Author Photo
Written by: J. Todd Tenge

Colorado Motorcycle Passenger Laws Overview

| Read Time: 4 minutes
motorcycle passenger laws

The sign you see crossing state lines into Colorado reads, “Welcome to Colorful Colorado,” which is a nod to the many beautiful scenic byways throughout the state.

Motorcyclists can ride through winding mountainous roads, along lakesides, cityscapes, and sand dunes.

Though the cooler months can bring rain and snow, Colorado is also known for its 300 sunny days a year, many of which are conducive to motorcyclists. These adventures can be even more enjoyable when experienced with a friend. 

Whether you are passing through the Centennial state on a road trip or are a long-time resident on your daily commute, it is important to understand motorcycle passenger laws so you and your passengers can avoid costly traffic citations and, more importantly, stay safe on the road. 

Below, the Denver motorcycle accident lawyers at Tenge Law Firm go over these laws. If you have questions, please contact us today.

Colorado Motorcycle Passenger Laws

Motorcycles must operate in accordance with all applicable Colorado traffic laws and are treated the same as other motor vehicles whether or not they have a passenger along for the ride.

This includes obeying traffic control signals, speed limits, right-of-way laws, and standard rules of the road. Similarly, dangerous behaviors such as texting and driving, tailgating, and intoxicate driving are prohibited. 

Legal requirements for having a passenger on a motorcycle apply throughout the State of Colorado in all counties. To be safe and legal on the roads, there are some laws that you need to be aware of.

Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1502 contains many of the Colorado laws for motorcycle passengers in this list. 

Motorcycle License Requirements

All Colorado motorcycle riders must have the proper endorsement on their driver’s license to operate a motorcycle legally and must be at least 16 years old. No additional license endorsement necessary to carry a passenger on a motorcycle.

As long as you have the endorsement for the kind of bike that you have, you may carry a passenger. There are supervision requirements that may prohibit young riders with permits from carrying passengers.

Motorcycle Equipment Requirements 

To carry a passenger on a motorcycle, the motorcycle must have a seat specifically for the passenger. The passenger and driver of a motorcycle cannot sit in the same seat, even if they are small enough to both fit. 

Motorcycle Passenger Helmet Laws 

All motorcycle drivers and passengers in Colorado under 18 must wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet.

These helmets will have a chin strap, lining, padding, and fit correctly on the driver or passenger’s head. Even though riders over 18 are not required to wear a helmet, it is always recommended. 

Child Passenger Motorcycle Laws

There are no age requirements for motorcycle passengers in Colorado. A rider must be able to comfortably reach the footrests and wear an approved helmet that fits properly.

They must be responsible enough to understand how to ride on a motorcycle safely. 

Eye Protection 

According to the Colorado State Patrol, eye protection is mandatory for all motorcycle passengers and drivers.

A helmet visor is considered the safest eye protection, though safety glasses or goggles are acceptable. Even if the motorcycle has a windshield, all riders must still have eyewear.

Passenger Behavior Requirements 

The passenger may not interfere with the operation of the motorcycle and must sit properly in the seat behind the driver, with one foot on either side. The driver must have a clear view of the road that the passenger cannot impede.

Sitting Location

The passenger may sit behind the driver in a designated seat or a sidecar specifically designed for the motorcycle and hold a passenger. The passenger must wear eyewear, even if sitting in the back or a sidecar with a windshield.

Attaching to Another Vehicle 

Colorado motorcycle passenger laws expressly state that a passenger may not attach a motorcycle to another vehicle. This can be very dangerous and is illegal.

They may not grab onto another motor vehicle or cling to another vehicle while riding a motorcycle.

Colorado Motorcycle Accident Laws

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries for all riders. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 149 fatal motorcycle and scooter accidents occurred in 2022.

Like other vehicle drivers, motorcyclists must have insurance, and the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for the damage should an accident occur.

If you or a loved one was in a motorcycle accident, it is important to determine how the accident occurred and who is liable. 

The Importance of Determining Accident Liability  

Knowing and obeying motorcycle passenger laws can help keep you safe and avoid potential liability.

In Colorado, even if you acted in a way that contributed to your accident or injuries, you may still be eligible to file a claim under the state’s modified comparative negligence doctrine. 

In some cases, failure to obey motorcycle passenger laws could contribute to your injuries. 

Your final award will be reduced by the percentage by which you are deemed at fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 but found 30% at fault for the accident, you would still receive $70,000.

An experienced personal injury attorney can conduct an independent investigation to determine what happened and gather evidence to support your claim.

They can also ensure you are not presented as responsible for anything beyond what actually happened. 

Contact a Colorado Motorcycle Attorney

If you are in a motorcycle accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to seek meaningful compensation.

At the Tenge Law Firm, our skilled team can investigate your accident, gather evidence, and determine the best legal strategy for your unique circumstances while allowing you the time and space to heal. 

Our founder, J. Todd Tenge, has nearly 20 years of professional experience handling motorcycle accident claims and has achieved several large rewards on behalf of injured victims.

He and the team at Tenge Law Group understand what it takes to ensure you get the results you deserve. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation. 

  • Contact us now. *Required Fields