Denver, Colorado is known for its warm climate, beautiful scenery, and sprawling roads, making it the perfect playground for motorcycle riders. However, this also means that motorcyclist deaths happen frequently. Our motorcycle accident lawyers here at Firouzbakth Law are always ready to assist motorcycle accident victims of motorcycle crashes; however, we also know that prevention can save people from a lot of expenses and physical and emotional pain.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Denver
Here are some Denver motorcycle crash statistics from the Colorado Department of Transportation:
Out of the total number of fatal accidents for that year, 17 involved impaired riders.
There were a total of 564 fatal crashes in the entire state of Colorado, killing a total of 612 people.
Although the numbers are certainly lower compared to other states, it is important to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities, especially since an alarming number of these roadway fatalities involved riders who were impaired.
Common Motorcycle Accident Types
Head-on collision - these are accidents where the front of the motorcycle collides against another vehicle, whether it be another motorcycle, car, or truck.. The motorcycle may also collide with solid objects such as highway barriers, lamp posts, and outer walls. Head-on collisions have a high fatality rate compared to other types of motorcycle crashes.
Lane splitting collision - this happens when there is a traffic jam and motorcycles weave through cars and change lanes ever so often in an attempt to squeeze into any available space. Usually, motorcyclists damage another automobile's doors or side mirrors.
Left Turning Crash - this is when a motorcycle is running beside another vehicle and the other vehicle makes a left turn, while the motorcycle is trying to go straight. These traffic accidents usually happen when the motorcycle is trying to overtake another vehicle, or if a motorcycle is trying to go straight at an intersection, while another car wants to go left.
Lane Switching Crash - accidents like these happen when another automobile is trying to switch to another lane and doesn't see the motorcycle there. This is common with larger vehicles with blind spot-like trucks.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Why do motorcyclists get into accidents, and why do these crashes sometimes result in roadway fatalities?
Reckless Driving - Because of a motorcycle's small size, motorcyclists usually feel confident that they can maneuver their motorcycle anywhere. During traffic jams, motorcyclists feel like they have an advantage because of the vehicle's size and use it to weave their way past other vehicles to get ahead. Each time they weave through a car, a judgement call is made, whether or not they'll make it. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
Intoxication - A lot of fatal motorcycle crashes involved a motorcycle rider who is under the influence of drugs and alcohol. When a rider's Blood Alcohol Consumption (BAC) levels are greater than 0.08 grams per deciliter, they are considered alcohol-impaired. Most of these crashes happen because the driver underestimates the severity of their intoxication and they decide that their mind is clear enough to drive. Sometimes, it's not the motorcyclists' fault, and the other driver is guilty of drunk driving.
Dangerous Roadways - Because of a motorcycle's small size, there isn't a steady distribution of weight, unlike 4-wheel cars. Because of this, it's harder to balance yourself while you're riding a motorcycle through bad weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog. Driving over roadways with uneven pavement or potholes can also cause accidents.
Overspeeding - Motorcyclists overspeed for many reasons. They are either in a hurry, they're intoxicated, or they are overconfident in their motorcycle riding skills. None of these reasons are good enough. For one, motorcycles are also subject to speed limits, and speed limits are observed with good weather conditions in mind. It is common sense to drive more slowly and carefully in bad weather.
Inattentive Motorists - One disadvantage of motorcycles is that compared to other vehicles, they are quite small. If the road is filled with vehicles, it's easy to miss that there's a motorcycle beside you or right behind you. A lot of motorcyclists get injured because another vehicle changed lanes, tried to make a turn, or stopped suddenly because they did not see the motorcycle there. Distracted driving can also cause motorists to become inattentive on the road.
Defective Vehicles - Most accidents caused by automobile problems are not caused by a defective motorcycle. Usually, it's the other car that has a busted tire or unresponsive breaks.
How to Avoid a Motorcycle Accident
Colorado saw a 12% increase in fatal motorcycle crashes in 2020 from 2019, so they launched the "look twice, save lives" program, which gave tips to motorists as well as motorcycle riders on how to avoid accidents on the road by being more vigilant about other vehicles close to you.
As the program's name suggests, motorists are encouraged to look twice before doing anything such as changing lanes, turning, merging, and braking.
Motorists must also keep a healthy distance from each other. A lot of road accidents happen when a vehicle follows a motorcycle too closely and the motorcycle suddenly stops. While accidents like these usually result in minor car damage for 4-wheel vehicles, all damage is compounded for something as small as a motorcycle. A rider may even get thrown off his bike because of a rear-end impact.
