As a beautiful, scenic state, Arizona is a great place to ride motorcycles. Warm weather, beautiful landscapes, and miles of roads in our deserts make Arizona one of the most popular destinations for motorcycle riders. When it comes to riding motorcycles, it is essential to understand the motorcycle helmet laws of each state. Arizona motorcycle helmet laws are fairly straightforward, but did you know that wearing a helmet could affect your personal injury claim? In this blog, we outline Arizona helmet laws and how they could impact your motorcycle accident case.
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys act as staunch advocates for injured motorcycle riders. It’s important for drivers of passenger vehicles and large trucks to share the road with motorcycle operators. Unfortunately, negligence while driving has the potential to result in a serious motorcycle accident. If you were injured in a Phoenix motorcycle accident, our legal team is here for you. To schedule a free consultation about your case, please call our Phoenix lawyers at 602-910-4040 today.
Motorcycle Helmet Statistics and Facts
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, half of all motorcycle drivers involved in fatal collisions in 2016 were not wearing motorcycle helmets. In many cases, injuries and deaths in motorcycle accidents are preventable. Below, we outline recent CDC statistics regarding motorcycle safety and helmets.
- More than 5,500 motorcycle riders died in the United States in 2020.
- In 2020, over 180,000 motorcycle riders were taken to emergency departments for injuries sustained in an accident.
- In 2017, approximately 1,872 lives were saved by helmets. If all motorcycle operators wore helmets, another 749 lives could have been saved.
- In terms of efficacy, helmets are 37% effective for preventing driver deaths and 41% effective for preventing passenger deaths.
- If all motorcycle riders wore helmets, the United States could save an estimated $1.5 billion in economic costs each year.
- Wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce one’s risk of head injury by nearly 70%.
What Are the Arizona Motorcycle Helmet Laws?
It is crucial for each and every driver on the road to obey Arizona traffic laws. Not only is this important from a legal standpoint, but also to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. In addition to regular traffic laws, Arizona also has laws specific to motorcycles. We outline each of these statutes below.
ARS 28-903: Motorcycle Operations on Laned Roads
This statute outlines how motorcycles and other drivers must behave on the road together. Below, we outline the basic requirements as outlined in ARS 28-903.
- Motorcycle operators are entitled to the use of one full lane. This means that other drivers may not operate their vehicles in a way that restricts part of the lane for motorcycle drivers. The exception to this is when two motorcycles ride next to each other in the same lane.
- Motorcycle operators may not pass a vehicle in the same lane that the vehicle is driving in. They must use the other lane to pass vehicles.
- Motorcycle riders may not engage in lane splitting except in the following situations.
- The street is divided into at least two lanes in the same direction of travel.
- Speed limit does not exceed 45 miles per hour.
- The motorcycle driver does not exceed 15 miles per hour.
- Motorcycle operators may not ride next to more than one other motorcycle in the same lane. In other words, there may be only two motorcycles abreast in one lane.
- The above restrictions do not apply to police officers while they are performing their official duties.
ARS 28-964: Motorcycles and Equipment
Motorcycle drivers under the age of 18 must wear helmets while on a motorcycle. They must also wear protective glasses, goggles, or a transparent face shield while operating a motorcycle. The appropriate way to wear a helmet is defined in the following way.
“The safety helmet shall be safely secured while the operator or passenger is operating or riding on the motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle or motor-driven cycle.”
Motorcycles must also have a rearview mirror, seat, and footrests for the driver. The passenger must also have a seat and footrests.
ARS 28-955.01 and ARS 28-955.02: Noise Levels and Exhaust
Motorcycle operators may not operate their motorcycles with anything other than the original manufacturer’s muffler and noise reduction equipment. They also cannot use a muffler cutout, bypass, or other similar device.
ARS 28-892: Motorcycle Seating
Motorcycles must be equipped with seats for both the driver and the passenger.
ARS 28-924: Headlamps
Motorcycles must have headlamps.
ARS 28-3101: Driver’s License
Motorcycle drivers must have a Class M license to operate a motorcycle. Applicants must complete a motorcycle rider safety course and must have taken an approved motorcycle operator training course.
Is It Legal to Ride a Motorcycle Without a Helmet in Arizona?
There is technically no universal helmet law that requires the use of helmets in Arizona. However, anyone under the age of 18 is required to wear a helmet while driving or riding a motorcycle. Therefore, if someone is at least 18 years old, they are not subject to a mandatory helmet law.
Who Must Wear Helmets in Arizona?
The Arizona motorcycle helmet law only applies to riders and drivers who are under 18 years of age. Those who are at least 18 years old are not required to wear helmets. However, it is strongly recommended that every driver or rider wear a safety helmet securely fastened to their head. It is also recommended to wear eye protection (and required for those under 18).
Do I Need to Wear Other Types of Safety Gear in Arizona?
Minors are required to wear two types of protective gear when driving or riding a motorcycle: a motorcycle helmet and eye protection. Riders and drivers who are at least 18 are not required by Arizona motorcycle helmet laws to wear safety glasses or helmets. However, it may be a good idea for motorcycle drivers and riders to have the following types of protective gear.
- Motorcycle helmet
- Protective glasses, goggles, or other eye protection
- Protective windshield
Why Should I Wear a Motorcycle Helmet?
If Arizona motorcycle helmet laws do not require you to wear a helmet, why should you? When people wear helmets, their risk of head injury, eye injury, and face injury decreases significantly. In the event of a motorcycle wreck, the motorcycle is at a significant disadvantage when compared to larger, enclosed vehicles. According to data from the NHTSA, for every 100 motorcyclists who are killed in accidents, 37 of these individuals could have survived if they had worn a helmet. For your safety and for the safety of those around you, it is always a good idea to wear a helmet.
Can Wearing a Helmet Affect My Personal Injury Claim?
Insurance companies exist to make a profit, not to do what’s best for claimants. While only motorcycle drivers under the age of 18 are required to wear helmets, not wearing one could still affect your claim in other states. In Arizona, however, motorcyclists aged 18 or older cannot be found negligent because of their decision not to wear helmets.
Motorcyclists over 18 can still seek compensation from the party who caused the accident, even if they were not wearing a helmet. Even if the defendant tries to argue that your injuries would have been less severe with the use of a helmet, this does not matter under Arizona law. The liable party will not get out of paying what you are owed just because you weren’t wearing a helmet.
There is an exception for cases involving motorcyclists under 18 who were not wearing helmets. In this case, the at-fault party may be able to argue that the victim failed to mitigate possible damages by not wearing a helmet. This may lead to some of the blame for the accident being placed on the victim.
Were You Injured in a Phoenix Motorcycle Accident?
If you suffered serious injuries in a Phoenix motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Other drivers are expected to be on the lookout for and share the road with motorcycle drivers. When they negligently fail to do this, they could be held liable for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages the motorcyclist suffered in the accident. If the motorcyclist died in the crash, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Phoenix Today
If you are a motorcycle driver or rider who was injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. When you work with the attorneys at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, we will investigate the facts of your case, gather information and evidence to support your claim, and take your case to court if necessary. It is incredibly difficult to handle a personal injury claim on your own while you’re recovering from serious injuries. Let us handle all the hard work and negotiation while you focus on healing. To schedule a free consultation with the compassionate attorneys at YMLG, please call our office at 602-910-4040 today.