A Guide to Motorcycle Accident Laws in Arizona

Did you know that Arizona has more than 3000 motorcycle accidents each year, and that number is expected to increase? Although going for a ride on your motorcycle is a fun hobby, it is also one that can lead to severe injuries and even death.

Unfortunately, not all drivers on the road are mindful of Arizona motorcyclists, and one false maneuver can lead to a fatal accident. If you want to learn more about motorcycle laws in Arizona, please continue reading below. We will cover what you need to know about motorcycle laws and who you can speak with if you’ve recently suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident. 

Requirements To Operate a Motorcycle in Arizona

For those who wish to operate a motorcycle in Arizona legally, there are a few requirements you must first meet. For example, the minimum age to operate a motorcycle is 16. If you are under 18, when you go to get your motorcycle license, you must have a learner’s permit for at least six months. 

You must also complete a motorcycle driver safety program approved by the Motor Vehicle Division. If not, you could have a parent or guardian provide a certified form that states you have at least 30 hours of experience practicing. 

Additional Requirements

Similar to getting your standard driver’s license, you must pass a vision and medical screening and a written test. To legally operate a motorcycle in Arizona, you must have a class M license or a class M endorsement on your current driver’s license. 

Gear Requirements 

Several Arizona laws govern motorcycle gear. For example, all motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of eighteen must wear a helmet. Arizona law also requires each motorcycle to have one brake, although many motorcyclists are encouraged to have both hand and foot brakes for safety. 

Additional motorcycle gear requirements:

  • There must be seats and footrests on the bike
  • One rearview mirror is mandatory
  • One horn on the bike that can emit sounds up to 200 feet

The handlebars on a motorcycle must also be positioned so that they are not above the operator’s shoulder height when they sit and have their hands on the handlebar. Arizona also encourages riders to use their high beams during the day to maximize their visibility. 

Are There Helmet Laws in Arizona?

As mentioned earlier, Arizona law requires all operators and passengers to wear a helmet if they are under the age of 18. There are many types of helmets an operator can choose from. For example, you can choose a full-face helmet or one that is only three-quarters.

The helmet you choose should fit snugly all around your head and be free of any cracks, frayed straps, or loose padding. If your helmet has any scrapes or any form of damage, it may not be effective if you get into an accident. 

Regardless of what type of helmet you choose, make sure that the helmet is approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation and state standards. The helmet should have a label from the Snell Memorial Foundation

Lane Sharing in Arizona

Arizona law prohibits motorcyclists from lane splitting unless they are lane filtering. Bikers can use the entire lane unless they are lane filtering. They cannot overtake and pass in the same occupied by the vehicle they took over. 

Lane Filtering

On September 24, 2022, Arizona passed a law allowing motorcyclists to lane filter, allowing them to ride slowly between lanes when traffic is stopped. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule.

For example, if a biker wants to lane filter, they must ensure that the street has a speed limit that does not exceed 45 miles per hour and is divided into two adjacent traffic lanes in the same direction of travel. Motorcyclists also cannot exceed a speed of fifteen miles per hour. 

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Unfortunately, many people, including insurance companies, assume that the motorcyclist is at fault when it comes to the cause of motorcycle accidents. Most motorcycle accidents happen due to being struck by another vehicle following too closely behind. Another major reason is when a passenger vehicle merges, and they don’t see there is a motorcyclist right there. 

Common causes of motorcycle accidents:

  • Mechanical failures
  • Being struck by flying objects
  • Poor road conditions
  • Being struck by an extended mirror on another vehicle
  • Windblasts from large vehicles

Of course, there are times when a motorcyclist causes an accident. For example, if a biker is following too close to a vehicle in front of them and the car suddenly stops, the motorcyclist may hit the back of that vehicle. 

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

When compared to other vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents are more severe due to the lack of protection a rider has on their bike. People in passenger vehicles have more protection; meanwhile, a motorcyclist is open to the elements around them. 

One of the most common injuries a motorcyclist endures is a traumatic brain injury. Although the helmet cannot guarantee that the biker won’t suffer from a traumatic brain injury, it is still essential to wear one. Traumatic brain injuries can cause a victim to have difficulty with their movement or speech. 

Broken Bones and Internal Injuries

Depending on the severity of the impact, a biker may be thrown from their motorcycle. When this happens, it could result in broken bones or internal injuries like internal bleeding.

Due to their rushing adrenaline, a motorcyclist may not realize they have injuries or the severity of their injuries. It is imperative to seek medical attention immediately after an accident to ensure no underlying serious issues. 

Damages Claimed in a Motorcycle Accident Settlement

There are several different damages you can claim in your motorcycle accident. For example, you can claim your medical expenses and lost wages. 

Additional damages you can claim for your motorcycle accident settlement:

  • Replacement or repair of your bike
  • Long-term medical care
  • Property loss
  • Helmet damages

You also have the opportunity to claim what is known as general damages. General damages are harder to calculate on their own as they are non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.

It is difficult to figure out how much to ask in a settlement for your general damages, so it is best to leave that to an attorney. They will handle figuring out your damages and negotiating with the insurance company. 

Should I Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident and need legal help, consider speaking with an attorney to learn more about your legal options. When you partner with the right motorcycle accident attorney, they can look over the facts of your case and help you get the compensation you deserve. They also serve as your legal advisor and will let you know your case’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Medical Care Access

Another benefit that comes with hiring a motorcycle accident attorney is their connections with physicians. Attorneys who’ve handled cases similar to yours are aware of the type of medical treatments needed to get you back on your feet.

Some attorneys have partnerships with doctors where the doctor can give you top-quality care based on a contingency fee basis. This means you won’t have to pay out of pocket for your medical care. Instead, once you receive your settlement check, the payment for your medical expenses will be deducted from there. 

Handles the Insurance Claim

While you focus on healing and tending to other life matters, your attorney will handle working with the insurance company. This includes providing them with all the necessary documents, such as the police report, witness statements, your version of what happened, and photos of the vehicle’s damages. 

If you decide to seek counsel, you mustn’t speak with the insurance company. The insurance company may require you to give them a recorded statement about what happened in the accident.

The adjuster may twist your words, which can diminish your claim. Once you hire a lawyer to handle your claim, the adjuster cannot speak with you about your claim as per your contract with your attorney. 

Help With Your Motorcycle Accident

It is very important to be aware of the laws surrounding motorcycles and the types of accidents that happen. If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident and you need legal help, you could benefit from speaking with a reputable motorcycle accident attorney.

They can help you understand the laws surrounding your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your motorcycle accident. 

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