell freedom and cheaper transportation to rising numbers of riders, more bikes on streets and highways leads directly to more motorcycle accidents and crash injuries, many of them fatal.
Safety advocates and law enforcement agencies are seeking to get that message as widely disseminated as possible. Now is an especially good time for doing so, given that May is national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Colorado safety agencies will take advantage of that initiative by, among other things, posting safety-related messages on highway message signs across the state and airing a number of radio public service announcements.
The need to do so is certainly unquestioned. The Colorado Department of Transportation states that, while motorcycles constitute only about three percent of all motorized vehicles in the state, motorcycle crashes account for about 17 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. At this point last year, 13 people had died in motorcycle accidents on Colorado roads. That number over the same period of time in 2012 is up to 17.
Colonel James Wolfinbarger, the Chief of the Colorado State Patrol, challenges drivers of passenger vehicles and motorcyclists alike to make things better. He says that drivers of cars and trucks need to look aggressively for motorcyclists and that the latter need to be properly equipped and constantly alert.
Source: La Junta Tribune Democrat, "As spring weather revs up, stay alert for motorcycles," May 5, 2014