CDOT Launches Campaigns Aimed to Reduce Motorcycle Deaths in El Paso County

August 30, 2012 - Traffic Safety - El Paso County Ranked Highest for Motorcycle Fatalities in 2011.

COLORADO SPRINGS  — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will launch two campaigns this Labor Day weekend aimed at reducing the number of motorcycle fatalities in El Paso County.  One campaign focuses on motorist awareness of motorcycles, and the other on deterring alcohol-impaired riding by motorcyclists.

CDOT is concentrating the campaigns in El Paso County due to it consistently being one of the top counties for motorcycle deaths. In 2011, El Paso County had the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in the state with 14 riders killed, representing more than one-third of the county’s total traffic fatalities.  That number was up from 8 motorcycle fatalities in 2010, when the county ranked second in the state.

The “Don’t Ruin the Ride” impaired-riding awareness campaign will target motorcyclists to remind them not to get on their bikes after drinking alcohol. The new campaign will include print ads in motorcycle enthusiast publications and posters in biker-friendly bars and restaurants. Impaired riding is a major problem that contributed to 36% (27) of motorcycle fatalities in Colorado last year. In El Paso County, one in four riders killed from 2009 to 2011 was under the influence of alcohol.

“Riding a motorcycle takes advanced skills that are easily undermined when alcohol enters the equation,” said Glenn Davis, manager of impaired driving awareness programs at CDOT.  “This new campaign uses motorcycle riders to carry the message to their peers to remind them that they have better options than hopping on their bike after they’ve been drinking.”

The other CDOT campaign is called “Look Twice” and its message targets motorists to remind them to pay more attention to driving and to take a couple of extra seconds to look carefully for motorcycles.  The campaign includes radio public service announcements and billboards. Statewide last year, drivers of motor vehicles were at fault in 20% of motorcycle fatalities.  However, in El Paso County, motorists—not the rider—caused half of motorcycle-related deaths.

“We recognize that while motorcycle riders are often at fault, drivers of other vehicles need to also share responsibility and become more vigilant about noting their surroundings when driving, especially with regard to motorcycles,” said Sergeant Rob Kelley, Colorado Springs Police Department. “We recently lost one of our own officers who was riding his motorcycle and was struck by an unassuming driver who did not see him.”

Colorado Springs police officer Matthew Tyner was one of six motorcyclists killed so far this year in El Paso County.  There have been 49 motorcycle fatalities statewide thus far in 2012.

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