Riders say distracted drivers in vehicles cause sharp increase in motorcycle crashes

DENVER -- Three motorcyclists died on Colorado roads Friday. In two of the crashes, the driver of a vehicle was at fault.

With the warming weather, more bikers are out. May is also Motorcycle Awareness Month.

On Saturday in Littleton, a ride was held by the BikerDown organization to raise awareness of the consequences of distracted driving.

“This here is my brother's initials and the date of his accident,” David Currier said pointing to initials on the back of his motorcycle.

He was at the Look Twice Save a Life ride in honor of his older brother, Robert Currier who was killed four years ago when he was clipped on his motorcycle by a distracted driver.

“There’s not a day that I’m on the bike that he’s not on my mind,” Currier said.

Almost every bike there had a tribute to someone they loved who died while riding.

“I stopped riding after my friend died,” said Scott O’Sullivan, a motorcycle attorney who says he’s seen it all. "Ninety percent of our cases or more are from distracted driving."

He said the number of distracted driving cases is sharply increasing

"They're looking at their phone, looking at the radio, clearly not looking at the road ahead of them," he said.

More than 160 motorcycle riders lost their lives on Colorado roads last year, according to O’Sullivan. This year, he said, the numbers are on track to be even higher.

“It’s ridiculous. Almost every car I pass is either on the phone or texting,” Currier said. “We’re out here every day and these people don’t see us in their blind spots."

On Saturday outside Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson, engines revved and dozens of bikers lined up for the ride across town to spread the word that it pays to pay attention behind the wheel.

“We need to get the word out and make it a stronger message that it’s just not acceptable. ... Just look twice, save a life,” O’Sullivan said.

“Bikers have families just like anyone else. My brother, he was a father, a Boy Scout leader, a family man. He left a lot of people behind because one person wasn’t paying attention,” Currier said.

Starting this summer thanks to the last legislative session, not paying attention while driving will cost drivers even more.

An anti-texting and driving bill will be given to Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign. SB17-027 increases the penalty, if caught, from $50 to $300. It's one step in trying to prevent distracted driving.

All of the proceeds from the fourth annual ride go into the BikerDown accident fund to help injured riders.

The deadly motorcycle crashes Friday happened on Interstate 70 in Denver, in Loveland and in Fountain near Colorado Springs.