101 Motorcyclist Traffic Deaths Last Year in Colorado
Still, the motorcyclist total was a bright spot in the 2017 data because there were a record 125 motorcyclist fatalities in 2016. Most motorcyclists killed in 2017 crashes were not wearing helmets, according to CDOT.
Overall traffic deaths in Colorado rose last year by 4 percent, to 630, according to preliminary data recently released by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Traffic deaths statewide were up by 29 percent since 2014, and there were 101 motorcyclist deaths in accidents during 2017.
Still, the motorcyclist total was a bright spot in the 2017 data because there were a record 125 motorcyclist fatalities in 2016.
"We can't lay the blame for the uptick on Colorado's population growth," said Michael Lewis, CDOT's executive director. "This comes down to poor choices many people make when driving, from not buckling up to driving impaired or using their phones."
He said despite Colorado's seat belt law, 16 percent of Coloradans do not buckle up, and Colorado ranks 36th in the country in seat belt use. There were 211 unbelted deaths in passenger vehicle crashes last year -- accounting for half of the 399 passenger vehicle fatalities in 2017.
"Fatal crashes continue to be a tragic ending for hundreds of people in Colorado each year," said Col. Matt Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. "Every life matters. They matter to me, my troopers, and the families suffering from these preventable tragedies. We encourage drivers to make good decisions, always drive sober, and avoid distractions. Help us save lives this year by buckling up, dropping the distractions, and focusing on driving."
Most motorcyclists killed in 2017 crashes were not wearing helmets, according to the agency, which also reported pedestrians deaths rose for a second year in a row in 2017 to 93, up from 64 in 2015, while bicycle fatalities remained flat.
"Colorado lacks many of the protections that other states have, including primary enforcement of our seat belt law and a hands-free law for using cell phones," Lewis said. "That certainly does not help as we work to solve the traffic safety crisis in Colorado."
Construction zone fatalities during the year totaled 15, more than twice as many as the seven deaths during 2016.