Arizona Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Arizona Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Arizona has three of the sunniest cities in the United States. This makes it the perfect place to enjoy a summer vacation. Summer is notorious for encouraging people to let down their hair and have a good time after months of being bundled up in various layers of clothing due to the cold weather.

One exciting way to do that is to get on your motorcycle and zoom down the highways, feeling the blissful wind in your face and your hair. Let’s face it – that feeling is one of the best in the world. Unfortunately, as impressive as it is, riding a motorcycle is also fraught with dangers, especially if a rider does not take proper precautions.

This said, proper precautions do not always prevent a motorcycle from being in an accident. However, it does mitigate the degree of injuries a motorcycle rider is likely to sustain while also preventing death – to a large extent. One of such precautions is the use of helmets while riding motorcycles.

The United States Department of Transportation reports that using helmets while riding motorcycles saves at least 1,859 lives each year. In Arizona, of all the motorcycle accidents in 2017, only 23.3 percent of motorcycle riders who were wearing a helmet were severely or fatally injured. In contrast, 36.1 percent of motorcycle riders who operated their motorcycle without a helmet were severely or fatally injured. This article discusses Arizona motorcycle helmet laws and how they may apply to you as a motorcycle rider in Phoenix, Arizona.

Why should you wear a helmet when riding your motorcycle in Arizona?

There is a school of thought among motorcyclists that believes that using a helmet while riding your motorcycle is restrictive. By design, helmets have blind spots; thus, a rider needs to constantly use his or her mirrors or keep looking around to get a good vision.

This school of thought argues that while helmets may prevent you from sustaining head injuries in a crash, it also naturally limits visibility, thus increasing the chances of being in a crash in some situations. They say that using a helmet while operating your motorcycle is akin to trading one risk for another.

Riding without helmets also bestow the aesthetic benefit of feeling the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. The thrill of the experience is enough for some motorcyclists to choose the risk of riding without helmets. Also, many motorcyclists believe that the choice of using a helmet while riding should be yours alone and that the government should not dictate what risk you should expose yourself to as a private citizen.

Despite these different arguments against enforcing the use of motorcycle helmets, the facts are that using a helmet while operating a motorcycle reduces the chances that a motorcyclist will sustain severe or fatal injuries in an accident.

Wearing a motorcycle helmet increases your chances of surviving a crash – statistics.

The Department of Transportation (DoT) has a standard that helmets must meet before they can approve them for use.

A DoT-approved helmet that is appropriately fitted can reduce the risk of a fatal head injury in a motorcycle accident by up to 37%.

When a helmet is worn the way it is designed to be worn, it reduces the risk of severe head injuries by up to 67%.

Disadvantages of riding motorcycles without helmets

  • Riding a motorcycle without a helmet has some significant disadvantages, the least of which is running afoul of the law. Other disadvantages are that if an accident happens with a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet at the time, the motorcyclist faces a threat of more severe injuries with a more complicated recovery process.
  • It may become more challenging to file a motorcycle accident claim with the motorcyclist’s insurance company.***
    ***Auto insurance companies may make helmet use a requirement for policyholders’ coverage to take effect after an accident.

What are Arizona Motorcycle Helmet Laws?

In Arizona, a motorcyclist who is under the age of 18 is mandated to wear a helmet. This law is covered in Arizona Revised Statute Title 28, and it states that: “An operator or passenger of a motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, or motor-driven cycle who is under eighteen years of age shall wear at all times a protective helmet on the operator’s or passenger’s head in an appropriate manner.  The protective helmet shall be safely secured while the operator or passenger is operating or riding on the motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle or motor-driven cycle.”

While the above law is targeted at motorcyclists under 18 and cannot be enforced for motorcycle operators and passengers above 18, the statute also requires that every motorcyclist wear eye protection. “An operator of a motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle or motor-driven cycle shall wear at all times protective glasses, goggles or a transparent face shield of a type approved by the director unless the motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle or motor-driven cycle is equipped with a protective windshield.”

In 2019, a new bill, House Bill 2246 (HB 2246), was introduced by the Arizona House of Representatives. The new bill proposes to require all motorcycle operators and passengers regardless of age to wear motorcycle helmets while operating their motorcycles. With this new law, police officers would not be permitted to stop a motorcyclist simply for not wearing a helmet. If the motorcyclist commits a different traffic violation while not wearing a helmet, the person would be liable to pay a fine of $500.

However, the law provided that a motorcyclist could pay a one-time fee and register their motorcycles to be exempted from the motorcycle helmet requirement.

Getting compensated in a Phoenix motorcycle accident when you are not wearing a helmet

If you or your loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident due to the other party’s negligence, you are entitled to some form of compensation. You may be eligible to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages will compensate you for expenses with a tangible dollar value such as medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, etc.

Non-economic damages compensate you for intangibles such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of quality of life, etc. If you lost a loved one to a motorcycle accident, you could seek compensation for wrongful death. Compensation for wrongful death may include reasonable funeral and burial costs and loss of your loved ones’ support and companionship.

Arizona is a comparative fault state and follows a pure comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases. What this means is that if you were in a motorcycle accident and can be partly blamed for the accident, and this can reduce your damages based on the degree of your fault.

Comparative negligence is a favorite argument raised by insurance companies, who will like nothing better than to avoid paying out a claim. If a motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet in a motorcycle accident, they typically cite the absence of a helmet as negligence on the motorcyclist’s part. Thus, they conclude that the motorcyclist was partly at fault for his or her injuries.

Seek expert help: reach out to our motorcycle accident lawyers today

We have a team of hardworking, knowledgeable lawyers who will use aggressive negotiating tactics and strong litigation skills to fight for your rights during negotiations or in the courtroom. We will work diligently to ensure you receive a high settlement or award.


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