As a longtime supporter and board member of BikerDown.org, I am fortunate enough to meet many serious Colorado motorcyclists. I attend Look Twice rides, biker rallies and I even sponsor events like the Pikes Peak Bike Week.
At nearly every gathering, I’m asked questions about Colorado’s motorcycle endorsements and laws. So, I thought I’d do a roundup list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that Colorado bikers often ask me.
FAQ 1. What is the Difference Between a Motorcycle Endorsement and a Motorcycle License?
In a nutshell: nothing. It just depends on the state where you’re riding. In Colorado, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues a motorcycle endorsement to your existing driving license rather than a separate motorcycle license. Therefore, you need a Colorado driver’s license to ride a motorcycle in this state.
FAQ 2. How Can I Get a Colorado Motorcycle Endorsement?
According to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, you may add a motorcycle endorsement to your license in one of two ways:
- Pass the motorcycle written exam
- Purchase a motorcycle instruction permit
- Schedule and pass a motorcycle drive skills test
- Purchase a new driver’s license to add the motorcycle endorsement
- Complete a Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) course (See below for more on how and where to do this)
- Present your original MOST license waiver card in a driver’s license office and purchase a new driver’s license to add the motorcycle endorsement
Note: You can’t add a motorcycle endorsement by mail, online or over the phone.
FAQ 3. What is the Penalty for Riding Without a Colorado Motorcycle Endorsement?
It is illegal to operate a motorcycle in the state of Colorado without an endorsement. If you’re caught, you’ll get a ticket. The charge may include 4 points on your license, 40 hours of public service, a mandatory fine, and court costs. Don’t risk it!
FAQ 4. What Are the Age Requirements for Riding a Motorcycle in Colorado?
If you’re under the age of 18 and you want to ride a motorcycle, you need to accomplish the following tasks:
- Submit an “Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship” signed by a guardian
- Possess a motorcycle riding permit for an entire year before becoming eligible for a motorcycle endorsement (the “M” on your driver’s license)
- If you are between 15 and 16 years old, you must complete a “Motorcycle Operator Skills Training” (MOST) program (See information about motorcycle classes below)
- Must be at least 16 years old in order to receive the official “M” endorsement for your license
In addition to those requirements, motorcycle riders under age 18 can only ride under the supervision of an adult who is at least 21 years old and has a motorcycle-endorsed driver’s license—and that adult has to have permission from the minor’s parent or guardian.
In Colorado, you must have both an endorsement and insurance before riding your motorcycle.
FAQ 5. What Happens if I Get Pulled Over and I Don’t Have Insurance for My Motorcycle?
In Colorado, you must have both an endorsement and insurance before riding your motorcycle. If you are caught riding without insurance, you could face the following penalties:
- $500 fine (minimum)
- Four points on your driving record
- Possible suspension of your license
- $1,000 fine (minimum)
- Four-month suspension of your license
- $1,000 fine (minimum)
- Community service
- Eight-month suspension of your license
I also want to note, as a personal injury attorney who has seen a lot of motorcycle accident injuries, you should never ride without insurance. I’ve written extensively about this topic and will share some links with you. At a minimum, you should have $250,000 of Underinsured Motorist Coverage, because you can’t depend on the driver who hits you to have enough insurance to cover your injuries and losses.
Please also read these articles:
- Do I Need Underinsured Motorist Coverage if I Have Collision Insurance?
- Why You Need Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage Today
- Do You Have the Right Accident Insurance to Protect Your Family?
FAQ 6. Where Can I Take Motorcycle Riding Classes?
As you’ve read above, in order to receive a motorcycle endorsement on your Colorado driver’s license, you will most likely have to take a “Motorcycle Operator Skills Training” class. The state of Colorado provides a handy list of MOST-certified instructors, organized by geographic region.
Clearly, you have a lot of motorcycle riding schools to choose from. So, how do you choose?
A few years ago, I met the owner of the Motorcycle Training Academy and the Driver Training Academy, Dave Tolbert. What impressed me the most about Dave was that he got into the business of training riders and drivers because he cares very deeply about keeping people safe. He says that his business is a vocation for him, a calling.
A driving instructor on his team expressed the same passion. Chuck Shaw, a senior coach with the Academy, told me, “Most of us who work at the Academy also have full-time positions elsewhere involving safety for our community. Many of us are active duty or retired military. Working at the Academy is a vocation for us. We want to keep the community safe.”
If you’re going to put your future safety (or your child’s future safety) into the hands of a driving or motorcycle riding school, make sure that their interests are in the right place. They need to care as much as Dave and his team do about keeping people safe.
OK! Those are all of the Frequently Asked Questions that I can remember hearing from motorcycle riders recently. If you have another one, call me at (303) 388-5304.