If you wish to ride a motorcycle in Colorado, you must first learn all the laws and roadway rules that apply to you. This can help keep you safe as you share the road with motor vehicle drivers and keep you out of legal trouble. Our Denver motorcycle accident lawyers have seen violations of motorcycle laws as one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Colorado.
Motorcycle Licensing Requirements
In Colorado, all motorcyclists must have the proper endorsement on their driver’s licenses to lawfully operate motorcycles. Without this endorsement, riders can receive tickets and hefty fines for riding without the required licensure. Obtaining an “M” motorcycle endorsement requires the completion of a written exam and a vehicle skills test. Riders must be at least 16 years old to obtain motorcycle endorsements.
Motorcyclist Rules of the Road
Motorcycles are treated the same as regular motor vehicles under Colorado law. They must be operated in accordance with all applicable traffic laws and roadway rules. This includes obeying traffic patterns, road signs, traffic control signals, speed limits and right-of-way laws. Motorcyclists cannot ride while intoxicated, drive recklessly, text and ride, tailgate, or engage in other dangerous practices behind the handlebars.
Motorcycle riders and passengers who are over the age of 18 are not legally required to wear helmets in Colorado. Any motorcyclist or passenger under the age of 18, however, must wear a properly fitting and DOT-approved safety helmet. A minor who fails to wear a helmet on a motorcycle could lead to a fine for the operator. Even if you are not legally required to wear a helmet, our experienced brain injury lawyers in Denver recommend doing so as it is the best way to protect yourself from a serious head or brain injury in an accident.
Required Motorcycle Equipment
Motorcycles in Colorado must be properly equipped with working brakes, at least one mirror and a muffler that fulfills the state’s noise restrictions. A motorcycle must also have a working headlight that projects a white light visible from at least 500 feet in front of the bike. Daytime running lights are not required in Colorado, but a motorcyclist can choose to use the headlight during the day, if desired.
If a motorcyclist wishes to transport a passenger, the bike must be designed to do so, with a designated passenger seat and footrests. There is no minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers in Colorado, but the passenger must be tall enough to reach the footrests. Eye protection is also required for all motorcyclists in the state, either in the form of a helmet with a visor, a windshield or goggles.
Colorado Lane-Splitting Law
Lane splitting is not allowed in Colorado. Lane splitting refers to a motorcyclist riding on the line between two lanes of same-direction traffic, such as riding between two rows of cars that are stopped at a red light. If a motorcyclist is caught lane splitting in Colorado, he or she can face a ticket and fine.
Motorcycle Accident Laws
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there were 149 fatal motorcycle and scooter accidents in 2022. Like standard drivers, motorcyclists must maintain the required amounts of automobile insurance to pay for the losses caused by an accident. If you get involved in a motorcycle accident in Denver, you or your lawyer will need to determine the cause of the crash and identify the at-fault party. Under Colorado’s fault-based insurance law, the party at fault for the crash must pay.
If another driver negligently or recklessly caused your motorcycle accident, he or she may be responsible for paying for your medical bills, property repairs and other losses. You have the right to hire a Denver personal injury attorney to represent you during insurance settlement negotiations or a personal injury trial after a harmful motorcycle crash in Colorado. Call Manning Law at (720) 515-3191 for a free case consultation.