- In 2016, motorcycle fatalities increased to 5,286 from 5,029 in 2015. Per vehicle mile traveled in 2013, motorcyclist
fatalities occurred 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and motorcyclists
were nearly 5 times more likely to be injured according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- The use of DOT-compliant motorcycle helmets was 65.2% in 2017, slightly down from 65.3% in 2016.
- In 2016, 41 percent of those motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets.
- In 2015, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured, down from 92,000 in 2014.
- There were 8.4 million motorcycles on the road in 2017, compared with 8.0 million in 2009.
- In Colorado, 125 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2016, representing an increase of 17.9%. This represented 20.6% of Colorado's total traffic fatalities. Of those riders, 63% (72) were NON-helmeted. In 2016, 18% (21) had a blood alcohol content (BAC) equal to or greater than .08. Source: CDOT Motorcycle Operator Safety Training State Fiscal Year 2017
- Motorcyclist fatalities increased from 106 in 2015 to 125 in 2016, a 17.9% increase.
- In 2016, 40% (46) of motorcycle operators killed in Colorado did not have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license.
- In Colorado, 78% (89) of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes were determined to be "at fault" in 2016.
- 42% (50) fatal crashes in Colorado in 2016 involved only the motorcycle and no other vehicle.
- 18 percent of motorcycle operators killed in Colorado in 2016 had a blood alcohol content (BAC) equal to or greater than 0.08.
- In Colorado, motorcycle registrations continue to rise, with 194,129 motorcycles registered in 2016.
Motorcycle Rider Safety Tips:
- Complete a motorcycle rider education and training course.
- Wear a helmet and protective gear.
- Ride where you can be seen and avoid motorists' blind spots.
- Never share a lane with a car or drive on the shoulder.
- Signal before changing lanes and never weave between lanes.
- Never mix motorcycles and alcohol.
- Be aware that riding with a passenger requires even more skill than riding alone.
Motorist Safety Tips:
- Give the motorcyclist a full lane of travel.
- Look for the motorcyclist on the highway, at intersections, when a motorcyclist may be making a left turn, and when a motorcyclist may be changing lanes.
- Clearly signal your intentions.
- Predict evasive actions motorcycles must make to avoid road obstructions.
- Don't follow motorcycles too closely.
Motorcycle Helmets: CDC estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,859 motorcyclists in 2016. Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries for motorcycle riders (operators) and 41 percent effective for motorcycle passengers.
Motorcycle Helmet Use Laws: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 19 states and the District of Columbia had laws on the books requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets as of June 2018. In another 28 states only people under a specific age (mostly between 17 and 20 years of age) were required to wear helmets. Three states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) had no helmet use laws. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study covering 10 states found that when universal helmet laws, which pertain to all riders, were repealed, helmet use rates dropped from 99 percent to 50 percent. In states where the universal law was reinstated, helmet use rates rose to above 95 percent.
Motorcycle License Laws
Each state has its own requirement for licensing motorcycles or motor-driven vehicles (bikes with less powerful motors). For example, in Colorado:
1. Pass the written test at a Driver's License office, purchase a motorcycle instruction permit, pass a drive test at a Driver's License office or with a 3rd-party tester and pay the fee to add the endorsement to your license.
Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles Offices: List of locations and services provided, including whether or not they offer motorcycle drive tests.
2. Enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training course and, after successful completion of the course, present your MSF certification card at a Driver's License office. When you present your MSF certification card at a Driver's License office, the written and drive tests are waived. Pay the fee to add the endorsement to your license. Colorado law requires minors under 18 to purchase 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 the MSF motorcycle instructor at all times while driving a motorcycle.
Increasingly, drivers are purchasing motorcycles and "motor-driven vehicles" - bikes with a motor, but less powerful than a motorcycle. Basically, If you use your vehicle on public roads, be sure to carry some form of liability insurance. Call your insurer to discuss options.
Colorado requires a minimum amount of liability coverage to pay for damages you cause to someone else, but it's a good idea to talk to your insurance agent or company about additional coverage for you and your passengers. Motorcycle insurance is widely available. Most of the top ten auto insurers offer motorcycle insurance, either as an endorsement to a personal automobile policy or as a separate policy. Many companies offer discounts from 10 to 15 percent on motorcycle insurance for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course.