Colorado is one of the best places in the country to ride a motorcycle. Opportunities abound in the summertime, when the higher elevations thaw out and the roads are more reliably dry. We have epic touring routes like Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Evans Scenic Byway and Independence Pass. Motorcycles can be a great way to commute in Boulder, as well.
Unfortunately, our state also sees its share of tragedies. Bikers are vulnerable to catastrophic injury, sometimes fatal injuries. In 2017, 101 motorcycle riders were killed in Colorado, which was about 16 percent of the total traffic deaths that year. In 2016, 126 motorcyclists were killed. As the temperatures warm across the Front Range, experienced motorcycle accident attorney and avid biker Chris Jeffress wants to remind fellow riders of common roadway hazards in our state, so you can prepare accordingly and prevent your risk of a crash.
What Colorado Motorcyclists Should Look Out For
The Centennial State has a unique set of circumstances you should expect to encounter this spring and summer:
The roadways in Colorado tend to get pretty gritty. In the winter, snow plows disperse sand on the roads, and this sand lingers on the pavement into the summer, long after the snow has melted. Turning and stopping on your bike require caution to avoid skidding on the sand and grit.
If there's one thing Colorado weather is known for, it's that it changes rapidly. One clear, warm morning may transition to a cloudy hailstorm by the afternoon. In the summer, thunderstorms roll in rapidly and seemingly out of nowhere after midday. Check the forecast before heading out so you know what to expect and what to prepare for.
Animals on the Road
Especially at dawn and dusk, there is a high likelihood of deer, elk or other animals crossing into the roadway. Sometimes they run across the roadway, leaving you only a small space of time to slow down. Sometimes elk stand in the road and you won't see them till the last second. Slow down at dawn and dusk, especially on rural highways, and keep your eyes on the road.
Bikes and vehicles powered by combustion engines struggle at high altitudes where the air is thinner. Be patient with your bike as you travel on high alpine roads. Weather and temperature are unstable at high altitudes as well, so it's always a good idea to pack rain gear and layers if you are taking a ride in the mountains.
One thing is the same across all states: the fact that you are sharing the road with passenger drivers and truck drivers. Motorists tend not to see and recognize motorcycle riders as much as we'd like. For that reason, they sometimes turn in front of an oncoming bike, fail to provide the biker the full use of the lane, or clip a motorcycle they don't see traveling beside them. Here are a few ways you can ride defensively:
- Be visible. Use your lights, even during the day. It will help other motorists see you.
- Wear bright clothing. A bright jacket or other gear will also make you more visible.
- Wear a helmet. If an accident does occur, a helmet could save your life.
Trying to anticipate the actions of other motorists is always a good idea. Don't assume they see you, and don't assume they recognize how fast you are traveling.
What to do after a Motorcycle Accident
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash caused by someone else's negligence anywhere in the state of Colorado, then you may be entitled to pursue compensation in a motorcycle claim handled by experienced Boulder attorney Chris Jeffress. Mr. Jeffress is passionate about bikes and spends much of his spare time on his motorcycle. He knows the relevant laws and regulations that apply to motorcycle cases. For a complimentary consultation, please call our staff at 303-732-6634.