(Colorado) – With only a few weeks left of riding weather, a trip to Colorado’s Western Slope may be on your list. Fall is an incredible time to get out on your bike to experience the beauty of changing seasons. In 2022, Colorado State troopers investigated 168 injury and fatal crashes involving a motorcycle on just the state’s western slope. In addition to lack of experience riding, two other significant contributing factors were found in fatal motorcycle crashes around the state: speed and impairment. Across the entire state last year, Colorado State Troopers investigated 50 at-fault motorcycle crashes due to impairment, a 6% increase over 2021.
If you are hitting the road, always ride sober and bring cold-weather gear, regardless of the forecast. One of the most concerning mistakes a rider can make is failing to mentally prepare for the changing weather, elevation, and road conditions that are a part of any ride through the Rockies. Taking the time to watch some of our troopers’ dashcam video footage of popular routes can be a helpful way to plan and anticipate a variety of conditions that are common here on the western slope.
In addition to watching for changes in the weather, the Colorado State Patrol wants riders to plan on encountering several conditions due to the fall season throughout their ride:
- Leaves on the road – dry leaves can hide potholes and other road defects. Wet leaves can make pavement slick. Try to avoid leaves when possible.
- Shorter days – remember, the days are getting shorter. The sun’s glare can be distracting even with quality sunglasses. Also, ensure your headlights and brake lights are in good working order.
- Deer migration and mating season – roads will likely be filled with deer, so use extra caution, especially at dawn and dusk.
- Cold tires – if you have sporty tires, fall can be a dangerous season to ride. Softer rubber can become hard in cold weather, so reduce your speed and use extra caution.
- Fewer riders are Super Cruising – drivers expect to see even fewer bikes on the road as seasons change. Be cautious and alert. Don’t assume vehicles see you make yourself visible.
To help prepare for your ride, visit Colorado State Patrol’s Super Cruising web page to watch videos on your selected roadway or similar ones.
“We are proud to be a top destination point for outdoor enthusiasts,” explained Major Brett Williams, District 5 Commander for the Colorado State Patrol. “Let’s ensure we all travel through the area safely, so your trip is memorable for positive reasons.”
ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs. In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.