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Fort Collins personal injury attorney motorcycle accidentIn Colorado, motorcyclists are at a high risk of injury compared to other drivers. Recent statistics from the Colorado Department of Transportation show that around 20 percent of all fatalities and serious injuries from vehicle crashes are suffered by motorcyclists, and in many cases, these collisions are the fault of another driver. An accident on I-25 this summer illustrates some important points about motorcycle accidents and why it is essential that injured motorcyclists work with an experienced attorney to understand their legal options for seeking compensation.

Colorado Motorcycle Crashes May Be the Fault of Another Driver

In a recent Colorado accident, a motorcyclist collided with a barrier and overturned after another driver swerved into his lane. While this case is still under investigation and fault has not been determined, other cases involving reckless driving, road rage, distracted driving, and other negligent behavior have resulted in significant compensation for injured motorcyclists. A personal injury attorney can help motorcyclists obtain financial relief for their damages through a settlement agreement or a court ruling.

Motorcycle Accidents Often Result in Severe Injuries

Many Colorado motorcyclists involved in collisions require emergency medical treatment for a variety of injuries because their vehicles offer little physical protection. Some common motorcycle injuries include:

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Larimer County motorcycle accident injury attorney

Operating a motorcycle in any state requires a certain level of responsibility, and this can often exceed the level of care needed to safely drive a passenger or commercial vehicle. Motorcyclists should be sure to follow all state laws. These laws are in place to help keep motorcyclists and their passengers safe and to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents. Many of these regulations might seem like common sense, but it is important for motorcyclists to be aware of considerations that do not necessarily apply to car drivers. It is imperative that you familiarize yourself with laws and safety procedures before you hit the open road, and this can help you prevent crashes and serious injuries.

Colorado Motorcycle Laws

Even if you already consider yourself a cautious motorcyclist, it is best to fully understand the laws that you must follow. You should bear the following three categories in mind:

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Larimer County motorcycle accident attorney

We hear about motorcycle accidents all of the time, and unfortunately, newsworthy reports about them usually mean there was a fatality. Because motorcycles offer little external protection for cyclists, motorcycle riders are often the ones killed or seriously injured when they are involved in a collision. Despite the stereotype of motorcyclists being reckless and irresponsible, most are passionate about safety. There are many other things that can cause a motorcycle crash, and they are often not the fault of the motorcyclist. 

Reasons for Colorado Motorcycle Accidents

Helmets are not required by law for motorcycle riders 18 years and older, but they can often prevent significant brain trauma. However, even when motorcyclists take precautions such as wearing safety gear, it may not be enough to prevent a serious injury. The Colorado Department of Transportation reported a rise in motorcycle rider deaths in 2018. In fact, motorcycle rider deaths have increased overall 30 percent between 2012 and 2018. 

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Larimer County motorcycle accident injury lawyerPeople young and old enjoy motorcycles. These riders are passionate about their bikes and the culture surrounding them. As with driving a car, every motorcyclist is a beginner at one point. The more educated new motorcycle drivers are, the safer they are on the road. Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable drivers during an accident, so following safety measures and advice from the beginning is critical. However, sometimes the reckless actions of other drivers can cause a collision with injuries.    

Colorado Motorcycle License

To legally operate a motorcycle in Colorado, a person must have the proper license. A motorcycle endorsement is an addition to a standard driver’s license. This special license can be obtained by visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles. To get a motorcycle endorsement, a driver must pass a written exam, purchase a permit, pass a skills test, and pay for a new license with the updated status. Alternately, a person may take a Motorcycle Operator Safety Training course instead, and then purchase a new license that is updated for motorcycle operation. 

Safety Precautions

For any new motorcyclist, hitting the road the first couple of times can be intimidating. Following the below tips that seasoned motorcycle riders abide by will increase a cyclist's safety and confidence: 

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Larimer County motorcycle accident injury lawyer

It is no secret that motorcyclists are at a higher risk of injury that the drivers or passengers of cars and trucks. The lack of protection provided by motorcycles compared to other vehicles exposes a motorcyclist to major risk of injury if he or she is thrown from a bike or is involved in a crash with an automobile. Riders can take certain precautions to reduce injuries in the event of a motorcycle accident. However, the drivers of other vehicles are more likely to pose a significant danger to motorcyclists. For instance, driving while drunk presents a serious risk to everyone, but especially to motorcyclists.

Colorado Motorcyclist Dies After Being Hit By a Drunk Driver

Recently, a 35-year-old motorcyclist died in Colorado Springs after being struck by a drunk driver. The motorcyclist was hit at a high speed from behind by a pick-up truck. The driver was thrown from the bike, and he was subsequently hit by a minivan. He was pronounced dead by authorities at the scene. The drunk driver, a 34-year-old man, was later charged with DUI and vehicular homicide. 

