2020 has been a difficult year, even for motorcyclists on Colorado roadways. With fatal motorcycle crashes up 12% over last year, a new partnership between the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Grease Monkey is addressing this concerning trend by reminding motorists to watch for motorcyclists.
“Since January Colorado has seen a startling increase in motorcyclist fatalities and the state is expected to exceed the number of fatalities from last year,” said Darrell Lingk, CDOT Director of the Office of Transportation Safety. “With the fall riding season approaching and many riders currently enjoying the warm weather, we are urging drivers to use caution and be aware of motorcyclists. Drivers, please remember to look twice and save a life.”
As a reminder to watch for motorcycles, Grease Monkey will be placing safety stickers on vehicles receiving oil changes at 64 Grease Monkey locations throughout Colorado. There will be 60,000 window stickers distributed over the next two months to all drivers getting their oil changed.
“Grease Monkey hopes getting this message out will help save a life,” said Wes Stephenson, president and chief operations officer for Grease Monkey. “As a motorcyclist myself, safety on Colorado’s roadways is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone needs to do their part to make the roads a safe place to drive and ride.”
With the launch of the new campaign also comes the debut of a CDOT vehicle wrapped with a safety message. The eye-catching visual depicts a motorcycle crash in which the motorcyclists is thrown from his bike. The CDOT fleet car will be seen driving throughout the Denver metro area over the next two months.
CDOT reminds drivers to be more aware of motorcycles and suggest drivers:
Check blind spots.
Since motorcycles are much smaller than cars, it is easy for them to get lost in blind spots. Before making any lane changes, thoroughly check all blind spots and use traffic signals.
When making lane changes, turns, merging and other traffic changes, check twice to save a life.
Use extra caution when turning left.
Motorcycles are smaller which makes it hard for drivers to determine their speed accurately. When making left turns, look carefully for motorcyclists as the eye is not trained to detect them, then take the time to more accurately gauge their speed before entering the intersection.
Never follow motorcyclists too closely.
Motorcycles and their riders can slow down quicker than cars. Giving riders more space than a car ensures that drivers have enough time to slow or stop.
Eliminate distractions while driving.
Being mindful and aware of driving situations, changes on the roadways and other unexpected incidents increases the safety for drivers and motorcyclists.
“My son, Nick, was killed by a driver who made a left turn in front of my son on his bike,” said Debby Uberecken-Standard, who lost her son in 2014. “As a mother, driver and Colorado resident, please always look twice. Motorcyclists are not as protected as drivers and can be hard to spot. Look twice and save someone’s life.”
Facts and Statistics:
- To date there have been 100 motorcycle fatalities in 2020. This is up 12% from 89 at the same time last year.
- In 2019 there was a total of 103 motorcycle fatalities.
- Motorcyclists make up 23% of all deaths on Colorado roadways yet represent just 3% of the vehicles.
- Of the 100 motorcyclist deaths in 2020, the following counties are noteworthy:
- The top three counties with the most motorcycle deaths are El Paso (17 fatalities), Adams (nine fatalities), and Jefferson (nine fatalities).
- Northern Colorado – Larimer and Weld Counties have both had seven fatalities each.
- Southern Colorado – El Paso has had 17 fatalities and Pueblo has had seven fatalities.
- Western Slope – Mesa County has had six fatalities. Delta, Garfield, Gunnison, Montrose and Rio Blanco have each had one fatality.
In addition to the window decals and CDOT fleet vehicle, Grease Monkey will also be placing motorcycle information in stores across the state while CDOT will be posting on social channels and running radio ads across Colorado to spread the message.
CDOT motorcycle safety efforts are part of CDOT’s Whole System – Whole Safety campaign which aims to reduce fatalities and injuries and “Bring everyone home safely.”