Always signal when turning. Even after looking twice before making a turn, there are still situations wherein a larger vehicle will not see a motorcycle. Maybe it's because of poor weather conditions or because the driver is somewhat blinded by the glare of other vehicles. Make sure to signal properly before making a turn. In case you are driving a truck and a motorcycle is in your blind spot, sound your horn and signal with your arm outside the window to warn them.
Exercise caution when driving in poor weather conditions. If you are not in a hurry, it's best to wait until bad weather passes. However, if you get caught in bad weather while you're on the road, it's best to drive cautiously and avoid risky behavior such as speeding and overtaking.
Don't drink and drive. This is supposed to be common sense for all motorists, but a lot of people still drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are planning on drinking, it's best to stay put until you are sober, or have a designated driver to take you home. Because motorists can't really measure their BAC unless they have a device, remember that 0.08 grams per deciliter are equivalent to four beers, four glasses of wine, or 1/4 pint of whiskey.
Eliminate driving distractions.. Distracted drivers are known to cause a lot of motorcycle crashes. Sometimes, motorists can't see motorcycles because they're busy on their phone, talking to a passenger, or eating food.
Wear a motorcycle helmet.. WhileColorado traffic laws don't require motorcyclists aged 18 and above to wear helmets while riding, you are a lot safer if your head is protected. DOT-Compliant motorcycle helmets have been known to reduce motorcycle accident death. Make sure your helmet has a visor to give you added eye protection.
Types of Damages Sustained From Motorcycle Crashes
They say that tough love works well, and so in an effort to dissuade motorists out there from engaging in reckless behavior while driving, here's what can happen to you if you find yourself in a vehicular accident.
Traumatic Brain Injuries - A lot of brain injuries happen as a result of head-on collisions. Although motorcyclists in Colorado are required by law to have insurance, something as serious as brain injury will rack up medical expenses, especially if there are long-term effects.
Spinal Cord Injuries - Whenever motorcyclists sustain severe injuries, it's usually an injury to the brain or spinal cord. Not only does it leave you with a long list of medical bills, but there's also the possibility of permanent impairment or paralysis.
Broken Bones and Bone Fractures - While bone fractures may seem like an inconvenience since you have to go through a period of immobility and pain, you are actually luckier than a majority of motorcycle riders out there.
Bruises and cuts - The most common type of injury motorists get out of a vehicular accident.. Motorcyclists who wear protective gear (helmets, elbow and knee pads, etc.) often emerge from vehicular accidents with only minor cuts and bruises.
Pain and suffering - This refers to the mental anguish and emotional trauma you feel during and after an accident.
Loss of quality of life - A vast majority of motorcycle accidents leave lasting effects. For instance, major incidents may result in the loss of a limb or paralysis, which will definitely diminish your quality of life. They may also cause long-lasting brain impairment.
Loss of income - serious motorcycle crashes requires a lot of hospital stays, which also means missing work for several days or weeks.
Death - a lot of wrongful death lawsuits are filed out of motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles. This is because if a motorcycle collides with a larger vehicle, it is almost always the motorcycle that suffers that most, and sometimes this even results in death.
Motorcycle Damage - Aside from motorcyclist injuries, the motorcycle itself will get damaged. Usually, the motorcycle gets towed to a shop after the accident for an estimate of motorcycle repair costs. Insurance companies also take care of these.
As you can see, motorcycle accident injuries can have long-lasting effects. With paralysis, permanent disability or brain impairment, it will be difficult to secure employment and future earnings, enjoy life, and sometimes, you might end up unable to ride a motorcycle ever again.
Hiring an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Approaching motorcycle accident lawyers even before you get into an accident doesn't mean pessimism on your part.. A lawyer can give you legal advice so you know your rights as a motorcycle driver. Also, having a lawyer in mind even before you get into an accident means that you will be prepared if misfortune befalls you. A lot of motorcyclists scramble to find lawyers while they're in the hospital because they never saw it as a possibility. However, scrambling to find a lawyer quickly means you don't have the luxury of selecting your lawyer through a well-thought-out process.
Here at Firouzbakth Law, we have Denver Motorcycle Accident Attorneys with a proven track record of success in helping an injured motorcyclist get just and fair compensation. Don't wait until you get into an accident before you realize the importance of having a legal team on your side. We have helped several clients get millions of dollars in total from personal injury claims settlement and more.
Meta Description: Motorcycle accidents in Denver result in fatalities every year. Protect yourself by reading up on the causes of motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them.