Whether you’re a long-time resident, just riding through the state, or someone new to the motorcycle scene entirely, there are a few laws and regulations to know when traveling via motorcycle in Colorado. The first and easiest to remember is that motorcyclists must follow all the same standard road laws that apply to other vehicles (i.e. speed limits, moving violations etc). Obeying all the general laws in Colorado is just the first step. As provided by the Colorado Department of Transportation, here are the laws that apply specifically to motorcycle riders in Colorado.
Protective Equipment for Riding
Helmets: Colorado is one of the states that does NOT require helmets for motorcycle riders who are 18 and over. Anyone under the age of 18 who is riding or driving a motorcycle must be wearing a DOT-approved helmet. That being said, it’s still a good idea to wear one, regardless of how old or experienced you are as a rider. Unsurprisingly, accidents in which the rider of a motorcycle was not wearing a helmet are significantly more fatal than those in which they are worn. According to the Colorado DOT, 65 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2006 were not wearing a helmet in states that did not legally require it. That number plummeted to 13 percent in states with helmet laws on the books.
Eye Protection: While helmets may not be required by law in Colorado, some form of eye protection is. The windshield of a motorcycle does not constitute adequate protection to meet this standard, either. Riders in Colorado need to wear some kind of goggles, eyeglasses made from safety glass/plastic, or—ideally—a helmet with a built-in visor attached.
Specific Motorcycle Traffic Laws
Passing & Overtaking: Just because a motorcycle may be small enough to pass a vehicle in the same lane does not make it acceptable. In fact, it’s illegal to do so in Colorado.
Co-Riding: While it is illegal to pass or “lane share” with a car or truck, “co-riding” with another motorcycle in the same line is perfectly legal.
Clinging/Towing: Motorcyclists cannot attach themselves or their motorcycle onto another vehicle. In other words, no grabbing onto the tailgate of another vehicle to catch a ride.
Relating to Passengers
Footrests: Not only must all motorcycles have footrests equipped for passengers, but passengers must use them while riding.
Riding Position: Motorcycle passengers must ride either behind the driver or in a side car. Passengers cannot legally sit in front of the driver.
There are not many laws to remember when it comes to motorcycles specifically in the state of Colorado, but it’s important to follow the few there are in order to protect yourself physically and legally. Not only can you be charged for breaking the law if you fail to do so, but it could also have detrimental effects on any potential lawsuits, claims, or accidents. In some circumstances, if you’re found to be breaking the law in a negligent way, it could void compensation you might otherwise be due entirely.
For specific questions or help, call the attorneys at The Law Offices of Dianne L. Sawaya LLC in Denver, Colorado.