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Motorcyclists are at increased risk for injury or death in an auto accident. There were more than 5,000 such fatalities in 2017 alone according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. In Colorado, motorcycle laws from the state Department of Transportation strive to lower these risks and keep riders safe.

Before buying a new bike, review these Colorado motorcycle safety regulations.

General traffic laws

 Motorcycle riders must follow the same traffic laws as other Colorado drivers. However, certain laws apply specifically to bikes:

  • Do not pass a car in the same lane.
  • Do not share a lane with a car.
  • You can share a lane only with one other motorcycle.
  • Do not attach your motorcycle to another bike or to a car.

To operate a motorcycle, you must obtain an M endorsement on your Colorado driver’s license. You must be at least 16 years old, pass a skills test on your two-wheeled or three-wheeled bike and pass a written exam from the DOT. Like all drivers, you must carry proof of motorcycle insurance when operating your bike.

Mandated gear

 Although helmets saved nearly 1,900 lives in 2016 according to the NHTSA, Colorado does not require helmets for motorcycle riders older than 18. However, all riders must wear eye protection in the form of a helmet visor or goggles made from safety glass. If you are traveling with a passenger younger than 18, he or she must wear a properly fitted DOT-approved helmet.

Passenger regulations

 Only motorcycles outfitted with separate passenger footrests can carry passengers. Each person on the bike must use his or her footrests. Passengers can only sit next to or behind the driver, never in the front of the bike.

Following these safety laws can significantly reduce your risk of injury in a motorcycle crash. If you suffer an injury because of the actions of another driver, you may be eligible for a personal injury claim.