August 13, 2010 – Traffic Safety – DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the RIDE SMART Foothills motorcycle safety coalition will launch a pilot project Saturday aimed at reducing the number of motorcyclists who ride under the influence of alcohol by providing them with a safe place to keep their bike.
The project will test the use of a mobile storage container where riders can secure their motorcycle overnight free of charge and get a safe ride home if they have had too much to drink.
Beginning Saturday, Aug. 14 through Oct. 14, 2010 RIDE SMART’s motorcycle pod will be stationed at Cactus Jack’s Saloon in Evergreen, located below the dam at 4651 Highway 73. The storage unit, which is 8 feet by 20 feet, will hold 4 to 6 motorcycles and is located in the parking lot of the saloon. A kick-off event is planned for this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.
“We know from talking to riders that one of their biggest concerns is leaving their motorcycle behind if they get another ride home, so the storage container gives them a choice and peace of mind that their bike will be there when they come back to pick it up later,” said Jackie Mohr, executive director of DRIVE SMART Evergreen/Conifer and RIDE SMART. “We are excited about this new initiative and expect the concept to really take off. Cactus Jack’s Saloon is very popular among riders in the foothills and we think it will be a good place to test the concept and see how Colorado riders respond to the safe storage idea.”
The RIDE SMART Foothills motorcycle safety coalition was formed last year in response to statistics that show Jefferson County is consistently one of the top three counties when it comes to high motorcycle fatalities, with 42 motorcyclists killed from 2005 through 2009. Nearly half (48%) of those deaths involved a motorcycle operator who had been drinking alcohol. Statewide in 2009, 40% of motorcycle fatalities were alcohol-related.
RIDE SMART and the storage project are funded by a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The effort is also supported by coalition members including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado State Patrol, ABATE of Colorado, Law Tigers, DRIVE SMART Evergreen/Conifer, Morse Evergreen Auto Body, Carby Farmer’s Insurance, Master Drive and Colorado Sport Bike Club.
“Motorcycle safety is an important issue in Colorado and the storage concept gives riders an opportunity to make the right choice if they’ve had too much to drink,” said Pamela Hutton, governor’s highway safety representative at CDOT. “The timing of this project couldn’t be better, especially with the national DUI crackdown beginning August 20th through Labor Day weekend. A DUI is not worth the cost to human life or to your wallet.”
As Colorado’s first motorcycle pod, the Cactus Jack’s unit will serve as part of a pilot program to test the concept’s effectiveness and it may be expanded next spring.