CDOT launches new campaign reminding drivers to look for motorcycles

News Release

July 21, 2021 - Statewide Traffic Safety - Motorcycle deaths down 18% this year after record number in 2020


STATEWIDE – Following the deadliest year on record for motorcycle riders, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is launching a new campaign, Some Things are Hard to SeeLaunching today, the campaign recognizes that motorcycles are much smaller than cars and can be difficult to see. Often while turning left at an intersection drivers miss seeing a motorcycle, which results in a t-bone crash.   

"Every one of these motorcycle crashes could have been prevented,” said CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety Director Darrell Lingk. Taking a moment to check blind spots and using extra caution when pulling into an intersection can be the difference between life and death for a motorcyclist.” 

Last year a record 140 motorcyclists were killed on Colorado roads. Although motorcycles are only 3 percent of the registered vehicles in the state, motorcycle fatalities were 23 percent of the 622 total traffic fatalities in 2020.  Most motorcycle fatalities took place in El Paso County (26) followed by Jefferson County (15).  

“It takes just a moment to carefully check your surroundings," said Justina Carney, who failed to see a motorcycle as she switched lanes on I-70 resulting in the death of the rider. "Your mirrors can miss blind spots so be extra careful. This was a horrible crash that will live with me for the rest of my life." 

To date in 2021, there have been 59 motorcycle fatalities on Colorado roadways.   

Graph 2020 MC Fatalities 

The campaign will run on social media and on radio stations across the state, with a focus in El Paso, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe and Larimer counties where most motorcycle crashes occur.  

The following public service announcement will be broadcast on radio stations: Motorcycles are hard to see. But some things are harder to see. Like emergency rooms. Funerals. And crying faces. Save a life. Look twice for motorcycles when turning left. 

The following social media announcements will also be used statewide:


To prevent motorcycle crashes, CDOT asks drivers to:  

  • Allow extra space when following a motorcycle  

  • Allow motorcycles the full width of a lane at all times. 

  • Use extra caution when turning left at an intersection - motorcycles can be hard to see from a distance 

  • Check twice for motorcycles before turning, changing lanes or merging with traffic. 

  • Never drive distracted or impaired. 

Facts and Statistics:  

  • Motorcycle deaths are down 18% this year compared to last year. To date there have been 59 motorcycle fatalities in 2021, compared to 72 this time last year.  

  • In 2020 there were a total of 140 motorcycle fatalities, the highest number on record. 

  • Motorcyclists made up 23 percent of all traffic deaths on Colorado roadways in 2020 despite representing just 3 percent of the vehicles on the roadway. 

  • Of the 140 motorcyclist deaths in 2020, the following counties are noteworthy:     

  • The top three counties with the most motorcycle deaths are El Paso (26 fatalities), Jefferson (15 fatalities) and Adams County (12).   

  • Northern Colorado 

  • Weld Counties had nine motorcycle deaths and Larimer County had eight deaths 

  • Southern Colorado  

  • El Paso has had 26 deaths and Pueblo had nine deaths.  

  • Western Slope  

  • Mesa County has had seven fatalities. 

Motorcycle fatalities by year 

With peak riding season well underway, it’s important to remember that no rider is invincible. Therefore, CDOT encourages riders to always gear up, wear a helmet, obey the speed limit, and watch out for each other on the road. Training can be obtained through the Motorcycle Operators Safety Training program at 

About CDOT 

CDOT’s Whole System-Whole Safety program has one simple mission — to get everyone home safely. Our approximately 3,000 employees work tirelessly to reduce the rate and severity of crashes and improve the safety of all modes of transportation. The department manages more than 23,000 lane miles of highway, more than 3,000 bridges and 35 mountain passes. CDOT also manages grant partnerships with a range of agencies, including metropolitan planning organizations, local governments and airports. It also operates Bustang, the state-owned interregional express bus service. Gov. Jared Polis has charged CDOT to further build on the state’s intermodal mobility options.