PDAC Report on the 2017 Colorado Legislative Session – Bills of interest for powersports/motorcycle dealers


This landmark legislation changes the unobtainable insurance requirements of the Colorado Procurement Department to allow OHV clubs and snowmobile trail groups to continue getting grants for trail maintenance and construction.

COHVCO took the lead on this bill and simultaneously so did PDAC because as your consultant, I crafted and developed the bill in consultation Department of Natural Resources staff. We moved it through the General Assembly with timely aid from our lobbyist, Jim Bensberg.

Without this amendment to Colorado law, access to public lands for motorized recreation would have died in less than five years, leaving little if anything for the public.  Because of TABOR, if the current program would have been repealed, it would not have been replaced, at least in not in our lifetimes.

At the bill signing in the Governor’s office, Jim Bensberg represented both PDAC and COHVCO.

PDAC strongly supported this bill. Signed into law by the Governor in the same form as reported. Effective date: Aug. 9, 2017.

PDAC/COHVCO advocate Jim Bensberg joins Colorado Representatives Arndt, Landgraf, and Sen. Sonnenberg as Gov. Hickenlooper signs SB17-100 into law.



Narrows the circumstances in which a physical inspection of a vehicle is required before issuing a title.  The Colorado Department of Revenue will not require inspections before registration or title if:

  • The applicant for a new registration presents an MCO or sales receipt from the dealer or out-of-state seller from whom the applicant bought the vehicle and either document shows it is a new vehicle purchase, or, at the time of application the vehicle is registered in another county of the state.
  • of Revenue will not require a physical inspection of a vehicle for a title if the applicant presents an MCO or receipt from the dealer or the out-of-state seller from whom the applicant purchased the vehicle and either document shows the purchase was a new vehicle purchase.
  • The Colorado State Patrol will operate a pilot program no later than Jan. 1, 2018, requiring a transportation association to verify commercial VINs.

PDAC supported. Governor has signed into law, effective date:  July 1, 2017.



This bill implements a completely new computer system for the Division of Motor Vehicles to facilitate the administration of the operation of motor vehicles in the state. The current Colorado state titling and registration system that you have grown to love  (CSTARS), will be replaced by a new alphabet soup program called Colorado driver’s license, record, identification and vehicle enterprise solution (Colorado DRIVES)  A committee of local government employees will oversee the transition.

Of course, there is the promise of better service for everyone.  It’s really who gets the money and how much, state or county?   And, we’re told, new, right-sized temporary tags will be available to motorcycle dealers in August 2018.

PDAC closely monitored the bill, but did not take a position. Governor has signed into law.      Effective date:  The repeal of CSTARS takes effect August 2018, implementation date for Colorado DRIVES is August 2018.



This is better known as the Autocycle bill.  This bill addresses Polaris Slingshots that, as of last year, were classified simultaneously as autocycles and as motorcycles.  Most customers were purchasing motorcycle plates when they should have been purchasing a special autocycle plate.  The previous law was confusing and the definition of autocycles was unclear.

So, HB17-1044 was introduced. The State Patrol brought this bill with the intention to ban their use by taking them out of the motorcycle category and calling them simply motor vehicles. A CSP rep last year called them “death traps” in a committee hearing.

PDAC worked very hard with the Polaris lobbyist to successfully amend this bill so that autocycles continue to be defined as motorcycles, and we made sure that they will be plated as motorcycles by abandoning the special autocycle plate.

Polaris prohibits the use of child restraints for obvious reasons.  Most states either ban their use or set an age limit of 8-years-old to ride in the vehicle.  This bill also prohibits child restraints.  After PDAC amended the bill, we were able to support it with positive testimony in the House and Senate Transportation Committees.

Of huge importance to Slingshot dealers, no longer will customers have to show a motorcycle or trike endorsement to test drive or operate these vehicles as a result of this bill’s passage and our support. This should greatly simplify the sales process!

PDAC strongly supported, after amendments. Signed by the Governor. Seat belt law applies to all operators and passengers.



A bill to ”sunrise” (reinstate) the Motor Vehicle Dealer Licensing Board: this bill that renews a regulating body to oversee all motor vehicle and powersports sales in Colorado.

PDAC strongly supported reauthorization. Signed by the Governor.

  • Authorizes the Dealer Licensing Board until 2029
  • Defines consumer
  • Created the office of the Director of the Motor Vehicle Industry Division, primarily for administrative purposes
  • New MV definition retains MSO requirement, gives the Board the authority to determine mileage limit to be considered a new motor vehicle
  • A major change is how transfer of ownership or partial ownership of a dealership is subject to more stringent requirements including a review by the Board. If you are planning such a change, start it before July 1, of this year. That is when the new law takes effect.

