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Arizona Motorcycle Laws to Keep in Mind


Arizona motorcycle laws were made to protect motorcycle riders throughout the state. Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes is all about transportation. It is where you can find the general provisions for motorcycle operation and safety.

Arizona Motorcycle Laws on Licensing

Just like anyone else who operates a vehicle, motorcycle riders must have a valid license to drive on Arizona’s roads. To be allowed to drive a motorcycle, you need a Class M license and it comes with a fee. You must also pass the following tests to obtain a Class M permit:

  • General knowledge test (covers traffic laws, signals, safety)
  • On-bike skills test
  • Vision test
  • Other physical/mental examinations (if the department deems it necessary)

The On-bike skills test requires you to complete the circuit while doing the required maneuvers. You must also wear safety gear when taking the skills test.

If you have an out-of-state license, you may no longer need to comply with all of these requirements. The department may waive the exams if you already meet its qualifications.

How soon can you apply for a motorcycle license in Arizona?

According to the law, “A person who is at least fifteen years and six months of age may apply to the department for an instruction permit for a class M license. The department may issue an instruction permit to the applicant after the applicant successfully passes all parts of the examination other than the motorcycle skill test.” However, such a license is only valid for seven months until the rider turns sixteen. It is given only for instructional purposes, and not for riding on controlled-access highways. Moreover, license holders below 18 years old must also comply with parental certifications.

Riding off-road, meanwhile, does not require a license. You only need to wear a helmet and eye protection to ride a motorcycle off-road in Arizona.

Safety Gear Provisions


Arizona motorcycle laws only require motorcycle riders below 18 years old to wear a helmet. Though a bill requiring riders of all ages to wear helmets was proposed in 2019, it has yet to become law. Even if optional, we recommend that motorcycle riders wear one. While wearing a helmet, you have better protection against severe head injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proves this. In road accidents, motorcyclists who wear helmets have a 37% greater chance of survival than those who do not wear one.

In a motorcycle accident, however, the liable party’s insurer should not reduce your claim just because you were not wearing a helmet. Since helmets are only optional in Arizona (unless you’re a minor), it should not be a reason for denying your compensation. Injured in a motorcycle accident without a helmet? Call a motorcycle accident lawyer to defend you immediately.

Face Protection

ARS § 28-957.01 of the Arizona motorcycle laws requires windshields. Lack of which requires equivalent protective gear for motorcyclists. You may wear goggles, safety glasses, or transparent face shields. These types of face protection are subject to the approval of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division.

Bike Requirements

The Department of Transportation has three basic requirements for all types of motorcycles:

  1. Seat – All motorcycles must be equipped with a firmly fastened seat that is part of the vehicle’s design. Multiple passengers are not allowed to ride if there is no proper seat behind the driver.
  2. Footrests – Everyone who rides the motorcycle must have access to footrests.
  3. Handlebars – Handlebars must not be higher than the driver’s shoulders. The correct measurement is taken when the rider is in a normal sitting position. Also, the passenger must have access to the seat handlebars.

You may also be glad to know that Arizona motorcycle laws allow miscellaneous parts. You may use modulated headlights and radar detectors for your vehicle. The state does not prohibit in-helmet headphones or speakers.

To prevent wildfires on state and federal lands, the law requires motorcyclists to install a spark arrestor. For the state’s licensing test, you should equip your motorcycle with the following:

  • Taillights
  • Front and rear brakes
  • Horn
  • Two mirrors
  • Turn signals

In the absence of turn signals, you must do hand signaling instead.

Noise Regulation in Arizona Motorcycle Laws

There’s a certain rush of excitement as you rev up your engine.  The thrill comes with full throttle, but your motorcycle can only be as loud as Arizona allows you to be.

Depending on the year and model, there are maximum noise levels set for motorcycle mufflers. Other factors taken into consideration are speed, proper maintenance, and distance from the road lane. Threshold levels may fall between 76 to 88 dB(A) or A-weighted decibels.

Moreover, Arizona motorcycle laws regulate muffler modifications. As stated in ARS § 28-955.01: A person shall not operate or as an owner allow the operation of a motorcycle in this state that is not equipped with the manufacturer’s original muffler or other original noise reduction equipment or with a replacement muffler or replacement noise reduction equipment capable of reducing the noise levels below the maximum operating noise levels established pursuant to 40 Code of Federal Regulations section 205.152. 1. A person shall not use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device on a motorcycle operated in this state.


Arizona Motorcycle Laws on Lane Splitting

For many years, Arizona motorcycle laws prohibited lane splitting. Back then, motorcycles may not pass between rows of cars in the same lane. Also known as lane filtering, motorcycles cannot overtake the lane being used by the vehicle in front of them.

However, the governor signed a new law recently. The passage of Senate Bill 1273 now provides motorcycle riders to do lane splitting, with a few regulations. Therefore, Arizona has now become the fourth state to recognize lane filtering.

Lane splitting or lane filtering is no longer prohibited once the law takes effect. The sponsor of the bill believes that it will reduce motorcycle fatalities in Arizona. Through lane splitting, motorcyclists can now avoid being rear-ended. It is important to note, however, that this law only allows such practice at certain speed levels and traffic conditions.

Were you injured due to motorcycle lane splitting? You should consult a motorcycle accident lawyer to know how this new law will affect your claim.


Mandatory Insurance

Arizona requires liability insurance for all motor vehicles. The insurer must be an authorized business in the state. According to AZDOT (Arizona Department of Transportation), the minimum levels of coverage should be:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability for one person and $50,000 for two or more persons
  • $15,000 property damage liability

You should properly maintain your motorcycle insurance policy to avoid license and registration suspension. You need to verify your insurance status as it could affect claims if an accident occurs.


The abovementioned laws can help you become safer on the road. If you ever need to pursue a motorcycle accident claim, you now have a better understanding of the law. Never allow the liable party to undervalue your damages. If you know that you observed traffic rules and regulations, you should stand up for your rightful compensation. Our motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help you.





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