Editorial: Watch for motorcycles until the snows come
There was another serious motorcycle crash in Craig on Monday that left a man fighting for his life.
According to Craig police, the rider was traveling south on Yampa Avenue about 4 p.m. — close to a school zone near Seventh Street — when a 92-year-old woman pulled out in front of the motorcyclist and he crashed in front of the local nursery. The elderly driver was uninjured, but the rider had a serious head injury, and the woman was issued a citation.
The crash shook up a few residents and business owners in the area who beat first responders to the scene of the accident and helped the man until EMS could arrive and take him to Memorial Regional Health. He was ultimately transferred to St. Mary’s in Grand Junction where he underwent a successful surgery Tuesday, but has not regained consciousness, according to a family member.
The incident marks at least the second potentially deadly motorcycle crash in the last five months near Craig’s core — its beautiful and increasingly busy downtown where Yampa Avenue and Victory Way meet. It’s an area packed with residences in close proximity to Craig’s iconic commercial core, so parking in front of homes on Yampa is common. Sometimes, residents and visitors on streets like Yampa and Victory Way will take every street space available all the way up to the intersections on both sides of the street.
When anything larger than a Smart car is parked that close to an intersection, it poses a major safety hazard for drivers trying to see over cars and trucks so they can yield the right of way to traffic on a busy day. It’s even harder to see a motorcycle cruising down the road — even at Craig’s reasonable speed limits in town.
The days are still warm, so recreational traffic is still heavy during some parts of the day and week on Yampa and Victory. Until the snows come, it’s important for Craig residents to be on the lookout for motorcyclists. Craig is a small town and many of us have an expert level of familiarity with our roads and streets. Our short, routine routes make us complacent, so it’s important to be watchful at all times when driving.
Motorcyclists should be careful too. Many residents of Craig retain their elderly independence — perhaps a testament to the gumption and drive of the Greatest Generation. If you’re on a motorcycle, consider mounting extra lighting on your ride to help grab the attention of Craig drivers who don’t always pay as much attention as they should.
general manager for Craig Press
Clay Thorp, reporter
The city, county, and state governments need to work together here and get something done to prevent similar accidents from happening so close to downtown Craig. There are major projects in the works to make much of downtown Craig handicap-accessible. This would undoubtedly help with traffic safety in the area, but those projects are still a year or more away from completion, so something should be done before then.
A quick and easy fix would be to eliminate several feet of parking space at each intersection with Yampa and Victory by maintaining clearly painted yellow curbs. Many of the curbs are faded and may not leave enough safe space so drivers can see oncoming traffic. Since Yampa was shut down both ways due to Monday’s wreck, certainly residents and businesses in the area would be willing to give up a few feet of parking on each corner to ensure the safety and stability of commerce in the area.
It’s also important for Craig’s homeowners to keep their trees and hedges trimmed down as to not impede line of sight for stop signs, yield signs, and oncoming traffic.
If you notice a safety hazard around town, talk to your neighbors about helping them keep the area safe or call the city’s community service officers if a code violation goes unfixed.
Hopefully with some bright paint and a little volunteerism around town, we can help prevent another wreck.