Whether you’re riding your motorcycle through the beautiful mountains of our state or you’re simply cruising along downtown Fort Collins, there’s nothing quite like the freedom a motorcycle provides you. Motorcycles allow you to feel something completely different than any other mode of transportation does — but they can also be one of the most dangerous modes of transportation.
In fact, motorcycle deaths are on the rise in Colorado. In 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 125 motorcyclist fatalities in Colorado; 34% were wearing helmets and 66% were not. While we sincerely hope you’re never in a serious motorcycle accident and need an accident attorney for your case, the time may, unfortunately, come. As avid motorcyclists ourselves, we understand what it’s like to be on the road as a motorcyclist. We’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what the accident and subsequent injuries may have been like for you, and our team of motorcycle accident lawyers will be there to help you get the compensation you deserve. Many injuries can arise from motorcycle accidents, and insurance companies consistently try to get out of providing you with fair compensation. As motorcycle accident lawyers and as motorcyclists, we see how unfair this is and work tirelessly to help you get compensation.
Here in Colorado, we work with clients throughout Fort Collins, Denver Metro, Golden, and Colorado Springs. Don’t prolong your recovery or medical bills any longer than necessary — contact Metier Law Firm today to schedule a risk-free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Colorado. In today’s blog, we’re going to cover motorcycle laws in Colorado, along with safety tips from the Colorado Motorcycle Operator’s Handbook. Even if you weren’t following everything on this list, a motorcycle accident lawyer may still be able to help you reach a settlement.
It’s perfectly legal to have a passenger on your motorcycle, but here are some laws you must keep in mind:
Bikes must be equipped with footrests for passengers, and passengers must utilize them. In the long run, this will make the ride much safer and more comfortable for your passenger.
Secondly, a passenger may not ride in front of the motorcycle driver. Instead, passengers are legally required to ride on the seat behind the driver or the to side in a sidecar. Again, this will make the ride much more comfortable for each of you — and incredibly safer.
As motorcycle accident lawyers and motorcyclists, we cannot stress this enough: wear protective gear!
Within the state of Colorado, a form of eye protection is legally required for all riders (both drivers and passengers). Although the best form of eye protection is a visor from a helmet, eyeglasses (with lenses made from safety glass or plastic) or goggles are also permitted.
Note: Windshields do not qualify as eye protection.
Helmets are one of the first things motorcyclists and non-motorcyclists will think of when asked about riding laws. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: helmets save lives.
Colorado law requires all riders and passengers under the age of 18 to wear DOT-approved helmets; however, riders 18 and older are not required to wear helmets. Remember, though: helmets save lives. The majority of fatally injured motorcycle riders aren’t wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
Motorcyclists must obey the same traffic laws as other vehicles on the road. That being said, there are a few traffic laws that are unique to motorcyclists. Again, you may still be eligible for compensation even if you’ve broken one of these laws — just make sure to be open and honest with your motorcycle accident lawyer from the beginning.
Attaching your motorcycle to another vehicle (grabbing onto or towing another motorcycle or vehicle) is illegal in Colorado.
Passing or Overtaking
If you’re in the same lane as another vehicle, then you are not legally allowed to pass or overtake said vehicle in the same lane. You are also not allowed to share a lane with another car; however, you are legally allowed to share a lane with one other motorcycle.
Note: Lane splitting is illegal in Colorado.
Tips for Safety From the Colorado Motorcycle Operator’s Handbook
- Prepare to Ride – You should wear the appropriate gear (approved helmet, face or eye protection, and protective clothing), check your motorcycle equipment (tires, fluids, lights, signals, clutch and throttle, mirrors, brakes, and horn), and become familiar with your motorcycle. “Over half the motorcycle accidents occur to riders with less than six months experience on the cycle,” the handbook says.
- Control for Safety – Practice and pay attention to body position and posture, turning (remember: slow, look, lean, roll), braking, and shifting gears.
See and Be Seen – You’ll be much safer and reduce the chance of needing a motorcycle accident lawyer if other drivers on the road can see you. Be aware of your clothing, headlight and brake light, and signals. Additionally, use your mirrors, do head checks, and be ready to use your horn.
- Lane Position – Someone driving a car doesn’t have much control over where they are in a lane — you do. Be especially aware of this on curves or when you’re roadside.
- Keep Your Distance – You essentially want a cushion of space all around your motorcycle. Control the distance in front, behind, and to the side as much as possible. Distance to the side is especially important when passing, being passed, passing parked cars, with lane sharers, or when cars are merging.
- SIPDE – SIPDE stands for Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute. As both motorcyclists and motorcycle accident lawyers, we recommend this strategy for safety. Scan involves looking for hazards; Identify refers to locating hazards and potential conflicts; Predict means to predict what might occur; Decide refers to deciding when, where, and how to act based off the potential hazards; and Execute means to go through with the plan if danger arises.
- Dangerous Surfaces – Look out for slippery surfaces (such as mud, snow, ice, lane markings, wet pavement, gravel roads, etc.) or uneven surfaces and obstacles (such as railroad tracks or grooves and gratings). Use your best judgment to reduce speed, avoid sudden moves, and use both brakes in these situations.
- Riding at Night – Although the majority of crashes occur in the daylight, riding at night presents its own challenges. It’s important to reduce your speed, increase distance, use your high beam, use the lights of the car ahead of you, and be flexible about lane position.
- Collision Avoidance – Know when to stop and when to swerve in order to avoid collision with another vehicle or an object. Practice quick stops, swerving or turning quickly, and riding a curve.
- Mechanical Problems – You don’t want tire failure, a stuck throttle, wobble, chain problems, or engine seizure. However, it’s possible that any of these problems — and others — could occur. Learn what to do with each and become comfortable with the process.
- Special Situations – According to the Colorado Motorcycle Operator’s Handbook, special situations could include flying objects, animals, or getting off the road safely when needed.
- Carrying Passengers and Cargo – Any motorcycle accident lawyer or road official will tell you that you shouldn’t carry passengers unless you’re experienced. Additionally, make sure the passenger has a proper seat, footrests, and protective gear. Instruct them on how to behave while riding the motorcycle with you. As far as cargo is concerned, keep the load low, forward, and even; secure the load; and check to the load often to make sure it remains secure.
- Group Riding – Whether you’re attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally or you’re simply taking a trip with friends, remember to keep the group small, plan ahead, place beginners in the front, make sure everyone knows the route, and to keep your distance.
- Your Motorcycle – Finally, know your motorcycle. There are enough risks out there that could lead to you needing a motorcycle accident lawyer — don’t let your motorcycle be one of them. Follow all of these tips for motorcycle safety, make sure your gear is in good condition, and make sure everything fits correctly.
Work With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Colorado
We hope nothing ever stops you from enjoying your motorcycle. However, we’d be naive to not recognize that accidents happen. As motorcycle accident lawyers in Colorado, and as motorcyclists, we’ve seen our fair share of accidents and motorcycle injuries. If you’ve been the victim, then you may need a motorcycle accident attorney on your side.
Here at Metier Law Firm, all of our clients get started with a risk-free consultation. This will help you determine if you do, in fact, have a case, it will cost you nothing, and you’re under no obligation to work with our motorcycle accident lawyers afterward. We know how physically, emotionally, and financially debilitating a motorcycle injury can be — let our motorcycle injury lawyers help. We have the experience and commitment you’re looking for in a motorcycle accident lawyer. We help clients throughout Fort Collins, Denver Metro, Golden, and Colorado Springs, so contact us today to get started.