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Colorado Motorcycle Laws You Might Not Know

February 8, 2018
Motorcycles Tips

Before hitting Colorado’s roads on your motorcycle, it’s important to know all of the rules and regulations required in order to ride and prevent motorcycle accidents. You may be a seasoned motorcyclist, but do you remember all those little laws you had to learn for your Colorado motorcycle endorsement? Even seasoned drivers forget Colorado’s driving laws because our actions become second nature. Maybe you need a little refresher on Colorado motorcycle laws.

Why don’t you grab a few biker friends and ask them the following questions? I’ll reveal the answers later in this article.

  • Are motorcyclists required to wear eye protection on Colorado’s roads?
  • Are motorcyclists required to use their headlights while riding during the day?
  • Are Colorado motorcyclists required to have side-view mirrors on their bikes?
  • Does the state of Colorado require mufflers on motorcycles?
  • Does the state of Colorado require motorcycle riders to wear helmets?
  • If I’m licensed to drive in Colorado and I’m over 18, do I need a special license to ride a motorcycle?
  • If I’m under 18 and I have a motorcycle permit, can I ride on my own?
  • Is lane splitting legal for Colorado motorcyclists?
  • Can two motorcyclists ride side-by-side in a traffic lane?
  • Are there special requirements for carrying a passenger on a motorcycle?
  • Can a police officer legally pull me over just to inspect the road-readiness of my bike?
  • Can I take my five-year-old daughter on a motorcycle ride with me?

Here are a few Colorado motorcycle laws regarding proper equipment usage, licensing, noise limits and riding requirements that you might not be aware of.

While it’s legal to ride without a helmet if you’re over 18 years old, we highly recommended that riders wear one.

Colorado Motorcycle Equipment Laws

  • Motorcycle Safety GearEye Protection: When riding a motorcycle on an interstate, highway or other “main road,” the rider is required by law to wear some sort of eye protection—whether it’s in the form of a visor that goes onto the helmet or goggles.
  • Headlights and Taillights: Riders are allowed to use their headlights during the day, but they don’t have to. However, they are required to be turned on at night, and it has to be a white light that projects 500 feet in front of the bike. Taillights are also required after sunset.
  • Mirrors: When driving on main roads, it’s required to have at least one side-view mirror on the bike—one on the left side, the right side, or both.
  • Mufflers: Mufflers are required on your bike if you’re planning on riding it on interstates, highways or other main thoroughfares in Colorado.
  • Helmets: While it’s not illegal to ride without a helmet if you’re over 18 years old, it’s still highly recommended that riders wear one that has a hard outer shell, vent, comfort liner, an impact-absorbing liner, a retention system and a visor.

Finally, it is legal for police officers to perform periodic safety inspections at random on your motorcycle. Make sure you always keep your bike in proper working order.

Colorado Motorcycle Licenses

If you’re over 18, have a registered driver’s license and are planning on riding a motorcycle, you still need a motorcycle endorsement to legally ride in Colorado. There are two ways to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on your license:

Motorcycle Training Class

  • Pass a written motorcycle test
  • Purchase a motorcycle instruction permit
  • Schedule and pass a motorcycle drive skills test
  • Purchase a new driver’s licence to add the motorcycle endorsement at a driver’s license office
  • Complete a Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) course
  • Present your MOST license waiver card in a driver’s license office and purchase a new driver’s license to add the motorcycle endorsement

If you’re under the age of 18, there are a few more requirements you must complete before receiving a permit, in addition to the requirements above:

  • Your parent or guardian must sign an “Affidavit of Liability and Guardianship.”
  • You must have your 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

In addition to those requirements, motorcycle riders under 18 years of age 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. If you’re younger than 16 years old, you can only ride under the supervision of a Motorcycle Safety Foundation motorcycle instructor.

Colorado Motorcycle Noise Limits

If you’re planning on cruising on your bike while blasting your favorite tunes, there are a few rules and regulations that must be considered before doing so, and it depends on when your motorcycle was made. According to AAA, Colorado law states that any motorcycle manufactured on or after July 1, 1971, and before January 1, 1973 may not exceed a noise level of 88 dBA at 50 feet. Any motorcycle manufactured on or after January 1, 1973 may not exceed 86 dBA. And again, remember that mufflers are required.

Colorado Motorcycle Road Laws

Most automobile driving laws are similar for motorcyclists; however, there are a few exceptions that pertain only to motorcycles, as cars couldn’t physically perform these actions due to size.

  • Traffic Lane Use: Lane splitting is illegal in Colorado. The rule states that motorcyclists “shall not overtake or pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle overtaken.” In other words, riders cannot ride in the middle of two lanes on highways or other roadways—such as in between other vehicles when trying to pass them. However, if two riders want to cruise in the same lane side-by-side, they can do so because they are “entitled to full use of a traffic lane.”
  • Passengers: If you have a passenger cruising with you, you must have them ride in a sidecar or an enclosed cab, or have a proper seat and footrests for them on the back of the bike. This ensures they’re stable when holding on tight while riding. There are no age restrictions for passengers riding on the motorcycle, however.

If you have any questions about this article, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer in Denver today. Contact us by phone at (303) 388-5304 or fill out our online contact form.

Related articles:

How to Build a Motorcycle First Aid Kit — Use this guide to create a kit that could help rescue an injured rider.

Medical Billing Fraud & Improper Billing Practices — Don’t get victimized (again) at the hospital if you’re not at fault in an accident. Hospitals are getting sneaky about ways to get even more money from traffic accidents.

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