Motorcycle deaths in 2016 could surpass last year’s all time high, according to preliminary data released by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
As of July 20, 58 motorcyclists have died in road accidents compared with 51 during the same period in 2015—up 14 percent. Last year’s total came to an all-time high of 106 deaths, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.
The Post reported that 34 of the cyclists killed this year were not wearing helmets.
“This is a growing and alarming problem, not just here in Colorado, but nationwide,” Department of Transportation spokesperson Sam Cole said in a press release. “A problem in which everyone — both riders and drivers — need to help combat.”
Increasing numbers of motorcycles on the road — and their inexperienced riders — could be contributing to the problem, the Gazette reported.
Jennifer Tolbert and her husband, Dave, run the Motorcycle Training Academy in Colorado Springs. The academy offers safety classes for riders of all experience levels.
“There’s more motorcycles on the road than there used to be,” Ms. Tolbert told the Gazette. “Bikes are more powerful, and sometimes a new rider may get too big of a bike or not be able to handle the size of a bike.”
The department of transportation launched a campaign this year encouraging riders to attend classes like the Tolberts’ to improve safety. They’ve launched several campaigns in the past few years to reduce accident fatalities, including one urging drivers to look out for cyclists, according to the Post.
To date, Colorado ranks 14th in the nation for motorcycle fatalities.