Arizona Motorcycle Laws and Safety Tips
Riding a motorcycle comes with inherent risks, such as an increased risk of head and brain injuries in a collision. The greatest risk for motorcyclists, however, is driver negligence. In 2016, 3,104 motorcyclists were in accidents in the State of Arizona. Motorcycle accidents caused almost 2,600 injuries and took 144 lives. Many of these collisions occurred due to driver errors. You cannot control what other drivers do, but you can control your own actions. As a motorcyclist in Arizona, decrease your odds of getting into an accident by following a few safety tips.
Obey Traffic Laws
Motorcyclists are not exempt from the standard traffic laws of Arizona. They are equal to motor vehicles, with the same rights and responsibilities as other motorists. When you ride a motorcycle in Arizona, follow all the same traffic laws as you would if you were a driver. This includes speed limits, roadway signs, traffic lights and rights-of-way. Breaking any rules could increase your odds of getting into an accident. Weaving between lanes of traffic on the freeway, for example, could lead to a sideswipe accident if a driver does not see you.
Only Ride With a License
In Arizona, you need a special license to legally operate a motorcycle. Obtaining a motorcycle license takes passing a written and skills test. These could help you learn how to better operate your motorcycle. Skipping the necessary steps to obtain a motorcycle license could make you less equipped to handle the dangers of the road. Inexperienced and unlicensed motorcyclists can cause serious single-vehicle accidents. You must be at least 16 years old, have a learner’s permit for six months (if under the age of 18), complete a motorcycle safety program, spend at least 30 hours practicing, pass a written test and pass a medical screening for a motorcycle license.
Do Not Lane Split
Lane splitting is against the law in the State of Arizona. Although the neighboring state, California, permits motorcyclists to ride between two lanes of same-direction traffic, Arizona does not. Riding between lanes could lead to a traffic ticket and a fine for reckless riding. It could also cause a deadly auto accident. Motorcyclists must take up an entire lane rather than sharing lanes with motor vehicles. They may ride two abreast with other motorcycles in the same lane, however.
Wear a Helmet
According to Arizona Revised Statute 28-964, the only motorcyclists who legally must wear helmets are riders and passengers under the age of 18. Helmet-wearing is optional for adults 18 and older in Arizona. A helmet must fit the motorcyclist correctly and remain safely secured on the rider’s head while operating or riding. Motorcyclists must also wear face shields or goggles if their vehicles do not have windshields.
Although you may not legally have to wear a helmet as a motorcyclist in Arizona, doing so could save your life. Wearing a helmet can drastically reduce your risk of a life-threatening brain injury in an accident. While many motorcyclists believe accidents will never happen to them, it is impossible to plan for the negligence of other drivers. Wear a helmet to protect your face, head, skull and brain in the event of a motorcycle accident. Wear other safety equipment for added protection as well, such as a riding jacket, boots, gloves and reflective vest.
Whenever you take to the road on your motorcycle in Arizona, ride defensively. Pay attention to those around you and your surroundings. Assume drivers around you will not see your motorcycle or will break the rules, rather than assuming you are safe. Defensive motorcycling techniques could allow you to notice and react to a road hazard quickly enough to prevent an accident. If you do get into a motorcycle accident, work with a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer to help you fight for fair compensation for your injuries.