Motorcycles parked on the side of the road

Deaths from motorcycle accidents in the U.S. decreased by 7 percent in 2013, according to new data released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The decline was just the second time since 1997 that the number of motorcycle crash fatalities has dropped.

The decline is likely explained not by an improvement in road safety, but rather by the fact that the weather was worse in 2013, meaning there were fewer motorcyclists on the road than in 2012 – a year that was warmer and drier than normal.

With the number of motorcyclist fatalities still near record highs, car and truck drivers and motorcyclists need to keep on guard. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which is the perfect time for drivers and riders to commit to safely share the road.

Colorado saw a 26 percent drop in the number of deaths in motorcycle accidents during the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. There were 25 fatalities in Colorado in 2013, down from 36 in 2012, according to GHSA data. However, the state saw a slight increase in motorcyclist fatalities during the first nine months of 2013.

In total nationwide, there were 4,046 motorcyclist fatalities in the first nine months of 2012 and 3,638 deaths in the same period of 2013. Both the GHSA report and other articles, including research from Forbes, suggests that it was cold and wet weather that explain the reduction in the number of fatalities.

As the weather gets warmer this year, drivers and motorcycle riders in Colorado can do their part to try to keep the death toll down. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends the following:

  • Avoid driving while distracted.
  • Leave the full lane width for motorcyclists at all times.
  • Check blind spots and mirrors before changing lanes or merging, remembering that motorcycles are smaller than passenger cars and are harder to see.
  • Use turn signals before changing lanes or merging.
  • Avoid driving while impaired.
  • Leave a longer following distance when behind a motorcycle
  • Keep in mind that motorcycles’ turn signals do not turn off on their own. A rider may have forgotten that the signal is on, so other drivers should make sure that the motorcycle is actually turning before pulling out in front of it.

Motorcycle riders can also take active steps to reduce the dangers of riding. NHTSA advises motorcyclists to:

  • Wear appropriate protective equipment, including helmets that comply with DOT regulations.
  • Obey traffic signals.
  • Avoid impaired or distracted driving.
  • Use both hand signals and turn signals before merging, turning or changing lanes.
  • Increase visibility by using reflective tape and by wearing brightly colored clothing.
  • Ride in the middle of the lane to be more visible.
  • Avoid riding during bad weather when visibility may be impaired.

Contact Our Colorado Motorcycle Accident Law Firm

Fort Collins Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Steve Ray is a former Marine Corps judge now fights for the rights of accident victims in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, he brings more than 35 years of legal experience and military discipline to pursuing your claim for compensation.

He will meet with you to discuss your case and, if a claim is possible, pursue the maximum financial recovery available. If we cannot recover money for you, you will pay nothing for our legal services.

Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.