Riding a motorcycle in a state other than your own can be a thrilling experience, but it also can be a legally complex as well. If you happen to be involved in a crash while riding out of your home state, the laws applicable to the area where the wreck occurred will take precedence in any ensuing cases, and those laws may be different than the ones you are familiar with.
Given these potential differences, there is a lot out-of-state motorcyclists should know about before hitting the road in Colorado Springs. If you have any questions not answered here, a local motorcycle accident lawyer could provide answers for you through a confidential consultation.
The number one thing an out-of-state motorcyclist in Colorado Springs should know is the applicable motorcycle helmet law. In Colorado, minors are required to wear a helmet, but adults are not.
Visitors to Colorado Springs also should also that they have to maintain their lane while riding a motorcycle just like a normal motor vehicle would. Additionally, they cannot pass vehicles between two lanes like they might be able to do in some other states.
Finally, if a driver from out-of-state is pulled over or involved in an accident because they fail to follow traffic regulations, they cannot claim they were unaware of the local laws. Ignorance of the law is not a defense to criminal or civil liability.
The specific dangers of riding a motorcycle in Colorado Springs mostly stem from the geography and weather conditions. Specifically, ice, hail, and snow are common in Colorado Springs, all of which can reduce both visibility and traction while out on the road.
Out-of-state motorcycle riders also should be aware that the roads in and around Colorado Springs are often curvy and—because of the mountains—feature sharp, steep inclines and declines. Colorado Springs sits at the base of the mountains, so out-of-state motorcyclists should not expect the same riding experience that they might expect in a location with a lower elevation.
Finally, during the winter in Colorado Springs, the snow and ice are dealt with using gravel and sand as opposed to salt. That gravel can accumulate on the streets, which could make them more slippery and hazardous for motorcycles compared to cars.
When someone is from outside of Colorado, the first thing they should do if they suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident is make sure they are safe and have seen a medical professional. Once an individual takes these steps, they should get an experienced attorney from around the area to help them if the accident was someone else’s fault, rather than retaining one from back home.
Out-of-state laws do not apply to criminal and civil cases surrounding a motorcycle accident, unless the question at hand is whether the defendant has a valid license to operate a motorcycle in their home state. Because of this, both civil plaintiffs and criminal defendants need to seek counsel from a lawyer who knows about Colorado traffic laws, not out-of-state one.
Maintaining your own safety while riding a motorcycle is not just a matter of driving at a safe speed and wearing proper equipment—it also requires knowing something about the roads you intend to ride on. For out-of-state riders, though, this last recommendation is often easier said than done, especially if they end up injured due to someone else’s negligence.
A qualified attorney could help you understand everything an out-of-state motorcyclist should know before riding in Colorado Springs, as well as what to do after an accident. For help with either matter, call today to set up a consultation.