KUSA — Motorcycle deaths have increased 20 percent in the last five years in Colorado, which is why CDOT is reminding driver's to "look twice, save a life," before merging, changing lanes, and driving in general.
Checking blind spots multiple times while driving is an absolute must. CDOT says the average size of a car's blind spot is 650-square feet, enough space for 23 parked motorcycles.
"Motorcycles make up just three percent of registered vehicles on the road, but motorcycles account for almost 20 percent of all roadway fatalities," Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT, said. "To reverse the trend of rising fatalities, we need to eliminate impaired driving and riding."
In addition to the warm Summer weather bringing motorcycle riders out, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota is estimated to draw 500,000 riders from around the country. Motorcycle fatalities tend to increase in the summer with more riders on the roads.
"The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a great opportunity for riders to enjoy the warm weather and take their bikes on a road trip," Col. Matthew Packard, chief of CSP, said. "It's when alcohol or drugs enter the equation that the risk of injuring or killing yourself or others in a crash increases tremendously. We want to ensure that drivers and riders travel safely to and from the rally this year."
Through Aug. 15, CDOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will also be conducting a "Safe 2 Sturgis" campaign to encourage safe riding.
A #Safe2Sturgis hashtag is included in the campaign to encourage motorists and riders to post photos of how all roadway users are staying safe to Sturgis. Social media and CDOT's digital message boards will help spread awareness.
"In July and August, every state in the West will see an approximate 30 percent increase in motorcycles, as rallies like Sturgis draw thousands of bikes to our highways," Gina Mia Espinosa-Salcedo, regional administrator for NHTSA, said. "Motorcyclists are gearing up for long, dangerous rides, and we want everyone to arrive alive. For this reason, we're kicking off the third year of our 'Safe 2 Sturgis' campaign. All road users should know how to detect and respond to motorcyclists sharing the road, and riders must operate their bikes safety and wear full protective gear."
There have been 44 motorcycle deaths this year in Colorado. In 2017, there were a total of 103 motorcycle fatalities.
CDOT also reminds riders that, "impaired motorcycle riders risk the same DUI penalties as other motor vehicles. In Colorado, a DUI can cost more than $13,500 after considering fines, legal fees and increased insurance costs."