What You Should Know About Colorado Motorcycle Laws

Colorado Motorcycle Laws

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

April 15, 2023

Motorcycle Laws in Colorado and Your Accident Claim

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) estimates that there are 12,231,000 motorcycles in the United States. While California has the most registered motorcycles, Colorado also has a large number on its roads. Motorcyclists must also abide by the regulations that regulate motorcycles operating in Colorado.

In Colorado, almost 600,000 motorcycles were registered in 2017. Given the state’s weather, this should come as no surprise. Motorcycle safety is critical since motorcycle accidents are responsible for a staggering number of deaths in Colorado each year. Motorcycle deaths on Colorado roads accounted for 15% of all traffic accident fatalities in 2016 and 2017.

Colorado is concerned about the safety of all motorcycle operators and passengers, and there are various Colorado motorcycle rules that you should be aware of before hitting the open road. Knowing the standards for safe motorcycle operating will help you stay safe on Colorado roads.

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Motorcycle Licensing Requirements in Colorado

In Colorado, everyone over the age of 16 has the legal right to ride a motorcycle if they meet all statutory conditions. Anyone who intends to operate a motorcycle in Colorado must have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license or a motorcycle-only designated license if the engine is larger than 50 ccs, regardless of whether the machine has two or three wheels.

Operators must first complete a Basic RiderCourse, or a Basic RiderCourse updated via a Colorado Rider Training Program-authorized Sponsor before receiving a motorcycle license or endorsement.

Operators must also have a valid Class E driver’s license or pass the Class E operator’s test. It should be noted that most operators from other states have complete reciprocity provided they hold a motorcycle operator’s license or endorsement in their home state.

Colorado Motorcycle Registration

After completing the required training and acquiring the appropriate endorsement for a motorcycle operator’s license, your motorcycle must be registered in Colorado before it may be lawfully used on Colorado roads.

When you buy a new motorcycle, the dealer will usually handle all of the registration paperwork for you. In the case of a private sale, trade, or gift, you must get the necessary documents from the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars and present a bill of sale to demonstrate that the motorcycle is lawfully yours.

A license plate and a registration sticker are required for all motorcycles. The license plate and sticker must be displayed on the back of the motorcycle so that law enforcement can identify you when driving on Colorado roads. Motorcycle registration stickers and license plates are only valid for a year from the date of issue and must be renewed annually.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Motorcycle owners in Colorado are not required to get insurance. While not having to pay an insurance premium may seem enticing, it is important to understand the potential consequences of not having coverage in the case of an accident.

Motorcycle operators who are judged to be at fault in an accident and do not have current coverage may be required to obtain insurance for three years after the event or risk losing their privilege to ride a motorcycle and having their registration revoked.

Furthermore, motorcycle owners may risk a civil judgment if they do not have bodily injury coverage or the required self-insurance endorsement.

Motorcycle Operators Must Have Required Equipment

All motorcycle operators in Colorado are required by law to wear authorized helmets and protective eyewear. There are exceptions to the helmet regulations for drivers over 21 who are insured by at least

$10,000 in medical coverage for injuries sustained in a motorcycle collision. Drivers and riders under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet at all times, and both drivers and riders are required to wear protective eye protection.

Motorcyclists in Colorado who are obliged to wear a helmet should get acquainted with Subpart B of the Federal Motor Car Safety Standards as they pertain to helmets since these are the minimum criteria for motorcycle helmets in Colorado.

Motorcycle Passenger Laws in Colorado

When it comes to carrying a passenger on a motorcycle in Colorado, the laws are fairly clear. For passenger safety, the motorcycle must be appropriately outfitted. A fastened seat built to support more than one person is acceptable, as is a secondary seat mounted to the motorcycle at the back or side.

Passengers must also have access to a decent footrest and seat forward-facing on the motorcycle. Passengers on a motorcycle may not ride “side-saddle.”

Motorcycle Lane Sharing According to Colorado Statutes

On Colorado highways, two motorcycles may use the same lane. More than two motorcycles are forbidden. Additional rules apply, such as not driving on any dividing lines, not trying to share the lane with another motor car, and avoiding passing by going in the same area as a car.

Much of this is an obvious sense, but riders should know the restrictions before riding their bikes on Colorado roads.

Motorcycle Accidents on Colorado Highways

Motorcycle operators who follow all applicable safety standards, respect traffic laws, and drive properly are not guaranteed to prevent an accident. Uneven road conditions, other drivers who may not detect a motorcycle in their blind zone, and inattentive drivers are potential road risks.

For numerous years, Colorado ranked top in the country for motorcycle deaths, and the number of injuries incurred by operators and passengers is quite high. Unfortunately, recent numbers are not available, but this pattern is quite likely to have persisted.

