Resources for Colorado Motorcyclists on State Laws

The Rosen News TeamFeb 6, 2020

Wearing proper safety gear and acquiring the necessary endorsement are just some of the regulations aimed at preventing Colorado motorcycle accidents and injuries.

Understanding regulations aimed at riders can help prevent accidents and reduce injuries.

Before hitting the roads of Colorado on your motorcycle, you must know the rules of the road. Riders of motorcycles must observe the same traffic laws that apply to other motor vehicles. From wearing proper safety gear to acquiring necessary training, regulations concerning riders are aimed at preventing Colorado motorcycle accidents and their resulting injuries.

Addition of Motorcycle Endorsements

No separate license is issued for motorcyclists. To drive a motorcycle legally, Colorado riders must possess a valid state driver’s license in order to apply for and add what is called a motorcycle endorsement to that license. Colorado recognizes two types of motorcycle endorsements: the “M” endorsement, which allows you to drive both two-wheel and three-wheel motorcycles, and the “3” endorsement, which allows you to drive only three-wheel motorcycles.

You can obtain a Colorado motorcycle endorsement in two ways.

  • Pass a written exam, buy a motorcycle permit, pass the motorcycle drivers skills test, and buy a new driver’s license to add the motorcycle endorsement.
  • Successfully complete a Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) course, present the original MOST card to the nearest driver’s license office, and buy a new driver’s license to add the motorcycle endorsement.

Colorado also accepts motorcycle endorsements from other states. But the state does not accept out-of-state Motorcycle Safety Foundation cards except those acquired on a military base with a valid military ID.

Required Insurance Coverage

Like all Colorado motorists, riders are required to carry minimum liability insurance that complies with the state’s financial responsibility law. The insurance must include minimums of $25,000 of coverage per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $15,000 per accident for property damage.

The cost of motorcycle insurance in Colorado depends on the type of motorcycle you are insuring; your age, occupation, riding experience, and driving history; your credit score and any history of claims; and whether you qualify for any policy discounts.

Colorado Motorcycle Laws Every Rider Needs to Know

Colorado riders must obey a number of traffic laws specific to riding a motorcycle. Riders cannot attach one motorcycle to another vehicle (towing). Colorado law requires motorcycles to have one mirror, as well as a muffler, and the state also has noise restrictions in place for motorcycles. Colorado has no restrictions regarding passenger age, helmet speakers, turn signals, and handlebars.

Additional laws every rider should be aware of include:

Red Lights. Motorcyclists are often stuck at red lights because of sensors that fail to detect their presence, so Colorado motorcyclists are now allowed to proceed through “dead red lights” after waiting two minutes and ensuring that traffic has cleared.

Passing Vehicles. Although a motorcyclist may legally share a lane with another rider, he may not pass or overtake a vehicle traveling in the same lane.

Lane Splitting. Lane splitting — i.e., operating a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic — is illegal in Colorado.

Motorcycle Passengers. Colorado law requires passengers to ride on the seat behind the motorcycle driver or in a sidecar, never in front of the driver. Motorcycles must be equipped with footrests for passengers, and passengers are required to use them.

Safety Gear. Colorado does not require adult motorcyclists to wear helmets while riding. But all operators and passengers under 18 must wear DOT-approved motorcycle helmets.

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