Colorado Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Under Colorado law, motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of 18 must wear DOT-approved helmets.
Written by Maxine Boyko
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
law, all motorcycle riders under the age of 18 must wear DOT-approved helmets.
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Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Colorado?

Under Colorado law, if you are a motorcycle operator or passenger under the age of 18, you are required to wear a
Data established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2019 were attributed to motorcycle accidents. In an attempt to stymie these disheartening statistics, many states enacted universal motorcycle helmet laws in the 1960s. 
In general, the helmet must be able to deflect blows, resist penetration, and diffuse impact forces. A DOT-approved helmet will, therefore, have an adequate shell, lining, padding, and a chin strap that is properly fitted to the rider’s head.
Regardless of age, some form of eye protection is legally required for all drivers and passengers in Colorado. A helmet visor offers the best eye protection, but riders are also permitted to wear safety glasses or goggles. Windshields alone are not considered legally acceptable forms of eye protection.

Exceptions to Colorado’s motorcycle helmet law

If you are over the age of 18, you are exempt from Colorado’s motorcycle helmet law.
Some motorcycles may also be exempt from the law. You do not need to wear a helmet if the motorcycle has: 
  • Three wheels
  • A maximum speed capability of 25 mph or less
  • A windshield 
  • Seat belts

Penalties for breaking Colorado’s motorcycle helmet law

Breaking Colorado’s motorcycle helmet law is a Class A traffic infraction. Usually, the penalty for these infractions is a fine of $15 to $100
Depending on the severity of the circumstances, however, you could also face
driver's license points
, license suspension, and additional fines. It certainly doesn’t pay to violate the motorcycle helmet law in Colorado. 

Why it’s important to wear a motorcycle helmet

In addition to posing legal and financial risks, not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle also threatens your health and safety.
In 2015, a staggering 19% of all traffic deaths in Colorado were from motorcycle accidents. The state repealed its universal helmet law in 1977 and didn’t introduce the motorcycle helmet law for minors until July 1, 2007—making it one of only four states in the nation without a helmet law at the time.
According to the NHTSA, in states without motorcycle helmet laws, 57% of motorcyclists killed in 2019 were not wearing helmets, as compared to 9% in states with established helmet laws. If there’s anything to learn from this, it’s that wearing a helmet is the most effective way to protect yourself from brain injury or death.
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