This is due, in part, to the increased number of motorcyclists on American roads. This trend has persisted for many years, with a rise of motorcycle operators of all ages and demographics.

Victims of Motorcycle Accidents Sustain Serious Injury

Motorcycle operators are more likely to sustain severe injuries in an accident than other cars because, despite increased safety equipment such as helmets, they have less protection than other cars. When thrown off their bike, accident victims may suffer road rash and more severe injuries if they are engaged in a collision. Some of the most frequent injuries suffered by motorcycle operators and passengers in accidents are as follows:

Road rash – You should not underestimate the severity of road rash following a motorcycle accident since there is often more to road rash than a few bumps and bruises. Road rash may be severe enough to expose underlying tissue or cause nerve damage, and it is easy to get infected following an accident.

Fractures and broken bones – Because motorcycle operators and passengers have no protection around them, they are more likely to sustain fractures or broken bones in a Colorado highway collision. One reason for this is that when a motorcycle is hit, it typically flips over and traps the driver or passenger beneath, resulting in significant injuries.

Head, neck, and back injuries – While protective helmets assist protect a rider’s head, just wearing one does not guarantee you are shielded from the possibility of significant head, neck, and back injuries in a motorcycle accident. A motorcycle collision is so severe that the helmet is forced off the operator’s or passenger’s head in certain situations.

Internal injuries — Internal injuries are more likely when a driver or passenger is thrown off a motorcycle during an accident. When thrown from a motorcycle, hitting a solid surface may cause internal bleeding and organ damage.

Even if you feel you are not hurt, you should seek emergency medical assistance if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. It is never a good idea to procrastinate visiting a doctor because you feel you only

have minor injuries; like with any accident, your body will experience an adrenaline spike, which may disguise an injury.

Motorcycle Accident Victims Must Exercise Extreme Caution

Motorcycle accident victims must use caution while interacting with law enforcement personnel, witnesses to the accident, and insurance adjusters. Answering what seems to be a harmless question may result in the loss of your capacity to receive compensation from an insurer for your injuries. Riders and passengers on motorcycles should avoid stating anything that implies they are to blame for the accident.

Provide as many facts about the accident as possible, but avoid elaborating on the specifics with your thoughts. You should also be cautious when asked basic questions like “how are you feeling?” since if it turns out you do have an injury, someone may tell the insurance adjuster you said you were “fine” right after the accident.

You should consider calling a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible following a motorcycle accident to discuss the situation and learn about your rights.

Victims of Motorcycle Accidents Should Seek Legal Counsel

The majority of Colorado road accident victims are unaware of their legal rights after an accident. Your insurance company will certainly try to get you to settle your claim as soon as possible following the accident. This may work OK if you just have a little injury and your bike has minimal damage, but you should not agree to a settlement too quickly if you have a significant accident.

Motorcycle accident victims who miss work, need surgery or require rehabilitation services to recuperate have the right to be compensated for their financial losses. When you accept an early settlement, you may wind up paying for many of your continuing bills out of pocket, or you may not get the entire amount of lost income to which you would be entitled if you filed a personal injury case instead.

Insurance Claims in the Event of a Motorcycle Accident

Any form of accident is a bodily and emotional shock. Anytime physical harm occurs in a traffic collision in Colorado, the accident must be reported to law authorities. While you must always submit a car accident claim with your insurance provider under Colorado law, the procedure for a motorcycle accident may be different.

Victims should claim with the insurance company of the liable motorist unless they have personal protection insurance (PIP), in which case they should file a claim with their own insurance company.

Motorcycle restrictions, when paired with Colorado’s specific insurance requirements, may be perplexing. Victims of motorcycle accidents should concentrate on their recovery rather than worrying about the financial consequences of the event.

Contacting a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident will assist reduce some of the uncertainty and help you understand what rights you have under Colorado personal injury statutes.

An expert Colorado motorcycle accident lawyer will examine their client’s unique case, study police records, get witness testimonies, and go through any essential facts concerning the accident with their client. Once the attorney has a thorough understanding of all the pertinent information, they may assist their client in determining the best course of action.

The lawyer may also negotiate with the insurance company on their client’s behalf to ensure that they receive the highest potential reimbursement in their specific instance. Although no attorney can guarantee the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit, having a motorcycle accident attorney on your side will almost always result in greater compensation.

After a motorcycle accident in Colorado, you must devote your time and efforts to healing from your injuries. Victims who sustained significant injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident on Colorado roads should consult with an experienced attorney who has a track record of success in dealing with motorcycle and other traffic accidents in Colorado. Contact a Colorado motorcycle accident lawyer now and let them assist you in determining the best course of action.

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