Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on July 13, 2020
The Grand Canyon State has many attractions for motorcyclists. Thousands of residents and tourists in Arizona use motorcycles to commute to work, get around and visit destinations such as national parks. Unfortunately, many motorcyclists end up with serious and fatal personal injuries in traffic accidents in Arizona every year. In 2016, the most recent year data is available, 792 collisions in Arizona involved motorcycles. Thirty-two were fatal. Motorcyclists can decrease the risk of getting into accidents by obeying Arizona’s related laws.
Are Motorcyclists Required to Wear a Helmet?
Wearing a helmet is a critical form of personal protection for motorcyclists in Arizona. A helmet can decrease the risk of a life-threatening head or brain injury in a motorcycle accident by at least 69%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2016, 50% of the deceased motorcyclists involved in traffic accidents in Arizona were not wearing helmets. All motorcycle riders and their passengers should wear helmets for safety reasons, even if state laws do not make them a legal requirement.
It is not illegal to operate a motorcycle without a helmet in Arizona as long as the rider is an adult over the age of 18. Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 28-964 only makes helmet use mandatory for motorcyclists and passengers under the age of 18. This statute says that all riders under 18 must at all times properly wear protective helmets – safely secured on the rider’s head. The same rule applies while operating an all-terrain vehicle or motor-driven cycle in Arizona. Failing to wear a helmet as someone under 18 could lead to a fine.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Arizona?
Lane splitting is a motorcycle maneuver that is against the law in almost all states. It refers to a motorcyclist riding on the line that separates two lanes of same-direction traffic. In 2016, California made the then-unprecedented decision to lift its regulations prohibiting motorcycle lane splitting. Since then, other states have made similar changes to their lane-splitting laws.
Lane splitting is not legal in Arizona in 2020. ARS 29-903 states that no motorcyclist on a laned roadway may occupy the same lane as the vehicle he or she is passing. This law effectively bans lane splitting by prohibiting a motorcyclist from sharing a lane – including riding on the line between two lanes – with a motor vehicle. A motorcyclist should make full use of a lane unless riding two abreast with other motorcyclists. Riding, overtaking or passing using the line between lanes is against the law. Lane splitting in Arizona could lead to a fine, as well as to liability if the maneuver causes a motorcycle accident.
Protective Gear and Other Requirements
Arizona law may not require helmets for riders over the age of 18, but it does require other types of motorcycle equipment. ARS 28-964 makes it mandatory for a motorcycle operator to wear some type of eye shield – either goggles, protective glasses or a face shield that protects the wearer’s eyes – if the motorcycle does not have a windshield. Operating a motorcycle without an eye shield could lead to bugs or debris flying into the rider’s eyes and causing an accident. Additional protective gear such as boots, gloves, vests and jackets are recommended, but not required by law, in Arizona.
In addition to personal protection equipment, riders should pay attention to the equipment on their vehicles. Arizona law requires all motorcycles to contain certain pieces of equipment. Otherwise, lawmakers may deem the motorcycle unroadworthy, leading to fines and citations for the operator. This equipment includes at least one rearview mirror, as well as a seat and footrests for the operator of the motorcycle.
If the motorcycle is carrying a passenger, it must also have a designated seat and footrests for the passenger. Motorcycles must also have the standard equipment required for all motor vehicles: headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, working brakes and an exhaust system. Finally, a driver must carry a motorcycle license (Class M) and automobile insurance to operate a motorcycle in Arizona.