You Have Rights, Too: Motorcyclists in Colorado
All too often, motorcyclists believe that they do not have the same rights and privileges as auto drivers on Colorado roads, but this simply isn’t true. State law, particularly Sections 42-4-1501 through 42-4-1503, afford motorcycle riders rights, as well as provides regulations for them to follow. Under 42-4-1501, motorcyclists are given the same rights as any other vehicle operator on Colorado roads, subject to special provisions applicable to motorcycles, such as only have passengers on a bike equipped for it and having a permanently installed seat.
Those riding motorcycles must face the front and have one leg on each side of the bike. Section 42-4-1503 gives motorcyclists the right to fully use a traffic lane and forbids other vehicles from driving in a way that would infringe upon this right. An exception is made for two motorcyclists riding side-by-side in the same lane and facing the same direction, which the law allows.
Motorcycle riders are not permitted to drive between traffic lanes, as this action could foster a dangerous situation. All motorcycle riders must wear safety goggles that have been approved by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Helmets are only required for those riders and passengers under 18 years of age.
Motorcycle Operator Safety Training Program
The Motorcycle Operator Safety Training Program is found under Section 43-5-502. The law calls for the creation and maintenance of a safety instructional and training program for motorcyclists through the Colorado DOT’s Office of Transportation Safety. Those with licenses or training permits are allowed to enroll in the classes.
Are You Licensed?
Colorado laws don’t call for a special license to operate scooters or bikes with low power that travel under 40 mph, but you must have a driver’s license. For other bikes, you need a special endorsement on your current driver’s license. If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can take Motorcycle Safety Foundation training and get an endorsement when you apply for your license.
The Colorado DOT recommends the MSF training as the fastest route to receiving your endorsement. The standard ‘M’ endorsement is for a motorcycle with two or three wheels. To receive an endorsement, you must be at least 16 years old, take a written test at your local licensing office, get a permit and pass an on-bike riding and skills test.
Those under 18 must hold an instructional permit for at least 12 months before getting an endorsement.
Even the most experienced rider may want to consider training classes.
Drivers are still getting used to motorcyclists on the road and don’t always follow the rules, share the road properly, or even notice a motorcycle rider is nearby.
Training classes will help you brush up on your defensive riding skills and expose weak spots that you weren’t aware you had. While helmets are not required in Colorado for riders over 18 years of age, wear one anyway.
According to the Colorado DOT, wearing helmets has been shown to save lives and may just help protect yours in the event of an accident.
Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.
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