Motorcycles are fun to ride, but they are also significantly more dangerous than almost all other vehicles on the road. When motorcycle accidents occur, the risk of serious injury or death is substantially higher due to the fact that a motorcycle lacks most of the safety features built into modern passenger vehicles. While the average car has a frame designed to crumple and reduce the shock of a collision, airbags, and seatbelts, motorcycles have none of these features.
When a motorcycle accident happens, the victim not only faces the risk of injury from the initial impact with the other vehicle but also from hitting the ground. Safety gear is the only layer of protection between the rider and the road in most accidents, and every state has different laws pertaining to helmets and other safety requirements for motorcyclists. It’s vital to know these laws to prevent a ticket for an unintentional violation, and it is also vital to acknowledge the safety measures you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing a devastating accident.
Helmet Requirements in Colorado
The state does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets, although doing so is strongly encouraged. Wearing an appropriately fitted, Department of Transportation-approved motorcycle helmet substantially lowers the risk of a fatal traumatic brain injury if an accident occurs. The best type of motorcycle helmet to wear is one that encloses the entire head with a facemask.
State law does, however, require the use of eye protection. This aims to reduce the chances of a foreign object flying into the rider’s eyes and blinding them while they are operating their bike. Eye protection does not include sunglasses or standard eyeglasses. Instead, the eyewear should have safety glass, meaning it is designed to absorb impact and stop flying debris from breaking the glass and damaging the wearer’s eyes.
Despite the fact that motorcycle helmets are not strictly required by state law, wearing one significantly increases your chances of surviving a serious motorcycle accident. According to accident data gathered by various organizations and government agencies across the country, the risk of fatal injury is much higher in a motorcycle accident than any other vehicle accident, and traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death among motorcycle accident victims.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Remember that wearing appropriate safety gear cannot prevent an accident from happening, it can only mitigate the damage from an accident. In the event you are injured while riding your motorcycle due to the negligence or misconduct of any other motorist, you should know your options for legal recourse and how to recover your damages.
Every driver in the state must have auto insurance. When an accident occurs, the driver at fault for the accident absorbs liability for the resulting damages. Therefore, if another driver injured you, the first step in recovering from the incident is likely to be an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Once you prove they are directly responsible, the next step in your recovery process will be a personal injury case.
The right attorney is an invaluable asset, no matter what your recovery efforts entail. For example, your legal representative will help you file your auto insurance claim and then proceed with a personal injury case if this isn’t enough to fully compensate you for your losses. Motorcycle accidents tend to result in far more serious damages than most other vehicle accidents, and it’s vital to have legal counsel you can trust if you want to maximize your recovery.
Q: Is Any Safety Equipment Legally Required for Riding a Motorcycle?
A: State law may not require helmets, but riders are required to wear some form of eye protection. The best eye protection for any motorcycle rider is the visor of an appropriately fitted helmet, but any type of goggles with safety glass or other safety glasses are acceptable. Windshields do not count as eye protection under Colorado law.
Q: Is It Legal to Split Lanes on a Motorcycle?
A: “Lane splitting” refers to passing another vehicle in the same lane or sharing space in a lane next to another vehicle. Motorcyclists may not pass inside the same lane as another vehicle or pass between slower-moving lanes of traffic. However, two motorcyclists can ride side-by-side in the same lane.
Q: Are Passengers Required to Wear Helmets on Motorcycles?
A: Colorado law does not require motorcycle passengers to wear helmets, but they must use eye protection just like motorcycle operators. Additionally, the bike must have footrests for the passenger, and the passenger must use them while riding on the back of the bike. Finally, passengers may not ride while sitting in front of the motorcycle operator. Instead, they must ride behind the operator or in a sidecar.
Q: Can I File an Insurance Claim After a Motorcycle Accident?
A: Every driver is legally required to have auto insurance, and this requirement extends to motorcyclists. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you have the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Motorcycle insurance is often more expensive than standard passenger vehicle insurance because motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than enclosed passenger vehicles.
Q: Should I Hire an Attorney After a Motorcycle Accident?
A: Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney you can trust is the best thing you can do to maximize your recovery after a serious motorcycle accident. Your legal representative can help you file an auto insurance claim against the at-fault driver and secure maximum compensation. They can also assist with filing a personal injury case if insurance alone cannot repay your damages.
Any motorcycle accident can be incredibly damaging, but wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of catastrophic traumatic brain injuries and death when a motorcycle accident happens. If you or someone you love recently experienced a motorcycle accident due to the negligence or misconduct of another driver, contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal to schedule a free consultation with an attorney who can explain your best available options for recovery.