There are other changes, but they cannot all be identified here.  I suggest you contact the Motor Vehicle Industry for additional information.



A bill to authorize autonomous driving systems in Colorado.  This is a very important bill.  Jim Bensberg closely followed this bill and has talked to the sponsor on multiple occasions.  NHTSA has yet to promulgate rules assuring the safety of motorcyclists and scooter operators.  Depending on what happens at the federal level, this bill requires close scrutiny by the state of the current federal standards and prevents local control by cities and counties. The bill prohibits the operation of an autonomous system deemed unsafe for vehicles and/or pedestrians until it is found safe by the State Patrol.  This extra layer of protection is invaluable and had PDAC’s strong support.

PDAC strongly supported. Governor signed the bill. 



This year marks the sunset of the Motorcycle Operator Safety Training Program (MOST).  After many complaints, including those from PDAC, that CDOT was mishandling the program, the Senate Transportation Chairman decided the state would no longer allow a renewal of the program unless it was moved to the Colorado State Patrol.  The California State Patrol has managed its program for decades without problem.

PDAC conditionally supported.



This bill was introduced by the Colorado Independent Auto Dealers (CIADA).  We originally opposed the bill as written because it removed the subjective test for determining when a vehicle was totaled, that is, if the repairs exceeded the fair market value of the vehicle.

This bill, however also contained a very positive element because vehicles that are currently totaled are regularly purchased by businesses that rebuild and sell them.  When this occurs, the vehicle in most cases does not have a salvage title and the dealer may have no other means for determining the condition of the vehicle.  We also requested that powersports vehicles that are currently titled through a powersports dealer be covered by the bill.  Working with CIADA proved beneficial since the bill was amended to return to the subjective test,  and add powersports as a category.

PDAC supported with amendments. Bill signed by the Governor.



“Concerning the Unlicensed Selling of Motor Vehicles:  unlicensed sales continue to be a problem for dealers.  This bill pulls in every possible player in the business; manufacturers, distributors, manufacturer representatives, new dealers, used dealers, salespersons, wholesalers, buyer agents, and wholesale motor vehicle auction dealers.  It also increases fines up to $25,000.  It mandates community service and the court may no longer suspend the fines.

PDAC supported after amendment. Governor signed. Effective date:



Concerning the relationship between a motor vehicle manufacturer and motor vehicle dealers who have franchise agreements with the manufacturer.  Current law prohibits a motor vehicle manufacturer (manufacturer) from requiring a motor vehicle dealer (dealer) to substantially alter a facility or premises if the manufacturer required it within the last seven years at a cost set in statute based on the type of dealer. Section 1 of the bill extends this prohibition to 10 years. Section 1 also prohibits a manufacturer from:

  • Selling a similarly equipped motor vehicle to one dealer at a lower price than to another dealer;
  • Requiring or enforcing a contract giving the manufacturer a right of first refusal or an option to purchase the dealership; and
  • Using an unreasonable, arbitrary, unfair, or surprise performance standard in determining a dealer’s compliance with a franchise agreement.

Section 2 repeals a provision that gives a dealer a right of first refusal for new franchises when the dealer was terminated due to the insolvency of the manufacturer. Section 2 also authorizes a dealer to sue in court to contest a manufacturer adding or moving a dealership to a market with a current dealer when this action would materially and adversely affect the dealer or the public. Such an action may currently be done administratively. Procedures are set for the civil action and an administrative hearing. Standards are set for determining the outcome. A prevailing party may get attorney fees and costs.

Notice to the dealers of new or relocated franchise

(b)  The date on or after which the manufacturer intends to be engaged in business with the additional, reopened, or relocated motor vehicle dealer at the proposed location;


(c)  The identity of all motor vehicle dealers who are franchised to sell the same line-make of vehicles with licensed locations in the relevant market area where the additional, reopened, or relocated motor vehicle dealer is proposed to be located.

Section 3 authorizes a dealer to sue a manufacturer in court to contest whether a termination was for just cause or for failing to provide notice of a termination. Such an action may currently be done administratively. The current process for staying the termination is strengthened. The manufacturer has the burden of proof. A prevailing dealer may get attorney fees and costs.

Section 4 requires a manufacturer, when the manufacturer requires the dealer to stop selling a used motor vehicle due to a technical mechanical issue, to provide parts and a solution within 30 days or to provide compensation to the dealer. Standards are set for eligibility and payment.

Sections 5-11 add Powersports dealers.  This is the section demanded and added by PDAC, otherwise dealers would be operating under a different set of franchise laws depending on product.

