If you ride a motorcycle in Colorado, it is imperative to know and obey the laws that apply to you. These laws are in place for your own safety and protection. Violating them can increase your risk of getting into a motorcycle accident. Increasing your knowledge of Colorado’s motorcycle laws can also help you determine if a driver or another party has infringed upon your rights after a crash – giving you the option of filing a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. A Denver or Thornton motorcycle accident lawyer can help you navigate the process.
Motorcyclists are subject to most of the same traffic laws and roadway regulations as standard motor vehicle drivers in Colorado. They are not immune to rules such as speed limits, rights-of-way, stop signs or stop lights. They must change lanes and pass other drivers safely and with respect to Colorado’s related traffic rules. Motorcyclists can receive traffic infractions for breaking these laws just like motor vehicle drivers.
Motorcyclists also have the same rights as other road users. They have the right to take up their own lane and the right not to be crowded or cut off by larger vehicles. If a driver violates a motorcyclist’s right to the road, he or she can be held responsible for a related traffic accident. For example, if a driver merges on top of a motorcyclist, the driver will be responsible for a related sideswipe accident, rear-end collision or no-contact crash.
Motorcyclists cannot lane split in Colorado. Lane splitting refers to a motorcyclist riding on the line between two lanes of same-direction traffic. California was the first state to legalize lane splitting, followed by several others, but Colorado has not followed suit. It is against the law for a motorcyclist to share a lane with a passenger car or another vehicle, as well as to pass a vehicle in the same lane. Motorcyclists can ride two abreast with one another in the same lane, however.
Passengers are only allowed on motorcycles that are designed to carry two or more people, such as a motorcycle with a rear seat or sidecar. A motorcycle passenger cannot ride in front of the operator. There is no minimum age limit for motorcycle passengers, but they must be tall enough to reach the designated passenger footrests. Motorcyclists should never carry a passenger in a way that interferes with their ability to control the motorcycle.
Motorcycle helmets are only required for riders and passengers under the age of 18 in Colorado. For any motorcycle operator or passenger who is 18 or older, wearing a motorcycle helmet is optional. However, the State of Colorado strongly encourages helmet use by everyone, as helmets significantly reduce the risk of serious and fatal brain injuries in motorcycle accidents. Eye protection, such as goggles or visors, is required of all motorcycle riders and their passengers.
Colorado law requires all motorcycles to have at least one mirror, as well as a muffler. To be considered roadworthy, motorcycles must be properly maintained at all times, with working brakes and a headlamp if the rider plans on driving between dusk and dawn. There are no restrictions on handlebar heights, turn signals or helmet speakers in Colorado, however.
Before an individual can operate a motorcycle in Colorado, he or she must obtain the proper endorsement on his or her standard driver’s license. A motorcycle (“M”) endorsement can only be acquired by passing a written examination and an on-motorcycle skills test. Operating a motorcycle without the proper endorsement is against the law and can result in a traffic ticket or moving violation.
If you’ve recently been involved in a motorcycle accident in Colorado, contact Dormer Harpring for a free consultation. You may be eligible for financial compensation if a motor vehicle driver violated your rights or broke an applicable law.