Navigating the open roads in Arizona on a motorcycle can be a thrilling journey, filled with breathtaking landscapes. However, it’s key to understand and adhere to all motorcycle license laws within the state for your safety and that of others sharing the roads.
Education about these regulations prepares riders by setting clear expectations while operating motorcycles on public streets or highways. This knowledge also becomes crucial in the unfortunate event of an accident, where immediate and subsequent actions may impact any legal claims or compensation sought afterward. Below are some of the motorcycle license laws you should be aware of.
In Arizona, obtaining a motorcycle license revolves around strict prerequisites set by the Department of Transportation. Applicants must be at least 16 years old and those under 18 are expected to first secure an instruction permit.
With this permit in hand, the applicant is required to complete six months of controlled practice coupled with logging a minimum of thirty hours on the road.
This initial learner’s permit stays valid for 7 months, providing ample time to acquire the skills necessary to obtain a license.
Arizona riders over the age of 18 follow a slightly different path to obtain a “Class M” motorcycle license. Applicants who already possess an Arizona driver’s license do not need to get a motorcycle permit in order to apply for their Class M license.
Nonetheless, they must successfully complete a skills test—a critical requirement aimed at ensuring riders have sufficient handling and safety capabilities before hitting the roads by themselves.
Driver’s licenses in Arizona have designations by class reflecting the driver’s experience and age—each suited for different circumstances.
Class M: This license permits the operation of motorcycles. You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a Class M motorcycle license (after you have your permit).
“A motorcycle license or endorsement is required to operate a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a motorcycle license or endorsement.
An applicant for a motorcycle license or endorsement who is under 18 must have held an Arizona instruction permit for at least six months. The permit must be valid at the time of application. An applicant must also have satisfactorily completed a motorcycle driver education program that is approved by MVD, or the parent or guardian must certify in writing that the applicant has completed at least 30 hours of motorcycle riding practice.”
Class G: A Graduated Driver License qualified with a motorcycle endorsement caters mostly to teen motorists (at least 16, but under 18). This is a driver’s license for the teen to operate any non-commercial vehicle, and they can then get a motorcycle endorsement on it when appropriate.
“A Graduated Driver License with a motorcycle endorsement is issued to an applicant who is at least 16, but less than 18 years of age and is valid to operate any vehicle that does not require a commercial license.
The applicant must have held both an Arizona graduated instruction permit and an Arizona motorcycle instruction permit for at least six months. The permits must be valid at the time of application. An applicant must also have satisfactorily completed both a graduated and a motorcycle driver education program approved by MVD or the parent or guardian must certify in writing that the applicant has completed at least 30 hours of motorcycle riding practice.
An applicant holding an out-of-state driver license with a motorcycle endorsement is exempt from the driver education / driving practice and instruction permit requirements.
The holder of a graduated license is not required to obtain an operator license at age 18, but may choose to obtain one.”
Class D: A class D operator license with a motorcycle endorsement gives drivers extensive road rights. Not only does this allow an individual to operate motorcycles, but also any other vehicles that don’t require commercial licenses. The minimum age for this type of license is 18.
“An operator license with a motorcycle endorsement allows you to drive any vehicle that does not require a commercial license. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for an operator license.”
It is important to understand additional rules and regulations you must adhere to when operating a motorcycle in this state.
Arizona’s motorcycle helmet law, which is captured under ARS § 28-964, specifies that all individuals under the age of 18 who are either operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle must wear a protective helmet.
“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.”
When choosing a helmet for use in Arizona, keep in mind that there are two types allowed: three-quarter helmets and full-face helmets. However, whichever type you select needs to comply with both Department of Transportation regulations and state standards. Essentially this means the helmet should fit your head snugly without any inherent defects.
Violating this particular law carries fines between $25 and $75 for a first offense, but these amounts can increase for subsequent incidents.
In addition to wearing a helmet, the law also requires motorcyclists to wear eye protection at all times when operating their bikes in Arizona. Eye protection could be in the form of safety glasses, goggles, or even a transparent face shield.
However, if your motorcycle includes a permanent protective windshield or windscreen already installed on it, then wearing additional eye protection isn’t required by law.
“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.”
Understanding and navigating laws pertaining to motorcycle operations can be complicated. If you have further questions, or if you’ve been involved in a Phoenix motorcycle accident, it would be beneficial to consult with a legal professional as soon as possible. A lawyer who specializes in Arizona’s vehicle and traffic law would provide the necessary advice regarding your rights and potential liabilities. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.