Colorado Motorcycle Laws and Awareness

August 8, 2017

Colorado Springs

(719) 309-3000

Grand Junction

(970) 287-1173

Riding a motorcycle in the state of Colorado offers various terrain and breathtaking views of the Rocky mountains but motorcyclists must follow all Colorado motor vehicle traffic laws, with a few exceptions. Below we outline the minimal safety measures required by motorcycle laws established in Colorado. For those who need an in-depth explanation of the motorcycle laws, you can download the handbook below. For those who have suffered motorcycle accident injuries, please contact us today.

Download the CO Motorcycle Law Hand Book


Motorcycle Laws in Colorado


  • The “M” motorcycle endorsement allows someone to drive both two – and – three-wheel motorcycles.
  • The “3” endorsement allows for the operation of only three-wheel motorcycles or otherwise known as tricycles.


  • Riders aged 18 and over are not required to wear helmets.
  • If the motorcycle operator or passenger is under the age of 18, they must wear DOT-approved helmets.

In States without an all-rider helmet law, 59% of the motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets, as opposed to only 8% in states with all-rider helmet laws in 2013.*
*Traffic Safety Facts. Data: Motorcycles, NHTSA, May 2015, DOT HS 812 148

Eye Protection

  • Eye protection is legally required for all riders, drivers, and passengers.
  • A visor, goggles, or sunglasses with lenses made from safety glass or plastic are acceptable (A windshield is not considered eye protection).


  • It is legally required to have at least one side-view mirror on the bike.

Mufflers / Noise Levels

  • Required by law to limit noise levels.
  • 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.

Safety Inspections

  • It is legal for law enforcement to perform periodic safety inspections at random on your motorcycle.


  • Footrests: Motorcycles must be equipped with footrests and passengers must utilize them.Riding Position: Passengers must ride on the seat behind the driver or to the side (side-car). Not in the front.

Traffic Laws

  • Passing or overtaking: Passing or overtaking a vehicle in the same lane is illegal. No lane sharing or splitting with cars. However, motorcycles can share a lane or ‘co-ride’ with another motorcycle.
  • Clinging: As a rider, you can not attach your motorcycle to another motor vehicle.

Motorcycle Awareness 


Watch Out For Motorcycles

  • Constantly search the traffic around you and expect to see motorcycles nearby.
  • Observe your blind spots before merging or switching lanes, especially during heavy traffic.
  • Come to a complete stop at intersections before you turn or pull out.
  • Motorcyclists can be hidden behind large motor vehicles in traffic. Look for helmets, two tires below, or a shadow.

Allow a Two-Second “Safety Buffer” Behind a Motorcyclist

  • Select a fixed object ahead of you. When the motorcycle passes the object, count off two seconds. If you haven’t passed the same object after two seconds, your trailing distance is sufficient.
  • If the driving conditions are poor, traveling at higher speeds and at night, increase the “safety buffer” zone to four or five seconds.

Caution On Left Turns

  • Most accidents between automobiles and motorcycles involve left turns at an intersection. Take a second look for motorcycles when preparing to cross traffic or turn left.
  • Since motorcycles are smaller than automobiles, it is more difficult to recognize them and their speed in traffic.
  • These accidents account for 42% of all collisions involving a motorcycle and an automobile.

Anticipate Hazards For the Motorcyclist

  • Rough road conditions, precipitating weather, flying debris, oil slicks, and heavy traffic increases the risks for a motorcyclist.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and received personal injuries due to the accident, please contact a Ramos Law motorcycle attorney to get you the representation you deserve today.