DENVER — Roberto Huerta’s motorcycle is like an extension of himself. He’s been riding for about twenty years, and describes it as a release: his freedom. But this past summer riding along Deer Creek Canyon, that all changed.
“I remember going to pass him,” Huerta said. “I don’t remember exactly after that point what happened. I know what was described to me.”
Huerta says an oncoming car was hugging the yellow line, causing him to slide.
“I hit a big boulder, flew from what I was told about 70 feet,” Huerta said.
Huerta wound up in the hospital with a laundry list of shoulder and head injuries. He remembers how weeks later, the doctors told him just how serious he was hurt.
“He said well do you realize your skull was full of blood and you had a hole about the size of a quarter on my frontal lobe,” Huerta said. “I was literally told that if I didn’t have a one piece suit, I would not, my body would be in pieces.”
It’s stories like Huerta’s that are fueling Colorado Department of Transportation to protect motorcyclists across the state.
“Motorcyclists are some of our most vulnerable roadway users,” said Sam Cole, CDOT spokesperson . “Even if you’re just going a couple miles down the road, you need to make sure you’ve got proper gear.”
CDOT says motorcyclist fatalities have increased more than 30% from 2012 to 2018. While motorcycles account for only 3% of registered vehicles in Colorado, so far in 2019, 20% of traffic fatalities have been motorcyclists.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re riding five miles per hour, riding 160 miles per hour, whether you’re on a track, whether you’re on a street, the proper gear minimizes road rash, it minimizes cuts, it minimizes losing a limb,” Huerta said.