Is It Legal to Ride a Motorcycle without a Helmet in Colorado?
Helmets can be a contentious topic for Colorado’s avid motorcyclists. While there is no debate about the safety benefits associated with wearing a helmet, many riders still prefer to cruise the open road without a helmet to better enjoy the exhilaration of the wind on their face on a long, scenic ride. If you’re going ride a motorcycle, it’s important to understand how Colorado helmet laws impact your obligations as a rider.
Are Motorcycle Helmets Required by Law in Colorado?
According to Colorado helmet laws, DOT-approved helmets are mandatory for all riders under the age of 18. However, riders age 18 and older are not legally required to wear a helmet. Motorcycle passengers must adhere to the same helmet regulations as the driver. Therefore, motorcycle passengers under the age of 18 must wear a helmet, but passengers who are 18 and older do not have to wear one.
In addition, Colorado motorcycle laws require all riders and passengers to wear some form of eye protection, regardless of whether they are old enough for helmets to be optional. According to this law, goggles or glasses are considered an acceptable form of eye protection, but a motorcycle’s windshield doesn’t qualify.
Regardless of the Law, Wearing a Helmet Is Important
While helmets aren’t required for individuals who are at least 18 years old, it’s still critical for all motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet at all times. Due to the lack of protection provided by motorcycles, injuries are often more catastrophic during a motorcycle accident. This increases the importance of safety gear such as helmets.
Brain injuries are one of the most common motorcycle accident injuries, and wearing a helmet will significantly reduce the risk of suffering a serious brain injury in the event you’re involved in a crash. This is due to the fact that helmets provide important cushioning that will reduce the severity of a blow to the head suffered in a motorcycle accident. Without the protective metal frame, seatbelts and airbags found in cars, motorcycle riders are at serious risk of hitting their heads on the pavement, another vehicle or other objects along the road during a motorcycle accident. When you wear a helmet, the impact of this head trauma is much less likely to result in life-altering or potentially fatal brain injuries.
There is significant research supporting the important safety benefits associated with wearing a motorcycle helmet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motorcycle helmets:
- Save over 1,800 lives a year
- Reduce the risk of brain injuries by 69%
- Are 37% effective in preventing fatal motorcycle accident injuries to riders and 41% effective for passengers
Can My Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Be Impacted if I Don’t Wear a Helmet?
It’s common for motorcycle riders to wonder how their decision to not wear a helmet impacts their ability to recover compensation in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. If you are under the age of 18 and were injured in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, it can negatively impact your ability to recover compensation for your damages since you were breaking the law by not wearing a helmet. Under Colorado’s comparative negligence laws, the fact that you violated an important safety law can be used to demonstrate that your negligent actions potentially contributed to the severity of your injuries.
However, failing to wear a helmet will not have a similar impact on your case if you’re age 18 or older since Colorado law doesn’t require you to wear a helmet. As a result, the at-fault driver can’t claim that you breached your duty to adhere to a specific standard of care when riding your motorcycle. In addition, previous Colorado motorcycle accident lawsuits have ruled that evidence showing an adult motorcycle rider didn’t wear a helmet is inadmissible when trying to demonstrate the rider’s negligence.
Of course, this won’t stop the legal teams of at-fault drivers from trying to use this evidence to claim your actions constitute negligence and should reduce the amount you can recover during your motorcycle accident lawsuit. Therefore, it’s critical to work with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can make sure this information isn’t allowed to be used by the defense when building their case.
Pushchak Law Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. At Pushchak Law, we’re here to help aggressively protect your rights and pursue the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled.
Brian Pushchak has made motorcycle accident cases a primary focus of his practice. He understands the complex laws governing these cases, including all Colorado helmet laws. In addition, he knows how to demonstrate the total extent of your damages to ensure any future medical procedures will be factored into your settlement. This extensive expertise in motorcycle accident law will give you the edge you need when seeking to maximize the value of our compensation.
In addition, you’ll benefit from Mr. Pushchak’s exclusive Informed Decisions™ Approach focused on ensuring you receive the best outcome for your case. This approach has been designed to keep you in control of the process at all times. Mr. Pushchak will discuss your case with you in detail and ask you about your goals for the outcome of your case. After recommending the ideal strategy to achieve your desired outcome, he’ll answer all your questions to make sure you understand your legal rights and options. You’ll then have the final say on how we handle your case. This approach keeps our team aligned with your desires and wishes throughout the process.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.
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