Do Motorcycles Need Turn Signals in Colorado?

Motorcycle making left turn signal.

Motorcycles are very different than traditional passenger vehicles. However, many drivers don’t fully appreciate the differences. Insurance companies often don’t see the differences, either, and they try to shift the blame for accidents to motorcyclists. The use of turn signals is a good example.

Do Motorcycles Need Turn Signals in Colorado?

Under Colorado law, you should always check your controls and make sure all lights and signals are working before you ride. However, unlike many other states, Colorado does not make turn signals a specific legal requirement for safe operation of the motorcycle.

If an insurance company tries to blame you for your motorcycle accident because your bike lacked turn signals, you should get help from an experienced personal injury attorney right away. The Sawaya Law Firm has decades of experience with protecting the rights of injured motorcyclists. You can count on us to fight for you.

What Makes a Motorcycle ‘Roadworthy’ in Colorado?

Colorado law requires motorcycles to have certain components. Even though the law may not require certain other components, it’s still a smart idea to have them on your bike in order to prevent accidents. The reality is that motorcycle riders and passengers have no structural protection. When you get into collision with a motor vehicle, you will suffer the brunt of the damage. So, you should do everything you can to protect yourself.

With that in mind, here are the legal requirements for a motorcycle in Colorado. In other words, for your motorcycle to be certified as “roadworthy,” you must have the following pieces of equipment on your motorcycle:

  • Seat and foot pegs for passengers
  • Helmets for all riders under 18
  • At least one head lamp
  • At least one red tail lamp visible from 500 feet
  • Bike must be between 20 and 72 inches high
  • At least one reflector
  • At least one brake light
  • Horn must be audible from at least 200 feet
  • Brake for at least one wheel
  • At least one rearview mirror.

As you can see, turn signals are not among the pieces of mandatory equipment for a motorcycle in Colorado. Still, you should strongly consider having working turn signals on your bike as well as:

  • Always wear reflective clothing.
  • Wear a helmet if you are a rider or a passenger, including face and eye protection.
  • Wear sturdy materials, including boots and a thick jacket.
  • Ride in pairs when possible.

Additionally, you should use hand and arm signals when you turn – even if you do not have turn signals on your bike.

Why Is Using Turn Signals (or Signaling Turns) Important for Safety?

Drivers of passenger vehicles typically do not expect to see motorcycles on the road with them. They may be distracted, thinking about other things or listening to loud music. A relatively small vehicle like a motorcycle may not even catch their attention.

While it is entirely the driver’s responsibility to keep a close watch out for others, the sad fact is that motorcycle riders must be on heightened alert to stay safe. This means that they must make sure to give other drivers lots of notice and make their intentions easily known to others on the road.

If you have working turn signals on your bike, then use them each time you plan to turn. An otherwise distracted or texting driver may just notice the flashing light in time to stop, sparing you horrible injuries. While a negligent driver can be held liable for the injuries they cause, it is always preferable to avoid injuries in the first place.

Can You Recover Damages in Colorado If You Are Partially at Fault for a Motorcycle Crash?

Colorado follows a legal theory known as modified comparative fault, which apportions blame between the parties. Here’s how it works:

In some states, if you are partly to blame for your own injuries – even slightly – you are completely barred from any recovery of compensation. This is a harsh rule. Fortunately, Colorado does not follow it.

Instead, if you are partly to blame, then Colorado law will generally still let you recover compensation from the party that is mostly to blame. However, your compensation can be reduced by your share of liability. Consider this example:

Jury verdict:$100,000
Your share of liability:20%
Other driver’s share of liability:80%
Your actual recovery:$80,000


In some cases, multiple responsible parties may contribute to an accident such as in pile-up crashes. The law allows a jury to spread the blame out among multiple parties.

However, if your negligence is equal to or greater than the combined negligence of the others involved in your crash, then you can be barred from recovering any compensation – no matter how serious your injuries are. For this reason, many insurance companies will argue that the accident was 50/50, even where the other driver ran a red light, ignored traffic controls or even violated your right-of-way. In these situations, it is important to hire an attorney who will aggressively advocate for your rights.

How Can a Colorado Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help You?

When you contact The Sawaya Law Firm, you will receive a free, one-on-one consultation with an attorney. In this initial meeting, you can get answers to some of your most important questions such as:

  • How can I pay for my medical treatment?
  • What if the insurance company tries to blame me?
  • How do I recover if the other driver fled the scene?

In preparation for your initial consultation, you should gather the following documents:

  • The police accident report
  • Any medical bills or records you have so far
  • Names and phone numbers of any witnesses
  • Any photos of the scene, your bike or your injuries
  • Names of all medical providers you have seen for your injuries
  • Your health plan and auto insurance information.

If your attorney reviews your case and decides we will be able to help, we will gather crucial evidence in your case. As part of our investigation, we will interview witnesses, talk to health care providers, gather full medical records and prepare your case. If we can negotiate a full and fair settlement with the insurance company, we will certainly do so. If, on the other hand, we have to take your case to trial, you can be assured that our team of aggressive trial lawyers will fight hard for you.

For help with your case, contact The Sawaya Law Firm today. We’ll only take a fee if we secure compensation for you.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.