The link below is to the Act.  It is easy to read for a dealer.  Highly recommended that you do so.


Supported by PDAC. Awaiting the governor’s signature.  Effective date Aug. 9, 2017



Concerning the designation of May, 2017 as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.”

Jim Bensberg noted it had been some time since the General Assembly had introduced a resolution supporting May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.”  Jim obtained sponsors and lobbied the resolution through the Legislature.  This is important, not only to keep motorists aware, but to show that safety is a concern of the motorcycling community, each and every year.

The list of legislators that signed on is indicative of the positive response this resolution received.  Every single legislator present asked to be added as a sponsor of the resolution. We are cognizant of the efforts of Sen. Jack Tate, Rep. Terri Carver and Rep. Joann Ginal. We also worked closely with representatives of Colorado ABATE.


BY SENATOR(S) Tate, Aguilar, Baumgardner, Cooke, Coram, Court, Crowder, Donovan, Fenberg, Fields, Garcia, Gardner, Guzman, Hill, Holbert, Jahn, Jones, Kagan, Kefalas, Kerr, Lambert, Lundberg, Marble, Martinez Humenik, Merrifield, Moreno, Neville T., Priola, Scott, Smallwood ,Sonnenberg, Todd, Williams A., Zenzinger, Grantham; also REPRESENTATIVE(S) Carver and Ginal, Arndt, Becker J., Becker K., Beckman, Bridges, Buck, Buckner, Catlin, Coleman, Covarrubias, Danielson, Esgar, Everett, Exum, Foote, Garnett, Gray, Hamner, Hansen, Herod, Hooton, Humphrey, Jackson, Kennedy, Kraft-Tharp, Landgraf, Lawrence, Lebsock, Lee, Leonard, Lewis, Liston, Lontine, Lundeen, McKean, McLachlan, Melton, Michaelson Jenet, Mitsch Bush, Navarro, Neville P., Nordberg, Pettersen, Rankin, Ransom, Rosenthal, Saine, Salazar, Sias, Singer, Thurlow, Valdez, Van Winkle, Weissman, Willett, Williams D., Wilson, Winter, Wist, Young.



Classifies motorized bicycles into three classes, two of which are now able to access bicycle lanes.  The issue here was to closely monitor these definitions to make sure no dealer product fell into this classification as there are severe limitations on two of the classes.  It was not that long ago that mopeds and 50cc scooters were listed as motorized bicvcles.  PDAC remedied that as we worked to make sure there was no backsliding.

PDAC monitored closely. Signed by the Governor. Effective Aug. 9, 2017


Bills that were Postponed Indefinitely (killed)


This “stop-sale” bill on used motor vehicles was postponed indefinitely (killed) by the Senate Transportation committee.  The bill would have allowed a percentage of reimbursement to dealers if manufacturers failed to make a repair of the used defective vehicles within 90 days (think airbags.)  At this point the manufacturers of motor vehicles prevented it from moving on, at least for now.  Since it was apparent the bill would be killed in committee, PDAC just monitored it.  Given that motorcycles are now coming with things like airbags, we will see if the bill turns up again.

PDAC monitored and supported



This bill addressed the following issues related to congestion:

The bill clarifies that high occupancy vehicle lanes are lanes on which a vehicle carrying 2 or more individuals, including the driver, may travel and that high occupancy toll lanes are lanes on which a vehicle carrying fewer than 2 individuals, including the driver, must pay a toll. The bill also raises the priority of currently unfunded projects to expand the capacity of I-25 on 17 miles between the town of Castle Rock and the town of Monument and between State Highway 14 and State Highway 66 (high priority projects).

Upon investigation by Jim Bensberg, it was clear that the last portion of the bill would kill it in the first committee.  Had it a chance, we would have worked hard to include motorcycles in the toll free portion of the bill on toll roads.

PDAC monitored.



Waste tire disposal.  This bill did not have a direct negative impact on PDAC dealers.  However, it is an example of a bill title so broad it could create serious problems even if that was never the intent of the sponsors.  Many bills with broad titles must be watched.  This bill could have tripled the fee for waste tires or brought in powersports tires.

PDAC closely monitored



Colorado Parks and Wildlife are woefully underfunded.  This bill would have given CPW the authority to raise fees including hunting and fishing licenses.  They did not ask for permission to raise fees on the OHV/snowmobile programs.  While no one likes to see fees rise, it would have been imprudent to believe that the Department of Natural Resources would never again attempt to steal our OHV program monies as our fees would have to be raised by a bill run through the General Assembly rather than allowing the CPW Commission to raise fees.

PDAC/COHVCO supported.