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Larimer County motorcycle accident injury lawyer

In 2018, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 16.3 percent of motor vehicle fatalities were motorcyclists—totaling 103. This is because, in an accident, a motorcyclist is more likely to suffer fatal injuries compared to a car or truck driver. When a motorcyclist weaves through other vehicles at a high speed, this can cause concern for other drivers. It also creates a poor stereotype that all motorcycle riders are reckless and irresponsible. Motorcycles are viewed as dangerous modes of transportation, and in many cases, the people who ride them have an equally negative bias against them. It is imperative for motorcyclists to adhere to certain safety standards in order to avoid being involved in an accident and suffering serious injuries. However, in some situations, a motorcycle accident can be caused by another driver's negligence.  

Safety First

Responsible motorcyclist enthusiasts are passionate about safety. Compared to a car, the amount of protection a motorcycle provides is extremely limited. In the event of an accident, a motorcycle rider is exposed directly to the incident, while a car has an external shell, and occupants are protected by systems such as seat belts and airbags. 

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Larimer County motorcycle accident attorney

The kind of vehicle a driver owns is a matter of personal choice. Some motorists may avoid owning or riding motorcycles due to the high risk of injury. There is a smaller percentage of motorcyclists on the road compared to passenger and commercial vehicles, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. Motorcycles are unique because they are not restricted, like bicycles or pedestrians, on major highways. However, they offer limited protection for the driver, and therefore, a motorcycle accident can have devastating consequences. 

Precautions to Take When Riding a Motorcycle

There are many safety precautions that motorcycle drivers and passengers should take when going out on the road. A driver's and rider’s entire bodies are subject to the surrounding environment since a motorcycle does not offer protection like a car. Basic motorcycle gear includes a helmet and gloves, plus rugged shoes and clothes. Leather is a popular choice because of its durability. In the event of falling off the motorcycle, these items will help protect the driver's and passenger's bodies. Protective eyewear such as sunglasses is also important to reduce the chances of a motorcyclist losing his or her eyesight in a crash. 

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Larimer County, CO motorcycle accident injury lawyer

Motorcyclists are often cast as irresponsible and reckless individuals due to their choice of transportation. While motorcycles do lack the external protection that cars have, most motorcycle riders care about safety and take the proper precautions while they are on the road. Motorcyclists make up only 3 percent of drivers in Colorado but contribute to 20 percent of fatalities on the same roads. There are factors that a motorcycle driver will not be able to control, and there are times when motorcycle accidents are unavoidable, but following laws and safety recommendations can be the difference between life and death. 

Safety Precautions 

To legally operate a motorcycle in Colorado, a driver must get a motorcycle endorsement on an already valid driver’s license. One of the biggest safety precautions motorcyclists can take is to follow the law. Road rules exist for everyone’s safety, and there are penalties to discourage recklessness. Motorcycles are not allowed to share a lane with a car or drive in between two lanes of traffic. Since car and truck drivers do not expect smaller vehicles to speed past them, doing so can create a dangerous scenario. Two motorcycles can share a lane space and ride parallel, but it is recommended to drive in a single file line. 

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Larimer County injury lawyers

With the weather getting warmer, motorcyclists are now able to enjoy the open road once again. Whether used as primary transportation or as a hobby, motorcycles have many benefits as an alternative to a passenger car or bicycle. While motorcyclists are sometimes characterized as reckless thrill seekers, the vast majority are committed to safe riding. 

A motorcyclist is always more exposed to danger on the road than other vehicles. Except for protective gear such as helmets, gloves, and thick jackets, motorcyclists have direct contact with the environment they are driving in. There are no airbags or large physical barriers for protection. Although motorcycles are one of the smallest groups of motorists, motorcycle accidents make up 20 percent of all road fatalities in Colorado. 

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Ft. Collins motorcycle accident lawyerEvery year, thousands of motorcyclists throughout the United States suffer fatal injuries in accidents. Here in northern Colorado, we witness far too many fatal motorcycle accidents on an annual basis. Recently, a 37-year-old woman was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident in Fort Collins. The motorcycle was a two-person Harley Davidson, and when it collided with another vehicle, both motorcycle passengers were severely hurt, and the female passenger ultimately died. The accident reminded every Colorado native of the dangers that motorcyclists face when sharing the road with other vehicles. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should take steps to understand your options for pursuing financial compensation. 

Motorcycle Accidents Nationwide 

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), approximately 5,000 American motorcyclists died in 2017. While this statistic marks a slight decrease in motorcycle fatalities on a national scale, motorcyclists are still much more likely to suffer fatal injuries than drivers or passengers of automobiles. In fact, motorcyclists are 28% more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle collision than those traveling in a standard motor vehicle. Despite the fact that motorcyclists make up a small number of all highway users, they accounted for approximately 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2017. Next time you ride a motorcycle, ride with caution. 

Remaining Safe on Your Motorcycle

While there is no guarantee of safety while riding a motorcycle, there are a few steps you can take to help decrease your chances of serious injury. The first step you can take is riding responsibly. Do not recklessly pass drivers on corners or double lines. Recognize that you are not as visible as a standard automobile, and avoid drivers’ blind spots. 

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
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