Serious crash underlines importance of motorcycle safety

Local

A crash Monday morning that left a driver in critical condition is a reminder that, as the warmer weather comes, the 23,871 registered motorcycles in El Paso County will be on the roads more often. 

“It’s finally warm,” said Max Hansen, the office manager and one of the rider coaches at the Motorcycle Training Academy. “We’re all excited to ride.”

In the crash, an RV headed westbound on Fillmore was turning left on Cascade when it hit a motorcycle that was driving eastbound on Fillmore.

According to the legal resource site Nolo, cars turning left at intersections are the most common car-motorcycle crash scenario — accounting for 42% of all car-motorcycle crashes.

With motorcycles, more or less, in the garage over the past several months, Hansen said drivers may need to get used to them being on the roads again.

“A lot of drivers haven’t seen riders in a little while, so bikers have to be a little more careful looking out for cars,” said Hansen.

To Hansen, there are things both sides can do to ensure safety when driving or riding. In a car, it comes down to paying attention.

“What drivers can do is we can just be a little more aware,” he said. “Put our phones down, make sure we’re focused, looking over our shoulder, checking all of our mirrors, just actually looking out for [motorcycles].”

This can mean checking blindspots or giving a few extra moments at intersections to make sure a bike isn’t hidden behind another car before going.

In the two-wheel corner, Hansen said, visibility is key.

“As a biker, some of the things we can do is wear lighter-colored vests, lighter-colored helmets, things like that\,” Hansen said. “There are aftermarket lights we can put on our bikes to make us a little more visible.”

He also suggests knowing cars’ blind spots and staying out of them when riding. 

Hansen believes that everyone, drivers and riders, could benefit from a motorcycle safety course so drivers know the mindset of bikers when on the road.

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