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Carole Walker, RMIIA

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7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 110
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming

Contact: Carole Walker, Executive Director
303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524

Motorcycle Sales Rev Up to All Time High - Colorado's Motorcycle Crash Rates Unfortunately Keep Pace

June 26, 2006 - Motorcycles are booming in popularity with bike sales at a 30-year high, but that also means more inexperienced riders are taking to Colorado 's roadways without proper training and safety in mind.

Colorado State Patrol motorcycle officers put their own skills to the test today at Invesco Field's parking lot. But they weren't there to impress the crowd with their ability to maneuver a training course. This demonstration was to help impress upon all bikers the risks they run if they're not up-to-speed on training, rules of the road and ways to protect themselves.

“Currently Colorado has approximately 140,000 registered motorcycles,” said Sergeant Tim Keeton, Supervisor of the Motorcycle Unit for the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). “By their very nature motorcycles are less crashworthy, stable and visible than four wheel vehicles. Although most riders tell me that they think motor vehicles are the main cause of biker crashes, during the past ten years' 80 percent of motorcycle crashes and fatalities were the rider's fault.

“Many riders may also believe that they can just jump on a bike without any training or in the case of some older riders, not having been on a bike for years,” said Sgt. Keeton. “At the CSP the 20 officers assigned to motorcycles average 13,000 to 14,000 miles every year and we insist that they be recertified every year. Because the odds are that if you get into a crash on a motorcycle you'll be hurt.”

In fact, Colorado motorcycle fatalities have nearly doubled during the past decade, increasing from 49 motorcycle crash deaths in 1994 to 87 deaths in 2005. The number of crashes and injuries are also on the rise. In 2004, there were 1,899 motorcycle-related injuries compared to 1,582 in 1994. Across the country, m otorcycle fatalities have climbed an alarming 104 percent from 1997 to 2005 -- the 8 th year in a row that motorcycle related deaths have increased.

“There has also been a huge demographic shift in who is buying and riding motorcycles,” said Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA). “Older motorcycle riders now account for about half of all motorcycle rider fatalities. Nationally, more than 46 percent of motorcycle riders age 40 and over were killed in crashes, compared with 23 percent ten years earlier.”

In Colorado 45-to-54 year olds had the highest number of fatalities, with 21 of the 87 deaths in 2005. Meantime, fatalities among 30-to 39-year olds fell to 22 percent in 2004, from 26 percent a decade ago.

In addition, motorcyclists need training to pass required testing for the endorsement to their driver's license that allows them to legally ride in Colorado . “They also have a financial incentive,” said Walker. “Many insurance companies offer discounts of 10 to 15 percent for graduates of certified training courses.”

"My advice for motorcycle operators is the same for all drivers, don't drink and drive, don't speed and live to enjoy tomorrow,” says Sgt. Keeton. “We recommend protective gear and helmets and that motorists be alert and observant as they share the road with motorcycles on Colorado 's roadways.”

Motorcycle Rider Safety Tips:

  • Complete a motorcycle rider education and training course.
  • Wear a helmet & protective gear.
  • Ride where you can be seen & 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.

For information on how to add a motorcycle endorsement, if you haven't taken the Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course or a drive test at a third-party, click on the link below. The second link is the Division of Motor Vehicles office list where each office lists the services provided, including whether or not they offer motorcycle drive tests.

Also visit: Motorcycle Safety


Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.

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