A 62-year-old man died Wednesday afternoon after losing control of his motorcycle on Rabbit Ears Pass.
At about 3:30 p.m., Sheldon Slatkin of Florida was traveling west on U.S. Highway 40. While driving around a curve near mile marker 146, a motorcyclist behind Slatkin saw him drift to the right side of the road and into the shoulder area, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Rick Kaspar said.
Slatkin reportedly struck the guardrail several times, Kaspar said. His motorcycle then rolled to the right, and he was thrown onto shoulder of the westbound lane. The motorcycle skidded to the end of the guardrail and down an embankment, where it struck a tree.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Passersby and friends of Slatkin administered CPR until Steamboat Springs Fire and Rescue personnel arrived on scene. Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg pronounced Slatkin dead at the accident scene at 3:55 p.m.
Slatkin was wearing a helmet and had eye protection at the time of the crash, Kaspar said. He was riding a red 1998 Harley Davidson motorcycle with six other riders. All were friends or relatives.
The initial investigation suggests that Slatkin's motorcycle was traveling at about 40 to 45 mph at the time of the accident, which is below the posted speed limit of 50 mph.
The road was wet at the time of the crash, but it was not raining, Kaspar said. Dense fog was reported to the west of the crash scene, but there was not any in the immediate area of the crash.
"It looks like an operator error on the part of the motorcycle driver, coupled with the wet conditions and inherent dangers of driving a motorcycle," Kaspar said.
Drugs or alcohol are not suspected to be factors in the crash, but further tests will be conducted. Because of a lack of visible injuries to Slatkin, Ryg requested an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Health issues are being investigated.
Slatkin and the six other motorcyclists spent Tuesday night in Laramie, Wyo., and left Wednesday morning for Steam--boat. They stopped in Walden for lunch, then began driving toward Steamboat, where they planned to spend the night, Kaspar said.