Can you believe that a month ago I was warning everyone to be careful with fires because of the extremely dry conditions? Now I must warn you to watch out for the Ark while driving around the county.
With the weather gradually getting nicer and warmer (Finally!) in Douglas County, we all need to be more conscious of all the motorcyclists, bicyclists, runners and walkers who are again showing up in force on area roadways. More and more children will be outside playing with balls and toys that can roll into busy streets that are bustling with traffic.
What we all need to remember is to make adjustments for the extra activity as we drive on seemingly quiet streets in our neighborhoods or along busier roads where hazards may be less obvious. At the same time, if you are out there on the streets on motorcycles, bicycles or even running, you need to remember to be extra vigilant about the vehicles traveling around you so that you aren’t injured or worse.
After reaching a record of 98 motorcycle fatalities in 2008, the Colorado Department of Transportation reports that the state had a 10 percent decline in rider deaths to 88 in 2009. However, when compared to all traffic fatalities, the percentage of those that were motorcycle deaths actually rose slightly to represent 19 percent of Colorado’s motor vehicle fatalities, compared to 18 percent in 2008.
In the U.S., 630 bicyclists were killed and another 51,000 were injured in accidents involving motor vehicles, according to NHTSA statistics. The number of pedestrians, including walkers and runners, who died across the U.S. in 2009 in accidents with motor vehicles stands at 4,092, according to NHTSA statistics.
If you are riding a motorcycle or bicycle on public roadways, be sure to wear approved safety helmets and other protective gear. On motorcycles, that means leather or padded jackets, protective gloves, long pants, boots that cover your ankles and eye protection.
On bicycles, be sure to wear approved helmets and reflective clothing so you can be more visible to motorists. Proper headlights and taillights are also critical for night riding, as well as hand protection and tight-fitting pants clips so that long clothing doesn’t get caught up in the bike’s chain, which could cause an accident.
Spring is a time for enjoying the warmer weather and getting outside again after the long, cold winter, but don’t let a tragedy or injury ruin your experience.
Be careful out there, use proper safety equipment for your activities and stay aware of your surroundings as you ride, walk and run.