(COLO) – In 2022, 149 motorcycle riders died on Colorado roads in a record-high year for traffic deaths, equating to 20% of the state’s total traffic fatalities. These fatalities occurred around the state, with the top counties being El Paso (25), Jefferson (19), Adams (12), Denver (12) and Arapahoe (11). Now Colorado State Troopers are warning all roadway users that Colorado is experiencing another worrisome wave of fatal motorcycle crashes. Troopers want riders to slow down, follow basic traffic rules and always drive in a manner that allows them to maintain proper lane position and control of their motorcycle.
From January 1 through July 31, 2023, Colorado State Patrol investigated 35 fatal motorcycle crashes, resulting in 36 fatalities. Most crashes occurred in the Denver metro area, but multiple fatal crashes have resulted in northern Colorado and across the Western Slope. Investigators found that speed and lane violations were the most common causal factors in these fatal collisions. In addition, when speed was not listed as the causal factor, it was the most common secondary contributing factor for these fatal crashes.
“We often worry about motorists not seeing or yielding to motorcycles, and while this continues to be a valid concern, our message today is for motorcycle riders to drive as if their life depends on it,” stated Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “We know riders are more vulnerable, so it is up to you to prioritize your safety by not taking risks that can lead to a tragic death or life-changing injury. Riders of all experience levels can and do crash.”
When looking at these 35 fatal motorcycle crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol, the average age was 44. A breakdown of all ages was as follows:
Motorcycle riders can prevent crashes or death by being aware of their surroundings, including staying out of blind spots of nearby vehicles and maintaining proper speeds. Remember, reacting safely and quickly to hazards is difficult if you are speeding, especially on a motorcycle.
In addition, it’s imperative for motor vehicle drivers to check their blind spots and always use caution around motorcycles.
The Colorado State Patrol in conjunction with the state of Colorado offers Motorcycle Operator Safety Training for basic riders, advanced riders and three-wheel riding courses. Beginners to advanced riders who want to refresh their skills can go to MOST for more information and to sign up for a course.
Troopers continue to take a low-tolerance approach to the top fatal crash factors, including lane violations while launching a yearlong campaign called “Drive Safe.” This campaign reminds people to control their lane position based on their current driving environment.
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.