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15 percent increase in motorcycle deaths across Colorado set 2016 record

DENVER — Motorcycle fatalities statewide shot up 15 percent in 2016 from the year before, setting a record, the Colorado Department of Transportation said Monday.

Motorcycle deaths have been on the rise for the past few years, peaking last year with 125 fatalities, CDOT said.

Forty-three percent of last year’s deaths were between the ages of 18 to 34, 27 percent were between the ages of 35 to 54, and 28 percent were 55 years old or older.

The majority of the fatalities were male.

A recent resolution passed the Colorado Senate and House designated May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. CDOT is launching a spring campaign to encourage riders to participate in safety-training courses across the state.

This year’s campaign “The Best Never Stop Training,” has evolved to speak to a wider audience.

Sixty-one percent of 2016 motorcycle fatalities were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, CDOT said.

“These motorcycle operator training courses not only educate riders on best safety practices, but also help develop each individual’s skill set, whether you just bought your first bike or have been riding for years,” a CDOT spokesman said.

The new safety campaign includes online videos, posters, digital banners and billboards that aim to encourage riders to continue to learn how to improve their expertise.

The campaign will be present at several Colorado motorcycle events and bike rallies. Certified training classes geared toward safety practices will be held across the state.

The majority of motorcycle fatalities in 2016 occurred between May and October, the warmest months that typically bring more bikers to the road.