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Colorado Legal Blog

How to stay safe on the ski slopes this year

Going skiing in Colorado is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors and get into the mountains, no matter where you're from. It's a thrilling adventure sport for people of all experience and skill levels. There's a reason that thousands of people flock to the slopes every year.

All that said, skiing does come with some inherent dangers. You can get seriously injured on those same slopes. What can you do to stay safe?

Important statistics about dog bites

People have a much higher chance of dying from natural causes, like cancer or a heart problem, than they do of dying from a dog bite. In fact, a Colorado resident would be more likely to die at the hands of a stinging insect, like a wasp or bee, than they would from a dog bite.

On the other hand, a lot of significant dog bites do happen around the country each year. Estimates show that about 4.7 million people get bitten each year, and 800,000 of them, or about 20%, need some sort of medical attention as a result. These sorts of more significant injuries can range anywhere from an expensive trip to the emergency room all the way up to permanent disfigurement or painful and time-consuming surgeries.

Good news and bad in accident statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its comprehensive annual report on fatal motor vehicle accidents. For Colorado and many other states, the report has good news and bad news.

The good news is that the number of fatalities fell in 2018. This was the second year in a row to show a decline in the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents. At the same time, the number of miles Americans traveled on the road increased. This means that the decline in fatalities is not due to something simple, such as fewer cars on the road. Instead, researchers believe one of the biggest factors driving the change is the improved safety features of cars on the road.

Concern for the safety of Colorado motorcyclists

Although the season for riding motorcycles is winding down, there are still at least a couple of months left when Colorado residents can enjoy riding through this state's many mountain passes and scenic byways. Of course, it is important that when they take the roads, motorcyclists do so safely. In particular, wearing the proper helmet and protective gear, such as a leather jacket, gloves and goggles, is a great way to prevent severe injuries, including brain injuries and burn injuries, should there be a motorcycle accident.

However, while we want motorcyclists in our state to ride safely, we also understand that safety is a two-way street. Drivers in other vehicles frequently are not on the lookout for motorcyclists and thus simply do not see them approaching. Motorcyclists have just as much of a right to share the road as anyone else. Drivers must have the proper experience and attentiveness to make sure that the motorcyclists with whom they share the road stay safe. This is true no matter the weather and road conditions, but drivers must pay special attention in bad weather or when on windy or poorly maintained roads.

Common injuries that skiers suffer

With ski season returning in a couple of months, many people who live in the Dillon area, as well as those who visit Colorado, are probably looking forward to hitting the ski slopes again after the long off season. Of course, as always, skiing is a risky sport, and there are some common injuries that some skiers will suffer while heading downhill this winter.

For example, torn ACLs are common skiing-related injuries. Especially since a person's feet are partially immobilized in the skis, a sudden twist or a fall can put a lot of force on a person's knee, and this force can, in turn, tear the ligaments. Torn ACLs will usually require knee surgery to fix and recovering from this surgery can take several months.

Statistics on fatal motorcycle accidents in Colorado

After reaching a high-water mark in 2016, the number of fatalities due to motorcycle accidents in Colorado has trailed off slightly over the last two years. According to official statistics, in both 2017 and 2018, there were 103 deaths to motorcycle riders reported in this state. Motorcycle accidents constituted about 16 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in both 2017 and 2018.

This year is, to this point, looking to be better than the recent average when it comes to fatal motorcycle accidents. Preliminary numbers from the first few months of this year indicate that only 13 people have died because of motorcycle accidents thus far. At this pace, there could be fewer than 100 motorcycle fatalities for the first time since 2014.

Man dies in Colorado skydiving accident

A man from the Denver area died in a skydiving accident while parachuting in the area of Boulder, which is about 90 minutes away from Dillon.

According to reports, the man for some reason wound up landing in a parking lot. He was transported to a nearby hospital after the incident, where he succumbed to his injuries. Authorities say that the accident will be investigated by federal regulatory authorities. Local police did not want to discuss the case in further detail.

What is electric shock drowning?

In the summer, Colorado has a lot of lakes and rivers and other bodies of fresh water that both residents of the Denver area and visitors love to enjoy in the warmer weather of summer. People love to swim or wade in the water, and they may also enjoy various boating activities.

Unfortunately, swimming and boating do not always mix well at all. Obviously, a boat crashing in to a swimmer can be disastrous. However, there is also a hidden hazard that many may not think of right away.

Common mistakes skiers make on chairlifts

Even though most Colorado ski accidents happen when skiers go down the mountains, there have been incidents where they are hurt going up. Newcomers and people with a fear of heights can find chairlifts very intimidating as there aren’t as many restraints as you would find in a car seat or a theme park attraction. One malfunction or wrong move could result in a 25 foot drop that injures or kills you.

However, most skiers shouldn’t have to worry too much about falling from a chairlift breakdown. A study from the National Ski Areas Association reveals that 86 percent of chairlift falls are from rider error. Any incidents where a skier falls due to a malfunction still occur, but are few and far between. Both experienced and new skiers should instead focus more on their own personal chairlift safety precautions to avoid committing the following mistakes:

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Headquartered In Summit County, Colorado | Est. 2000

Rietz Law Firm, LLC

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P.O. Box 5268
114 Village Place, Suite 301
Dillon, CO 80435

Phone: 970-368-2349
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