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Motorcycle Brake Enhancements Would Save Lives, Safety Groups Say

A pair of leading traffic safety organizations is renewing its calls for regulators to require that new motorcycles come equipped with antilock braking systems.

“While ABS obviously doesn’t prevent every crash or death, it is clearly a powerful tool for improving motorcycle safety, the leaders of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute said in a letter to Ann Carlson, acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The groups are petitioning NHTSA to update existing regulations to require ABS on new bikes. The technology has been required for passenger vehicles since 2000.

ABS, as its name suggests, prevents brakes from locking when brakes are applied sharply. It restores traction to tires to prevent vehicles from skidding when in these situations.

IIHS has been pushing NHTSA to force motorcycle manufacturers to put ABS in new motorcycles for a decade.

“This would leave fewer crashes and deaths for other countermeasures to address, meaning more riders arriving safely at their destinations,” the groups said in the letter to Carlson.

More than 6,000 people are killed in motorcycle accidents in the U.S. every year, according to IIHS. Motorcycle accidents are more likely to cause serious and life-threatening injuries because of the minimal physical protection that bikes afford riders. Single-bike collisions involving significant injuries are common.

ABS cuts down the risk of fatal motorcycle accidents by at least 22 percent, according to an IIHS study. European studies show that the technology reduces the risk of crashes causing injuries by as much as 34 percent, the groups said in the petition.

Several countries around the globe have implemented ABS requirements for bikes in the 10 years since IIHS began urging federal regulators in the U.S. to take the same step. Those countries include certain European Union nations, as well as Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and India.

“Ideally, the U.S. should take a leadership position when it comes to safety regulations,” IIHS-HLDI President David Harkey said in a statement announcing the new petition. “But at the very least, NHTSA should act swiftly to adopt the best practices when the rest of the world moves faster.”

Meanwhile, ABS is becoming more common on motorcycles across the U.S. Roughly 59 percent of all bikes manufactured for sale in the country last year came with ABS. That is up from about 20 percent a decade earlier.

The National Transportation Safety Board in 2018 recommended that NHTSA make antilock braking systems required on new motorcycles.

“Riders need more time to react. They need motorcycles that perform better in a potential emergency,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said at the time.

Colorado Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise

Colorado is much like the rest of the country when it comes to fatal motorcycle accidents. Those crashes are on the rise.

Nearly 150 motorcycle riders were killed in crashes statewide over the year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation, marking a roughly 10 percent jump from 2021. That is the highest number of bike crash deaths on record in the state’s history. 

Bikers accounted for 20% of all traffic fatalities in Colorado last year, even though motorcycle riders only make up about 3% of registered motorists throughout the state.

The counties that saw the most motorcycle deaths were El Paso (25), Jefferson (19), Adams (12), Denver (12) and Arapahoe (11).

Many bikers put themselves at unnecessary risk by hitting the road without helmets.

More than half of the motorcycle riders who died in accidents last year were not wearing helmets at the time of the crashes, CDOT found. Only about 65% of riders nationwide wear helmets.

Legal Rights for People Injured in Colorado Motorcycle Crashes

Anyone injured in a motorcycle or other traffic accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. That often includes negligent drivers and their insurers but can also extend to third parties like vehicle manufacturers and drivers’ employers in some cases.

The compensation available is primarily money for medical bills, property damage, missed wages during recuperation and any impact of the injuries on longer-term earning capacity. Additional punitive damages may be awarded in some cases to punish particularly reckless behavior on the road.

Wrongful death claims are common following fatal motorcycle and other traffic accidents.

The loved ones of a person who dies in a crash generally have the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the accident. The monetary damages typically available in these cases are designed to compensate family members for the financial impact of losing a loved one.

Obviously, no amount of money can ever allow you to go back in time and prevent an accident from happening. A wrongful death action can, however, help ease the financial strain that often comes with the loss of a loved one. It can also provide a certain level of closure by getting justice and ensuring that those responsible are made accountable for their actions.

State law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.

It is important to understand that you do not need to go it alone. A Denver personal injury lawyer at our firm can help you understand your legal rights and explore your options.

Speak With a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle, car, truck or other accident in Colorado, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.

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