DENVER (KDVR) – On the heels of the deadliest year on record for motorcyclists, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is reminding riders to use caution ahead of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May.
Last year, there were 137 motorcyclists killed on Colorado roadways, more than any year on record, and a 33% increase from 2019. In May and ahead of the spring and summer riding season, CDOT will launch a campaign to save lives on Colorado’s roads this year.
Laurie Montoya, the president and founder of BikerDown, a nonprofit that helps injured bikers, knows how vital it is to be seen on the road. Unfortunately, she’s been busier than usual.
“I pick up the pieces, I get two to three help requests per day from injured motorcycle riders, within the state of Colorado,” she said. “I handled 50 deaths last year and over 200 accidents. That’s unsurmountable for a small nonprofit like ours.”
Colorado State Patrol deals with a motorcycle accident almost every day. So far in 2021, eleven of those accidents have been deadly. Many could have been preventable if the rider had a helmet.
“In 2015 I lost my dad, he wasn’t wearing a helmet,” said Mary Melick, a Colorado motorcycle coach. “I am confident if he was wearing one, he would still be here.”
Melick was later in an accident herself. She was wearing a helmet as she was thrown from her bike and walked away with only a broken arm.
“I had no head or neck injury as I tumbled over the front of my bike,” she told FOX31’s Aimee Lewis.
While helmets are not legally required for adults in the state of Colorado, proper training is. However, minors under 18 are required to wear one and hold a motorcycle instruction permit for 12 months before adding the motorcycle endorsement to their license. Minors under 16 must be under the direct supervision of an MSF motorcycle instructor at all times while operating a motorcycle.