Helmets can be a controversial topic among motorcycle riders in Colorado. While most understand that helmets can prevent severe injury or save lives in the event of an accident, others believe wearing a helmet makes it harder to enjoy the open road. Regardless of how you feel about helmets, you should obey the law when riding in Colorado.
The Colorado motorcycle accident attorneys at Olson Law Firm, LLC, know how devastating motorcycle accidents can be. Even the most experienced rider will not always be able to account for the negligence of others. In a crash, wearing a helmet could make the difference between life and death.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Colorado, contact Olson Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation.
What Is the Colorado Motorcycle Helmet Law?
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, the basics of the state’s motorcycle helmet laws and other safety requirements are:
- Helmets are required for any riders or passengers under the age of 18. While the Department of Transportation encourages all riders to wear a helmet, they are not required for riders age 18 or over.
- All riders and passengers must use some form of eye protection while on a motorcycle, such as goggles or glasses. State regulations say that a motorcycle’s windshield does not qualify as sufficient eye protection.
- Motorcycles must be equipped with footrests for passengers, and passengers must use these footrests while riding.
- Lane-splitting, which is when a motorcycle rides between two lanes of slower traffic, is illegal in Colorado. However, two motorcycles can ride side-by-side and share a lane.
Why Should You Wear a Helmet?
Though helmets are not required for all riders in Colorado, it is a good idea to wear one anytime you ride. Motorcyclists are more exposed than people in cars or trucks, and they can easily be ejected from their bike in a crash. One of the most common severe injuries motorcyclists suffer in collisions is a traumatic brain injury. Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the chances of significant brain trauma.
Plenty of research shows the positive impact of motorcycle helmets in terms of lives saved. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that when accidents occur, riders who don’t wear helmets are 40 percent more likely to suffer fatal head injuries and 15 percent more likely to suffer nonfatal injuries than riders who wear helmets.
Do Motorcycle Passengers Have to Wear Helmets?
According to Colorado law, motorcycle passengers are subject to the same helmet rules as the motorcycle operator. Motorcycle passengers under 18 are required to wear a helmet, while passengers 18 or over are not required to wear them. Although passengers older than 18 are not required to wear a helmet, it is strongly recommended to wear one whenever riding.
Legal Implications of Not Wearing a Helmet While Riding a Motorcycle in Colorado
Motorcycle riders and passengers caught not wearing a helmet can be ticketed and fined by the police if they are not at least 18 years old.
Not wearing a helmet could also impact your compensation if you file a personal injury lawsuit after a crash. Even if you’re not required to wear a helmet, insurance companies could wrongfully argue that not wearing one is a form of negligence and results in more severe injuries. That could lead the insurance companies to try to reduce the amount of compensation you receive or deny your claim altogether.
However, the insurance company’s position overlooks the fact that not wearing a helmet does cause a motorcycle accident. If someone else’s negligence triggered the crash, they should be responsible for the victim’s total losses, even if the victim was obeying the law by not wearing a helmet. You need a lawyer who will fight for your right to compensation.
Motorcycle Helmets FAQs
We get a lot of questions about Colorado’s motorcycle helmet laws at our firm. Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions:
Can I recover compensation if I wasn’t wearing a helmet in a motorcycle crash?
Not wearing a helmet does not eliminate your right to seek compensation for your injuries after an accident. That said, it could make it harder for you to recover if the insurance company unfairly tries to shift the blame to the victim for a crash their insured caused. Our attorneys are prepared to stand up for your right to full compensation.
How do I pick the right motorcycle helmet?
NHTSA has several recommendations for choosing the right motorcycle helmet. First, make sure the helmet fits snugly without any uncomfortable pressure points. Second, select a style that fits your needs while also being mindful of safety concerns. Finally, make sure it has the DOT label on the back, which means it complies with U.S. Department of Transportation safety standards.
When should I replace my helmet?
There are two instances where it is crucial to replace your motorcycle helmet.
The first is if you’ve outgrown the helmet, and it doesn’t fit properly. Helmets that don’t correctly fit your head provide much less protection.
The second is if you’re involved in an accident. Even if the helmet appears undamaged, you don’t want to take any chances, as there may be interior damage you can’t see. You’re better off paying for a new helmet than taking the risk of using one that won’t protect you if a crash occurs.
Colorado Motorcycle Fatality Rates
Recent information from the Colorado Department of Transportation shows 103 motorcyclists died in accidents in one year. What’s more, 54 of those 103 motorcyclists who died were not wearing helmets. That means riders without helmets accounted for more than half of all motorcycle fatalities that year.
Contact Our Colorado Motorcycle Accident Lawyers for Help with Your Case
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, call the Colorado motorcycle accident attorneys of Olson Law Firm, LLC for help right away. Contact our Denver office today for a free consultation.