Is it Legal to Ride Without a Helmet in Colorado?

Posted On August 1, 2022 / By Manning Law / Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Riding a motorcycle can be equal parts risk and reward. If you put safety first as a motorcyclist, you can drastically reduce your risk of an accident and serious bodily injuries. Safety first means wearing a helmet and protective gear whether or not the law in your state requires you to do so. Helmets are the number one way to prevent serious and fatal head and brain injuries in motorcycle accidents. However, they are not a legal requirement for riders or passengers over the age of 18 in Colorado. Learn more about the motorcycle helmet laws in Colorado from our Aurora motorcycle accident lawyers.

Colorado Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Colorado currently does not require adult motorcyclists or their adult passengers to wear helmets. Anyone over the age of 18 on a motorcycle is free to either wear a helmet or not wear one, without facing legal repercussions or a traffic citation. If a rider or passenger is 17 and under, however, he or she must wear a DOT (Department of Transportation) approved safety helmet. These are helmets that have been safety-tested and approved by the DOT after rigorous testing. When purchasing a motorcycle helmet, look for one with the DOT sticker.

Many states only require motorcycle helmets for those who do not have a certain level of personal injury liability insurance, but Colorado is not one of them. Motorcycle helmets are not required for those 18 and older, regardless of their insurance limits. However, all riders and passengers must wear adequate eye protection. Helmets are also not a legal requirement for bicyclists in Colorado, regardless of age. No one is legally required to wear a bike helmet in Colorado.

Why You Should Always Wear a Helmet

You might not get ticketed for riding a motorcycle without a helmet in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear one. Helmets are often the only thing that stands between a motorcyclist and a fatal traumatic brain injury in an accident. Without a helmet, there is no protection for the head and brain – potentially resulting in significant or permanent injuries. The following statistics emphasize the importance of motorcycle helmets in accidents:

  • Traumatic brain injuries were the cause of death in over 64,000 cases in the U.S. in 2020 – about 176 deaths per day.
  • Helmets reduce the risk of head injuries in a motorcycle accident by 69 percent. They also reduce the risk of death by 37 percent for riders and 41 percent for passengers.
  • Motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,872 lives in a single year – and would have saved around 750 more had all motorcyclists worn them.

Our experienced motorcycle accident lawyers in Denver understand that even the safest, most seasoned motorcyclist cannot control the actions of other drivers or prevent every collision. Motorists are often guilty of texting and driving, inattention, failing to notice motorcyclists, and reckless driving. Wearing a helmet minimizes the odds of a serious injury to your skull, brain, face, teeth and neck should you get involved in a motorcycle accident.

Will Not Wearing a Helmet Affect Your Personal Injury Claim?

Yes, it is possible that failing to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle will negatively impact your injury claim. If you were legally required to wear a helmet as a minor on a motorcycle, the defendant could use your negligent failure to do so against you as a reason to deny or reduce liability for a related injury. The defendant must prove, however, that your injuries most likely would not have occurred had you been wearing a helmet. 

If the law did not require your use of a motorcycle helmet, your failure to wear one generally cannot be used against you during a personal injury claim in Colorado. If you need assistance proving a driver’s fault for your recent motorcycle wreck – or deflecting a defense based on Colorado’s helmet law – consult with an attorney near you. The Denver personal injury lawyers at Manning Law offer free initial consultations to potential clients in Denver. Contact us to request yours today.