Vail Daily’s View: Watch out for cyclists with return of warm weather | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily’s View: Watch out for cyclists with return of warm weather

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado
newsroom@vaildaily.com

As our weather gets warmer, ever more folks are coming out to play on two wheels. And that means it’s time for drivers of four-wheeled vehicles to shift their attention a bit. It’s also time for a shot of reality for motorcycle riders.

There are far more bicyclists than motorcyclists in the valley, and drivers need to keep their eyes open for their pedaling neighbors as well as those on motorbikes.

But motorcyclists seem to be hurt and killed far out of proportion to their numbers on the roads. And in those cases, cell phone-yakking drivers aren’t always to blame.

We received a press release recently from the Colorado Department of Transportation that put some stark numbers to the problem. Motorcycle accidents accounted for 18 percent of Colorado traffic deaths in 2008 ” a total of 98 people ” although motorcycles made up only 3 percent of all registered vehicles.

More disturbing, state officials say 80 percent of all of the fatal motorcycle crashes were the riders’ fault. The vast majority of those people weren’t wearing helmets.

Our motorcycle-commuting business editor is a dedicated helmet wearer, and believes all motorcyclists should do the same, but our state leaves riders the option of riding with or without protective headgear. It’s your choice, but we like helmets.

We’d also encourage anyone new to the sport to take at least some training. That’s a little harder to come by on the Western Slope than on the Front Range, but local dealerships can steer new riders to safety courses.

At the very least, get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. The questions riders have to answer are simple, but it’s good information.

Longtime riders cringe when people call them “murdercycles” or “donorcycles,” but one look at the numbers shows the reality behind those grim nicknames. Riders, we know most of you are grownups, but please be careful out there.

Vail Daily Editorial Board