What Are the Top Five Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in CO?

Drunk driver causing motorcycle accident.

Colorado is a great state to explore on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, not every motorcycle journey is a pleasant one. About 5,000 motorcyclists die in motor vehicle crashes each year. Tens of thousands more are injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Colorado alone, over 100 people die in motorcycle wrecks each year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Traffic accidents are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. This is because motorcycles are so much smaller than other vehicles on the road, and they don’t have the same level of safety equipment to protect riders. Many of these wrecks involving motorcycles are caused by preventable factors, such as:

Driver Negligence

When drivers of motor vehicles behave negligently, their actions can cause trouble for everyone on the road, especially motorcyclists. Negligent, careless, and wrongful actions include speeding, running stop signs, driving the wrong way, and violating other traffic laws. Drivers also often cause accidents by not merging properly, tailgating, weaving between lanes, and other aggressive actions.

Additionally, distracted driving causes a significant percentage of accidents. This includes anything that takes a driver’s eyes or attention off the road. Examples of distracted driving include talking on the phone, texting, looking up directions, checking emails, eating, changing the radio, or tending to children. No matter how short of a time an action takes, any distraction on the road can be deadly.

Drivers of larger vehicles like semi-trucks also cause serious motorcycle accidents when they do not pay proper attention. For example, when truck drivers don’t check their blind spots before changing lanes or making a left-hand turn, they can easily cut off a biker or force the motorcycle off the road.

Drivers and passengers may cause serious injuries to motorcyclists when they suddenly open the doors of parked cars into the path of passing motorcyclists. This forces motorcyclists to either ram into the door, slam on the brakes, or swerve into other lanes of traffic to avoid the obstacle. Bikers may be thrown from their motorcycles in dooring accidents, leaving them vulnerable to being hit by other vehicles in the road.


Misuse of alcohol, drugs, and other controlled substances causes significant problems for drivers of motorcycles and other vehicles alike. Nearly 30 percent of deadly traffic accidents in Colorado involve alcohol-impaired drivers, according to the CDOT.

The majority of these drunk drivers are men, and more than 20 percent are between the ages of 21 and 34, the CDOT reports. Unfortunately, this statistic keeps increasing year over year.

It’s incredibly dangerous for people to operate a motor vehicle after they have been drinking because of the effect alcohol has on a person’s system and bodily functions. Even if the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is less than the legal limit of 0.08, drinking can still impair his or her ability to maintain balance, react quickly, focus, judge distance, and stay awake.

Road Hazards

Colorado sees a range of weather and road conditions that can lead to trouble for motorcyclists. For example, black ice, accumulated snow, and heavy rain are dangerous for any driver. However, these conditions are especially hazardous for motorcycle drivers, who might slide on ice and tip over or hydroplane.

Additionally, poor weather conditions often lead to road hazards that are particularly treacherous for motorcycles. For instance, snow and ice on highways can lead to potholes. While drivers of other vehicles may just roll over potholes, a motorcyclist may hit them and spin out of control or be thrown from the bike.

Motorcycles are also more vulnerable than typical passenger vehicles to other road hazards like loose gravel, uneven lanes, debris, items dropped by other vehicles, and animals in the road.

Lack of Training

Inexperienced and unlicensed drivers are also a significant contributor to traffic accidents. Under Colorado law, motorcyclists must have a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. To get this endorsement, bikers must either complete a Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) course, or they must pass motorcycle-specific written and driving skills tests. It’s critical to keep in mind that MOST only provides training on basic skills. To learn the advanced tactics that motorcyclists need to avoid wrecks, it’s important to get additional training.

Inexperienced drivers of cars or commercial vehicles can also cause serious accidents. Teen drivers may be focused on the basics of driving and may not be looking out for motorcyclists like they should. Inexperienced or untrained truck drivers can also pose a threat to much smaller vehicles like motorcycles.

Defective Motorcycle

All kinds of equipment failures can cause a motorcycle crash. Motorcycles and their components often face recalls for defects in design or manufacturing that might cause serious issues like brake failure. Unfortunately, vehicle manufacturers typically don’t issue a recall until multiple people encounter the same problem. In the meantime, bikers and passengers are forced to suffer the consequences of these dangerous and defective products.

Talk to a Colorado Motorcycle Accident Attorney Now

If you were severely injured in a crash, the Colorado motorcycle accident lawyers at The Sawaya Law Firm are here to help. We have over 35 years of experience helping victims just like you get full and fair compensation after serious motor vehicle accidents. Our skilled and compassionate team has what it takes to help you fight for the justice you deserve.

To get the help you need after a motorcycle accident, contact The Sawaya Law Firm today. Our experienced attorneys can meet with you for a free consultation to review your case.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.