The mild temperature in Maricopa County during the winter allows for recreational driving and activities that are not possible in other states with cooler weather. The 12-month average temperature for Maricopa County peaks at 72.1 degrees Fahrenheit, and precipitation is low during the cooler months. As thousands of Arizonans take to the road to enjoy the mild climate, the motorcycle is often the vehicle of choice. If you’re wondering, “Do you need a motorcycle license?” the answer is yes.
Why Do You Need a Motorcycle License in Arizona?
A license is just one step in the list of safety and legal protocols when it comes to riding a motorcycle on a regular basis. In 2021, there were nearly 2,600 motorcycle accidents in Arizona. These accidents are most likely to occur between 3 and 4 p.m., and 163 of them were fatal.
Of the vehicles registered in Arizona, motorcycles account for over 278,000 of them. As these vehicles become more popular, it is important that you have the appropriate registration, paperwork, licensing, safety equipment and training before you drive a motorcycle.
The state classifies a motorcycle as a vehicle that has only two or three wheels and has an engine more powerful than a moped, electric bicycle, scooter or e-scooter. You must have insurance on a motorcycle. State law requires the following coverage per accident:
- $25,000 / $50,000 of bodily injury liability
- $15,000 of property damage liability
What Does It Take to Get a Motorcycle License?
Do you need a motorcycle license in addition to a standard license? No, but to legally operate a motorcycle in Arizona, you must have a standard license with a class M certification that does not expire until you turn 65, although every 12 years you must update your eye tests and photos. There is not a separate motorcycle license, but rather the Department of Motor Vehicles adds the correction certification to a standard one.
There is both a written test and a skills test for a motorcycle license in Arizona. The state provides a manual for the written test. Anyone 16 or over can apply for a motorcycle certification on their license. Within Maricopa County, the Mesa/Gilbert and Glendale locations offer motorcycle testing.
Once you pass the written test for a standard license and a motorcycle certification, the motorcycle skills test is next. This allows you to demonstrate your riding ability for 10-15 minutes. You take the test on a closed, off-street track. Tests are not given during extreme weather or when safety conditions are bad.
Why Do You Need a Motorcycle License To Avoid Penalties?
Drivers must have the correct registration and license to operate any vehicle, so what happens when someone breaks the rules? States differ in how they deal with unlicensed drivers, but too many mistakes and suspension or revocation is a possibility.
Arizona’s specific motorcycles rules include the following:
- Anyone under 18 must wear a helmet along with goggles, glasses or a transparent shield.
- Motorcycles must have secure footrests and seats for passenger and driver.
- Motorcycles must have a headlamp.
- Drivers must have a class M certification to legally drive a motorcycle.
When you get pulled over and do not have the right classifications on your license, the penalty is often up to the law enforcement personnel who arrive on the scene and issue the citation. The punishment may depend on your history, the severity of the incident and the likelihood that the problem will happen again. Do you need a motorcycle license to avoid a ticket? Not necessarily, but it does show that you are responsible and know the rules.
Why Do You Need a Motorcycle License To Stay Safe?
One of the more sinister aspects of driving a motorcycle is the fact that riders are more likely to get hurt or injured by drivers of bigger and more enclosed vehicles.
Because motorcycle drivers are vulnerable on the road, any safety measures you can take will protect you from injury and even death. Motorcycles make up 14% of all traffic fatalities in the United States, although motorcycles make up only 3% of vehicles registered in the country.
Motorcycle riders are four times more likely to get injured than drivers of other vehicles, and 28 times more likely to die in an accident. Only a third of accidents occur in intersections, and just over 60% occur in urban areas.
While poor weather conditions hamper the motorcyclist’s driving ability, 97% of accidents occur when the weather is sunny and clear, and almost 60% occur during daylight. The reality is that motorcyclists must drive at a heightened state of alertness at all times to keep themselves safe, and a motorcycle license provides a driver with the knowledge and the skills to handle the roads.
What Should You Do If You’re Hurt In a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcyclists can limit their own risks by obtaining a class M certification on their license, wearing protective gear, increasing visibility and practicing safe driving skills. Even with these precautions in place, there are still accidents and deaths. After an accident, motorcyclists or witnesses should follow these steps:
- Get to safety and seek immediate medical attention
- Keep protective gear on until medical personnel can remove it
- Gather evidence and documentation about the accident and who was at fault
- File a claim with the insurance company
- Consider meeting with a lawyer
Do You Need a Motorcycle License To File a Lawsuit?
Some injuries do not show up for weeks, months or even years after an accident, leaving you with excessive medical bills for an accident that may not have been your fault. In the case of motorcycle accidents, it is important that someone examines all sides and the injured and their families receive compensation for property damage, medical bills, loss of income and even pain and suffering if someone dies.
Do you need a motorcycle license? Contact us at Sargon Law Group to learn more about motorcycle licenses in Arizona and what to do if you got hurt in a motorcycle accident. We will work with you and insurance companies to secure maximum compensation.