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Arizona Motorcycle Laws & Regulations

arizona motorcycle laws

Arizona is one of the states with the highest number of registered motorcycles — along with one of the highest motorcycle accident rates in the United States. In the Grand Canyon State, an average of 2,600 motorcycle accidents occur every year.

To protect motorcyclists as well as other people on the road, Arizona has motorcycle laws and regulations in place. At Gerber Injury Law, our motorcycle accident lawyers offer information on the laws all motorcyclists must obey and the rights they have while on the road.

Motorcycle Driver’s License Requirements in Arizona

To operate a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle in Arizona, you need to have a motorcycle license or endorsement. You must be at least 16 years old to apply for the license or endorsement.

This license doesn’t expire until you turn 65, but your photo and eye test must be updated every 12 years. Drivers who are 60 and over can obtain a license that is valid for five years.

Arizona issues licenses by class. A, B, and C are for commercial, G is for graduated, M is for motorcycle, and D is for operator. If you have another type of license and want to combine it with an M license, you can add it as an endorsement on the back of your current license.

Anyone who is at least 15 years and six months old can receive a motorcycle instruction permit. First-time drivers have to pass both a written driver’s license test and a written motorcycle operator test. If you have a current driver’s license, you only need to take the motorcycle operator written test.

With a motorcycle instruction permit, you can’t operate the motorcycle between sunset and sunrise, on interstate highways or freeways, or any time when there’s not enough visibility. You also can’t carry passengers.

Motorcycle endorsement applicants who are 18 or younger have to complete a motorcycle driver education program offered by a Motor Vehicle Division-approved training school. They can then take a written exam and road skills test. For applicants over 18, the program isn’t mandatory but is recommended.

Motorcycle Helmet Laws in Arizona

According to A.R.S. 28-964, only motorcyclists who are 18 or younger have to wear a helmet. All others can choose whether to do so or not. All riders must wear safety glasses, approved goggles, or a transparent safety shield unless the motorcycle has a windshield.

Keep in mind that while helmets may not be required for all motorcyclists, they do help protect you against injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.

Motorcycle Equipment Laws in Arizona

Arizona motorcycle laws state that you need certain pieces of equipment. Motorcycles have to meet standards for operation, and they have to have a number of safety measures in place.

A motorcycle has to have at least one headlamp to ensure visibility. Bikes also must have secure seats for both the driver and passenger. These seats help to prevent the driver from losing control of the vehicle.

Arizona law also addresses noise and exhaust levels. The state doesn’t allow you to use a muffler cutout or any similar device. The motorcycle has to be equipped with the original muffler from the manufacturer or other original noise reduction equipment. Alternatively, you can rely on a replacement muffler or other noise reduction option.

Your motorcycle has to be equipped with a rear-view mirror so that you can see hazards and other drivers behind you.

Motorcycle DUI Laws in Arizona

As in the rest of the country, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Arizona is 0.08%. Anyone operating a motorcycle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is breaking the law and could be charged with a DUI.

A motorcycle DUI can come with steep fines, the suspension of the license, and the potential of jail time. Under Arizona law, a first offense could result in a fine of no less than $1,250 and up to 10 days of jail. Subsequent offenses can result in over $3,000 in fines and more than 90 days in jail.

After a few offenses, you may also need to install an ignition interlock device that prevents you from starting the motorcycle if your BAC is above a certain level.

Riders are required to submit to a chemical test of their blood, urine, or breath if police suspect them of driving under the influence. Refusing these tests can result in an automatic license suspension.

Hands-Off Arizona Motorcycle Law

Because distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents all over the country, Arizona has created the Hands-Off Law. This law makes it illegal to use stand-alone electronic devices unless the device is in hands-free mode.

It’s illegal to support the device with your body; read, write, or send messages; scroll through social media; record videos; or do anything else that takes your attention away from the road and requires the use of your hands or the rest of your body.

The first violation can be a fine of anywhere from $75 to $149. Second and subsequent violations can have fines of $150 to $250.

Someone who causes a crash that results in serious injury or death while breaking this law could face a fine of up to $2,500 and up to six months in jail.

Motorcycles on Laned Roadways: Laws in Arizona

Motorcycles can take up a full lane in Arizona, but only up to two motorcycles can ride next to each other. Under certain conditions, Arizona law also allows you to ride a motorcycle between lanes in slow-moving traffic, including on roadways that have a maximum speed limit of 45 mph.

A law that passed in 2022 makes it legal to overtake and pass vehicles that are stopped in the same lane and going in the same direction as the motorcycle. This can only occur on roads where the speed limit is 45 mph and if a motorcycle is traveling at no more than 15 mph.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Arizona

As with any other vehicle, you must have insurance if you ride a motorcycle in Arizona. You have to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, which covers injuries and other damages if you’re involved in an accident.

The minimum liability insurance you have to have in Arizona for your motorcycle is $15,000 per person for the coverage of body injuries and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury. To cover property damage, you need a minimum liability insurance of $10,000 per accident.

If you don’t have minimum insurance and you get into an accident, you can end up charged with $500 in fines while also having your licenses suspended. If you have a second offense within 36 months, you could have a fine of $750 as well as a six-month suspension of the license, license plate, and vehicle registration.

Someone who commits a third offense within a 36-month period could end up with a fine of $1,000, a one-year suspension of the motorcycle’s registration and license plates, and a one-year suspension of the driver’s license.

Arizona Fault Laws

In Arizona, the person who is at fault for the accident is the one liable. This means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company covers the damages in the case of an accident. Injured victims can file a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company, but they also have a chance to file a lawsuit.

Arizona is a pure comparative law state. This means that anyone involved in an accident can still recover compensation, no matter how much at fault they were. For example, if someone is found to be 98% at fault for the accident, they can still claim 2% compensation.

If you file a claim and win but you were found to be 10% at fault for the accident, your winnings will be reduced by 10%.

Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents in Arizona

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, you have two years from the day of the occurrence to file a claim. This limit applies to personal injury and property damage lawsuits.

Two years may seem like a long time, but it’s crucial to reach out to motorcycle accident lawyers as soon as possible to get help because the process can take time.

Gerber Injury Law Can Help

Arizona motorcycle laws can be complex. If you get into a motorcycle accident, you need to make sure that you get effective counsel on your side. At Gerber Injury Law, we have over two decades of experience helping clients in Arizona. With a 99% success rate, we’re here to offer the support you need.

Whether you’ve suffered injuries or property damage, you have the possibility of getting the compensation you deserve to cover medical and repair bills as well as other expenses.

You don’t have to go through this process on your own. When you turn to experienced personal injury lawyers, the process of getting the compensation you deserve can be easier. Reach out to us at Gerber Injury Law today to learn more about what your options are after a motorcycle accident.