Denver sees huge spike in motorcycle deaths

Posted at 5:54 PM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 19:54:06-04

Denver Police are seeing an alarming jump in the number of crashes and deaths involving motorcycles.

Police said so far this year there have been 11 motorcycle fatalities and 37 serious injury crashes.

"That is significantly higher than what happened last year," said Lieutenant Robert Rock with Denver Police's Traffic Investigations Unit.

During the same period last year there were only 12 serious crashes and police saw a total of eight deaths in all of 2014.

Out of the 11 deaths this year, police said nine of the riders were driving illegally without a motorcycle license.

"If they had some training they may have been able to save themselves in that situation," said Lt. Rock.

Police are encouraging anyone who rides a motorcycle to obtain the proper certification, take a safety course and wear the proper safety gear including a helmet.

To get a motorcycle licenses and/or endorsement, you have to pass a written and driving test along with paying a fee to the DMV.

One of the biggest mistakes officers are seeing motorcyclists make involves how they brake.  

Police said a lot of riders are using their rear brakes only, which takes a lot longer to stop and can lead to crashes.

"When something happens in front of us our automatic reaction is to step on the rear brake and that's what a lot of these folks are doing," said Corporal Del Creason a trainer with the Denver Police Department's Motor Unit.

He said the correct way to brake is a combination of both the front and rear brakes.

"You don't really think about it until you really need it, and unfortunately that's too late," said Cpl. Creason.

DPD also said out of the 11 deaths, only two people were wearing helmets.

By law, riders are not required to wear a helmet in Colorado but police say it can be the difference between life and death in a motorcycle crash.