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Colorado Motorcycle Accident Deaths Spike to Record High

It is getting more dangerous to hit the road on two wheels for motorcyclists in Colorado.

Fatal motorcycle accidents across the state spiked to a record high last year, according to new data from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Nearly 150 motorcycle riders were killed in crashes statewide over the year, marking a roughly 10 percent jump from 2021.

The motorcycle deaths were the most on record in the state. They accounted for 20% of all traffic fatalities in Colorado last year, even though motorcycle riders only make up about 3% of registered motorists throughout the state.

The counties that saw the most motorcycle deaths were El Paso (25), Jefferson (19), Adams (12), Denver (12) and Arapahoe (11).

State officials said motorcycle riders continue to put themselves at risk by all too frequently hitting the road without a helmet.

More than half of the motorcycle riders who died in accidents last year were not wearing helmets at the time of the crashes, according to CDOT. Only about 65% of riders nationwide wear helmets.

“Wearing a helmet can mean the difference between a minor injury and a catastrophic one,” Darrell Lingk, director of the Highway Safety Office at CDOT, said in a statement releasing the new data. 

Bikers are at particular risk of injury or death when accidents happen because they have little physical protection from oncoming vehicles especially if they are not wearing helmets.

Helmets reduce the risk of death for motorcyclists by nearly 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motorcyclists who wear helmets are also nearly 70 percent less likely than others to suffer head injuries in the event of a crash.

Although helmets are a proven way to help riders stay safe, their use continues to decline. 

“A rider without a helmet is extremely vulnerable to a permanent or life-altering injury in a crash,” Lingk continued. “So wear a helmet and other protective gear to make it home safely to your family.”

Fatal Colorado Motorcycle Accidents Continue

Meanwhile, serious motorcycle accidents have continued in 2023.

Two Denver area motorcyclists were recently killed in two separate crashes on the same day, providing a fresh reminder of the risks for bikers. Both fatal accidents involved motorcycles and cars, according to news reports.

A rider reportedly died after his Kawasaki collided with a sport utility vehicle on Mexico Avenue in Aurora on March 31. A woman was killed some three hours later after an accident with a car in Thornton.

Earlier the same month, a 20-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a multi-vehicle collision on eastbound Interstate 70 near Sheridan Boulevard.

In late February, a motorcycle rider was reportedly killed in a hit-and-run accident in Lakewood. The crash happened when an Audi driver attempted to change lanes on 6th Avenue and forced the motorcyclist to hit another vehicle traveling next to him, according to The Denver Post.

Speeding, Drunk Biking Kills

Speed is another major factor in motorcycle accident deaths.

More than one-third of fatal motorcycle crashes across the country involve riders who were speeding at the time of the collision, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That is significantly more than for passenger vehicle (22%), light truck (16%) and heavy truck (7%) accidents.

Younger motorcycle riders are most likely to speed, NHTSA has found. Those ages 25 to 29 who were involved in fatal accidents were speeding at the time in 45% of the collisions.

And then there is getting on a bike while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drunk biking is the leading cause of fatal, single-vehicle motorcycle accidents across the country. Motorcycle riders are more likely to be impaired in fatal accidents (27%) than drivers of passenger vehicles (23%), light-truck drivers (19%) and large-truck drivers (3%).

State officials also stressed the need for riders to get proper training. 

“It only takes one mistake to result in tragedy,” said Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Trained riders tend to be in fewer and less severe crashes. Make a commitment to follow traffic laws and ride with reduced risk by advancing your skills through training.”

Wrongful Death Claims After Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

The loved ones of a person who dies in a motorcycle or other traffic accident generally have the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the collision. The money damages are meant to compensate family members for the financial impact of losing a loved one.

No amount of money can ever allow you to go back in time, stop an accident from happening. A wrongful death action can, however, help ease the financial strain that often comes with the loss of a loved one. It can also provide a certain level of closure by getting justice and ensuring that those responsible are made accountable for their actions.

State law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.

An experienced attorney can help you identify the person or entity responsible for an accident and seek compensation for wrongful death. A Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can also help you navigate the legal process and negotiate with insurers and others to avoid a long, drawn-out court battle.  

Speak With a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a skiing, sledding or other accident in Colorado, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.

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