Listen up and take note! May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month; a cause about which our firm is passionate. Sadly, I see too many motorcyclists in my office who have been injured by auto drivers who use the excuse, “I never saw him!”
In most of the cases that come through my Denver personal injury office, accidents involving motorcycles are not the motorcyclist’s fault! Putting aside the motorcycle riders who suspend all motorcycle safety practices while speeding in and out of lanes and ignoring traffic laws (they are the minority), most motorcycle accidents are caused by auto drivers who fail to look twice before turning or changing lanes.
Four deadly words: “I never saw him!”
Yes, motorcyclists have a duty to try to ride where you can see them, especially while in the flow of traffic. Those blind spots are killers – literally. I see so many accidents caused by drivers who turn left across oncoming traffic, right into a motorcyclist who had no ability to brake before slamming into the car. That driver failed to Look Twice.
Motorcycle Fatalities in Colorado
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, motorcycle fatalities in Colorado have been trending upward since the early 2000s. In 2002, there were 73 motorcycle fatalities, representing 9.8% of all fatal accidents that year. By 2016, that number was up to 125 motorcycle fatalities, or 20.6% of all fatal accidents.
Clearly this is an alarming trend, especially when you think of the devastating ripple effect of all those deaths on the families and communities who knew those bikers. Turning these numbers around will take a growing awareness and vigilance from everyone who uses Colorado’s roads when it comes to motorcycle safety for both cyclists and drivers.
And I know one organization working hard to help…
BikerDown’s 2018 Look Twice, Save a Life Ride
The O’Sullivan Law Firm has been heavily involved with BikerDown for many years as a donor, (now former) board member, and awareness-builder. This organization helps bikers and their loved ones cope after an accident, offering everything from hospital visits, medical equipment and support systems. BikerDown also offers reduced rates on Aflac disability insurance because they want everyone to have the financial resources they need if they go down.
But of course, the organization’s ultimate goal is that no one would ever need their services! Wouldn’t it be great if cars and motorcycles could co-exist on Colorado’s roads without a single accident, instead keeping motorcycle safety at the forefront of their driving habits? Toward that end, BikerDown also sponsors an annual Look Twice, Save a Life ride. The 2018 event will start at Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson, with registration open now or on-site on the day of the event from 9-9:30am. Kickstands up at 10am for a nice, long group ride. The destination will be announced soon.
If you register early, you’re guaranteed an event T-shirt. Visit BikerDown for more information.
Other Ways to Save Biker’s Lives on the Road
As our glorious Colorado spring takes hold, more bikers will be on the road. Here are the efforts I would like every Colorado driver to take in order to make our roads secure and increase motorcycle safety:
- Put down the phone: When you’re texting or talking and driving, you miss things on the road. Period.
- Obey traffic laws: Don’t speed, make sure you indicate your intentions with your turn signal and drive predictably.
- Give motorcyclists plenty of room: When you see a motorcyclist on the road, give him or her several car lengths of space. They need a big cushion because every vehicle around them likely weighs tons more than their bike. Be courteous and back off.
- Look Twice: Please, if you are turning left across traffic, emerging from a driveway or parking lot into the flow of traffic, or turning lanes, please look twice (thrice!) and watch for motorcyclists.
Let’s make Colorado’s roads safer for everyone!
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