DENVER — Under a new proclamation issued by Gov. Jared Polis, Aug. 12, 2019 will now be recognized as Colorado Motorcyclist Memorial Day.

Officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Colorado State Patrol (CSP) gathered at CDOT's headquarters in Denver Monday to honor the 103 motorcycle riders who were killed on Colorado roadways in 2018.

“Today we speak for the ones who can’t be with us,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “If you’re in a car or on a motorcycle, we want everyone traveling on Colorado’s roads to be watchful and safe.” 

CDOT said so far in 2019, 65 motorcyclists have been killed, compared to 60 at this time last year. To help put the numbers in context, CDOT displayed 103 helmets on the grass outside their headquarters. 

Those who attended the event had an opportunity to speak with CDOT officials, learn safety tips and hear from victims who shared stories about their crashes firsthand. 

“CSP witnesses motorcycle crashes that could be prevented on our roads every day,” said Col. Matthew Packard, CSP chief. “With the increasing number of distractions on our roadways, we need each person being safe and looking twice for motorcycles.”

From 2012 to 2018, motorcyclist fatalities have increased about 30%, according to CDOT, and fatalities reached a peak of 125 deaths in 2016. 

Motorcyclist fatalities
CDOT

In addition to drawing more awareness to the issue, CDOT is also urging drivers to be more aware of motorcycles. They suggest these tips:

Check blind spots

 Since motorcycles are much smaller than cars, it is easy for them to get lost in blind spots. Before making any lane changes, thoroughly check all blind spots and use traffic signals.

Look twice

 When making lane changes, turns, merging and other traffic changes, check twice to save a life. 

Use extra caution when turning left

 Motorcycles are smaller, which makes it hard for drivers to determine their speed accurately. When making left turns, look carefully for motorcyclists as the eye is not trained to detect them, then take the time to more accurately gauge their speed before entering the intersection.

Never follow motorcyclists too closely

Motorcycles and their riders can slow down quicker than cars. Giving riders more space than a car ensures that drivers have enough time to slow or stop.

Eliminate distractions while driving

 Being mindful and aware of driving situations, changes on the roadways and other unexpected incidents increases the safety for drivers and motorcyclists.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Local stories from 9NEWS