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Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating hobby, but like many exciting hobbies, motorcycle riding comes with potential dangers. Motorcycle riders are at risk for more serious injuries than passengers in cars are because they have less physical protection than when driving or riding inside a car.
The motorcycle helmet laws in Colorado are meant to protect the rider, and it is in your best interest to become familiar with them. Unfortunately, even by following the appropriate motorcycle laws and wearing a helmet, accidents and injuries can still happen.
If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, call our motorcycle accident injury attorneys in Colorado at (800) 863-5312. At Zinda Law Group, we offer 100% free case evaluations, and you won’t be expected to pay us a dime unless we win your case for you.
colorado motorcycle laws
Motorcycle riders must obey the same traffic laws as any other motor vehicle driver on the road. Motorcycle laws vary from state to state, so it is important to know the law where you ride. In Colorado, certain laws are in place to ensure motorcyclists ride safely; the following are the minimum safety standards for riding motorcycles in Colorado:
- Helmets are not required for riders aged 18 and over.
- Eye protection is required for all riders and passengers.
- Motorcycles must be equipped with footrests for passengers, and passengers must utilize them.
- Passengers must ride behind the driver or in a side car.
- Passing a vehicle in the same lane is illegal.
- Motorcycles may “co-ride” with one other motorcycle in a single lane.
- You cannot attach your motorcycle to another vehicle or grab hold of another vehicle while riding.
Helmet laws in colorado
Helmets have been proven to save the lives of motorcycle riders. However, a rider aged 18 and over is not required to wear a helmet in Colorado. If the motorcycle rider is under 18 or carries a passenger under 18, then a helmet is required and must be DOT-approved.
DOT stands for the United States Department of Transportation; the DOT requires that all helmets sold in the United States meet a minimum safety level of performance as determined by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. A helmet that is DOT approved will have a symbol on the outside back of the helmet indicating that the helmet meets federal motor vehicle safety guidelines. DOT-compliant helmets sold in the United States must have a label on the back that states the manufacturer or brand of the helmet, the model designation, the letters “DOT,” and “FMVSS No. 218, Certified,” citing the federal law.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers the following suggestions when looking for a proper-fitting helmet:
Choosing the Right Shape
Every person’s head is shaped slightly differently, so helmets come in varying shapes and styles to be able to accommodate every rider. Helmets can be made in several shapes from round oval, intermediate oval (the most common), and long oval. Use a mirror or have someone look at your head from the top and tell you what shape they see; remember to focus on the shape of your head and not the shape of your face.
Try on the helmet and be sure to pay attention to any pressure points. This is a sign that the helmet is not fitting properly. Wear the helmet for about 30 to 45 minutes to check for pressure points before purchasing the helmet and using it on a ride.
Choosing the Right Size
Measure your head using a cloth measuring tape so that it is easy to fit around your head. Start just above your eyebrows and circle the tape around to the thickest point at the back of your head. Use this measurement when looking at a helmet sizing chart.
A correctly sized helmet will be snug, but should not cause pressure points and should not move when you shake your head. A helmet that is too loose will move around or not settle completely on your head. Some helmets have liners and cheek pads inside that can be further adjusted to provide a good fit.
Other Features to Check For
Helmets meeting the minimum federal safety standard will have a one-inch-thick inner liner made of a firm polystyrene foam; unsafe helmets will have no padding or only a soft foam padding. Helmets that meet the minimum safety guidelines will also weigh about three pounds. Unsafe helmets will only weigh one pound or less.
Novelty helmets usually do not meet safety standards; a novelty helmet will do little to protect you in the event of a crash. Be wary of fake DOT labels that are put on unsafe helmets. Also be suspicious of helmets that advertise them as “thin” or “lightweight” as these helmets may not be DOT-approved.
Motorcyclists must follow the same traffic laws as any other driver on the road, with a few exceptions. In order to keep motorcycle riders and everyone else on the road safe, it is important to share the road and to be alert of other drives and riders around you. Colorado’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) reminds drivers to be more aware of motorcycles and to always look twice to prevent accidents with motorcyclists.
Obtain the Appropriate License
A motorcycle accident can happen if a rider is not experienced enough to ride. Colorado law requires that a motorcycle rider have a valid Colorado driver’s license as well as a motorcycle endorsement in order to ride legally. A motorcyclist can obtain a motorcycle endorsement in one of two ways:
1.Pass a written motorcycle exam, purchase a motorcycle instruction permit, pass a skills test, and purchase a new driver’s license to add the motorcycle endorsement.
2.Complete a Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) course and present your MOST waiver to purchase a new driver’s license to add the motorcycle endorsement
Laws Pertaining to Changing Lanes
When changing lanes, motorcyclists should always be cautious and not assume that drivers of nearby vehicles can see them. Drivers on the road should always check their blind spot before changing lanes to be sure there is not a rider next to them, who could be hard to see. Drivers have an obligation to share the road with motorcyclists and should always look out for them.
Passing another vehicle within the same lane is illegal in Colorado. Lane sharing with an automobile or “splitting lanes,” riding between two lanes of traffic, is illegal. Motorcycles may only share a lane with another motorcycle.
common motorcycle injuries
Motorcycle riders are at risk for even more serious injuries and death than drivers of cars. According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than a car passenger. In 2020, there were 100 motorcycle fatalities in Colorado.
Motorcyclists do not have the same protections as passengers in cars. While helmets are not required for riders aged 18 and over, it is important to wear one anyway; a helmet may be the only safety equipment a motorcyclist has, so it is up to the motorcyclist to dress appropriately for their ride to prevent external injuries.
Common motorcycle injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Facial fractures
- Head and neck injuries
- Injuries to organs
- Limb amputation
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Wrongful death
potential compensation for a motorcycle accident
In a motorcycle accident, there may be severe injuries as well as property damage to your motorcycle. Some of your injuries may require surgery or months of rehabilitation; some injuries may even be permanent or long-lasting. All of these details will factor into how much recovery is possible after a motorcycle accident.
If your injuries were caused by someone else, your type of case is referred to as a personal injury case. Personal injury cases usually rely on a legal theory called negligence to prove damages. In order to be successful in a claim for damages, you must show that the person who injured you owed you a duty of care, that duty was breached, and because of that breach, you suffered damages.
Any costs associated with your injuries have the potential to be recovered; this incudes medical bills, physical rehabilitation, surgeries, prescription medications, and any follow-up care. Any assistive medical devices such as wheelchairs or modifying your home to be wheelchair accessible may also be recoverable. Past and future harm will be calculated to determine the most accurate compensation.
Not only can physical injuries be recoverable, but compensation for mental and emotional harm can be recovered as well. This includes any pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or any PTSD symptoms or therapy sessions to cope with your injuries. Contact one of our experienced motorcycle attorneys today to begin assessing your damages.
Get Help from motorcycle accident injury attorneys
At Zinda Law Group, we can help you find the best motorcycle accident lawyer in Colorado, one who is near you, as we are experienced and our firm has handled many cases involving victims of motorcycle accidents. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our Colorado motorcycle accident lawyers near you. You will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.