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Do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Colorado?

Whether you are an avid biker or new to the scene, the debate about wearing a helmet is something you will face. Some states mandate helmet use to save lives, whereas others let the rider choose so as to preserve freedom.

What is the law on motorcycle helmets in Colorado? Knowing the answer and the consequences of the law can help you keep safe while riding.

What does the law say?

Colorado only enforces helmet use for operators and passengers under 18 years old, and the helmets must meet DOT standards. Legal adults do not have to wear protective headgear. However, anyone of any age who is on a motorcycle must have eye protection. Options include helmet visors, goggles and certain eyeglasses, but windshields do not count.

Why you should wear one anyway

You may be relieved that the state does not require you to wear a helmet. However, injuries to the head are the second-most-common form of physical harm from accidents, after damage to extremities. Trauma to the head and brain can result in long-term health consequences, such as problems with coordination, speech, memory, vision and self-care. Even mild to moderate TBI can affect your ability to work, leading to financial insecurity until you recover.

Helmets save 37 percent of riders from death, and 69 percent from head injury, according to the CDC. With bikers already having a higher rate of accident, injury and fatality than riders of other vehicles, these numbers show the significant impact protective headgear has on safety. The benefits make the cost, inconvenience and discomfort worth it.

Other protective gear to consider

Although helmets are the most important thing to wear when riding, you can also benefit from other gear meant for motorcycle riding. Consider wearing the following as well to protect other body parts:

  • Jacket
  • Pants
  • Gloves
  • Boots

In addition, buy these products in bright colors or add your own reflective tape to help other motorists see you and reduce chances of an accident.

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