Phoenix Motorcycle Laws

February 21, 2022 | David Abels
Phoenix Motorcycle Laws Motorcycle riders have the same rights and obligations as other users of the road in Phoenix and other parts of Arizona. Still, motorcyclists need to take extra precautions when riding a bike due to the increased risk of injury and death. Statistically speaking, motorcycle riders are one of the most vulnerable road users. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a staggering 80 percent of motorcycle accidents lead to injuries or deaths. Only 20 percent of automobile accidents result in bodily injuries or fatalities. The increased risk of bodily injury and death and the countless dangers motorcyclists face when riding a bike make it even more critical to understand Arizona’s motorcycle laws. Not understanding or recklessly disobeying traffic laws results in too many collisions. In a recent year, the Arizona Department of Transportation counted over 2,300 motorcycle accident injuries.

What Are Motorcycle Laws in Phoenix, Arizona?

In addition to learning how to ride a motorcycle safely, a motorcyclist should also understand laws that apply to motorcycles in their respective state. Understanding the motorcycle laws in Phoenix, Arizona, can reduce the risk of accidents. If you own a bike in Arizona, here are some of the key motorcycle laws from Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) that you need to understand to keep you safe on the road:
  • A.R.S. § 28-903. The statute prohibits motorcycle riders from lane splitting, the practice of riding a bike between rows of vehicles in slow-moving or stopped traffic. In other words, motorcyclists must share the road with other vehicles as any driver of a passenger vehicle does. The statute also makes it illegal for motorcycles to pass a vehicle without leaving the vehicle’s lane. While it is legal for two motorcyclists to share a single lane side-by-side, the statute prohibits doing so for three or more bikes.
  • A.R.S. § 28-964. The statute sets forth the requirements for mandatory safety equipment for motorcycle riders in Arizona. Under the law, motorcyclists of all ages must wear protective goggles, glasses, or transparent face shields to protect the eyes from the dust, insects, and other debris on the road. The requirement is mandatory unless the motorcycle has a protective windshield. The statute also requires motorcycles to be equipped with rear-view mirrors as well as the seat and footrests for the rider. Helmet use is mandatory for all motorcyclists under the age of 18.
  • A.R.S. § 28-955. The law puts restrictions on the noise produced by the engine and exhaust system of a motorcycle. Motorcyclists in Arizona are not allowed to modify their bikes to make their engines or exhaust systems too loud for reasonable people.
  • A.R.S. § 28-892. This statute requires motorcycles to have at least one seat for the operator. However, a motorcyclist can ride with a passenger as long as the motorcycle has a dedicated seat for that passenger.
  • A.R.S. § 28-924. Under this Arizona law, all motorcycles operated on public roads must have at least one but no more than two headlamps that provide adequate illumination.
  • A.R.S. § 28-3101. The statute requires anyone operating a motorcycle on public roads in Arizona to obtain a Class M license.
You need to understand all motorcycle laws in Arizona to ensure your safety and the safety of others and comply with all applicable laws.

What Are Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Arizona?

Arizona law requires all motorcycle riders to purchase and carry liability insurance. The minimum requirements for liability insurance for motorcycles are:
  • $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage
  • $10,000 in property damage coverage
Unfortunately, many motorists in Arizona disregard the mandatory insurance law, which may make the process of seeking compensation more complicated. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 12 percent of motorists in Arizona are uninsured. When an uninsured or underinsured motorist injures a motorcycle rider, they can protect themselves by purchasing uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) insurance coverage. Even if the other party involved in the accident has adequate insurance coverage in compliance with Arizona laws, obtaining fair compensation for your injuries and losses can be challenging. Insurance companies are for-profit organizations that do not profit from paying out injury claims, which is why they may attempt to undervalue or deny your claim. Consider hiring a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer to help you deal with the insurance company and protect your best interests.

Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents in Phoenix, AZ

Failure to follow traffic and motorcycle laws in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona increases the risk of a preventable motorcycle accident. Some of the most common accidents involving motorcycles include:
  • Left-hand turn accidents. These accidents occur when a motorcycle goes through an intersection and a driver who fails to keep a proper lookout collides and hits the bike when performing a left-hand turn.
  • Rear-end collisions. Arizona laws require all motorists, including motorcyclists, to keep a safe following distance by leaving an adequate amount of space between their vehicle (or bike) and the vehicle in front of them. Failure to maintain a safe distance may result in a rear-end accident.
  • Lane-splitting accidents. While Arizona laws make lane-splitting illegal, many motorcyclists split lanes in violation of the law, endangering themselves and others on the road.
  • Dooring accidents. Many motorcycle accidents occur when a driver or another vehicle occupant opens a door without looking and ends up hitting a motorcyclist.
  • Lane-change accidents. Arizona’s traffic laws require all drivers and motorcycle riders to use turn signals before changing lanes or turning onto another roadway. Failure to signal one’s intention to change lanes or turn can result in a road accident.
  • Speeding accidents. Under Arizona law, speed limits apply to all motorists, including motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, many motorists fail to obey speed limits and end up causing accidents due to speeding.
  • Impaired driving or riding. The driving under the influence (DUI) laws in Arizona apply to vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders. According to the official website of the Arizona Department of Transportation, the state prohibits operating automobiles and motorcycles with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or higher.
If you or your loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident, you might be entitled to compensation if you can prove that the collision was the result of someone else’s fault. Consider contacting a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer to help you prove negligence on the part of another party involved in the collision and assist you with seeking compensation for your losses and damages.

Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Laws in Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix Motorcycle Laws, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

What are the requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license in Arizona?

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (DOT), anyone over the age of 18 can obtain a motorcycle license, while minors between the ages of 16 and 18 can apply for a learner’s permit. A motorcycle license does not expire until the holder reaches the age of 65. Arizona law requires motorcyclists to update their photos and eye test every 12 years. People who want to apply for a motorcycle license in Arizona must fill out the Driver License Application. In Arizona, individuals need a Class M license to legally operate a motorcycle on public roads. Drivers who already have a valid license in Arizona must take the following steps to get a motorcycle endorsement:
  • Pass a written test
  • Pass medical screening
One of the requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license in Arizona is completing an MVD-approved motorcycle driver safety program. MVD stands for the Motor Vehicle Division, which is a division of the Department of Transportation. For minors, the requirement is to show a certified form completed and signed by a guardian.

How to register a motorcycle in Arizona?

All motorcycles in Arizona must:
  • Have a valid motorcycle insurance policy; and
  • Be registered with the MVD within 15 days of the purchase date.
Proof of insurance is a requirement when registering a motorcycle in Arizona, while registration is required to obtain a license plate for the motorcycle. Arizona makes it illegal to operate a motorcycle without a valid license plate and registration. Most dealerships obtain a license plate and registration on behalf of individuals who purchase motorcycles from them. However, those who purchase motorcycles from private sellers must take the necessary steps to register the motorcycle on their own.

Do motorcyclists in Arizona have the same rights as other motorists?

Motorcyclists must follow the same traffic laws as other motorists in Arizona. Motorcycle riders are entitled to the full use of a lane, which means drivers in Phoenix and other parts of the state are not permitted to pass a motorcycle using the same lane. Since motorcyclists in Arizona have the same rights as other motorists, they must:
  • Obey all traffic signals and road signs
  • Follow posted speed limits
  • Yield the right of way to pedestrians when required by the law
  • Yield the right of way to emergency vehicles when required by the law
  • Indicate their intention to change lanes or turn
  • Stay at the scene of the accident when a collision occurs
While motorcyclists have the same rights and obligations as other motorists in Arizona, the law also grants them an additional right. Motorcycle riders are permitted to use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane, regardless of how many passengers the rider is transporting.

Are motorcyclists in Arizona required to wear a helmet?

Arizona law does not require adult motorcycle riders or passengers to wear helmets. However, wearing a helmet is mandatory for operators and passengers under the age of 18. While helmet use is not mandatory for adult motorcyclists in Arizona, it does not mean that you should not wear one for your safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets reduce the risk of head trauma by 69 percent and reduce the risk of death in motorcycle accidents by 37 percent.

Is lane-splitting legal or illegal in Arizona?

Arizona law prohibits lane-splitting, or riding between rows of slowed or stopped traffic. Motorcycles can only share the same lane with other motorcycles as long as the number of motorcycles that ride side-by-side does not exceed two. Even though lane-splitting is not legal in Arizona, many riders pass vehicles using the same lane, especially on congested Phoenix roads during rush hour. If you were in a lane-splitting accident, contact a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer to help you determine fault and explore your options for compensation.

Are motorcyclists in Arizona required to wear protective equipment?

Yes, wearing a helmet is required for motorcycle riders and passengers under the age of 18. Adults, however, are not required to wear protective headgear. Motorcyclists and passengers of all ages must wear protective glasses, goggles, or a face shield. This is a mandatory requirement that applies to motorcycles not equipped with a protective windshield. Other types of protective equipment, including a jacket, pants, boots, gloves, and others, are not mandatory under Arizona motorcycle laws. However, wearing as much protective equipment as possible can minimize the risk of serious injuries and death.

Can motorcyclists in Arizona ride with passengers?

Yes, motorcyclists can ride with passengers as long as the motorcycle has a dedicated seat and footrests for the passenger. If the passenger is younger than 18 years old, the passenger must wear a helmet.

How long do you have to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident in Arizona?

In Arizona, the time limit to bring a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident - or any other accident, for that matter - is called the statute of limitations. Under A.R.S. § 12-542, victims injured in any type of traffic accident have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover damages. Failure to bring a lawsuit before the deadline passes can result in the loss of the right to sue the negligent party.
Abels & Annes 100 N LaSalle St #1710 Chicago, IL 60602 (312) 924-7575
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David Abels


David Abels has carved a niche for himself in the personal injury law sector, dedicating a substantial part of his career since 1997 to representing victims of various accidents. With a law practice that spans over two decades, his expertise has been consistently recognized within the legal community.

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