Personal Injury Lawyers, Gilbert, AZ

Motorcycle Safety Advocates Push for Policy Changes in Arizona

POV of a motorcyclist riding a bike at night around other vehicles on a city road.

Fatal hit-and-run shines spotlight on deadly motorcycle accidents

Arizona has passed significant laws to improve road safety, but some motorcycle and traffic safety community members want more.

A recent fatal motorcycle accident in Glendale brought attention to how the state handles hit-and-run accidents and the high rate of fatal bike wrecks. Devastated by a deadly hit-and-run near 67th Avenue and Mountain View Road in March, the victim's family and members of the community are calling for harsher penalties to deter accidents.

"Fatalities are going up ... accidents are going up, and we need to start paying attention," said Martin Hawkins' widow, Caserina. Unfortunately, she's right, and motorcycle riders are paying a high price. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, although motorcycles make up only 2 percent of vehicles involved in crashes, they make up 14 percent of fatal accidents.

Supported by safety advocates, Caserina Hawkins is using Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month this May to promote "Martin's Law" for safer streets. "It's not going to fix him, it's not going to bring him back, it's not going to save my pain or anguish, but it may save somebody else's,” she said in the news.

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Arizona motorcycle laws

Arizona is among the states at the forefront of motorcycle safety legislation. However, not everyone understands how the laws work. The state has two laws that advocates say could be more helpful in reducing motorcycle accidents with more driver education: Lane filtering and anti-distracted driving laws.

  • Lane filtering. In 2022, Arizona became the fourth state to allow lane filtering, which permits motorcycle riders to filter between stopped vehicles under certain conditions. The law allows riders to cruise slowly between lanes at speeds no faster than 15 mph if the other vehicles are stopped - but only on roads with two or more adjacent lanes in the same direction of travel and a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less. It does not allow riders to pass on the shoulder or the median. Under the law, filtering on anything but two-wheel bikes is illegal - no trikes, Spyders, slingshots, or sidecars allowed. Filtering on freeways and single-lane roads is also illegal. Weaving in and out of traffic while other vehicles are moving is prohibited. Safety advocates say that allowing motorcycles to filter between stopped vehicles prevents rear-end motorcycle crashes - which can be especially devastating for motorcycle riders. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s most recent data, 30 percent of all motorcycle crashes are the result of rear-end collisions.
  • Anti-distracted driving law. Since 2021, talking or texting on a cell phone while driving in Arizona has been illegal. To help drivers maintain focus on the road, making or answering calls is banned, as is sending or reading texts or viewing "internet data." Holding or supporting an electronic communication device with the body while operating a motor vehicle is also illegal. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who "didn't see" the bike they hit. With more focus on the road, drivers are less likely to "not see" motorcycles.

Martin's law

In Glendale, Caserina Hawkins is drawing attention to her proposal for safer streets. During an April event honoring Martin, she explained that to reduce the risk of fatal motorcycle accidents, Arizona should consider her proposal for "Martin's Law," which would:

  • Implement harsher penalties for hit-and-run drivers.
  • Require more frequent driver eye exams.
  • Mandate motorcycle awareness safety training for drivers.

In Arizona, a fatal hit-and-run is usually charged as a class 2 felony, with the potential penalty ranging from probation to 12.5 years in prison. Penalties increase if the negligent driver has a history of this type of behavior.

Fighting for injured bikers in Arizona

At Browne Law Group, we stand up for injured motorcycle accident victims throughout Arizona. Our firm can guide you through the legal process every step of the way. You’ll get regular updates on the progress of your case, and we will deal with the insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on what matters most—your recovery. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Gilbert or anywhere in Maricopa County, Arizona, learn more about how we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. A member of our team will review the details of your accident, go over your legal options for recovering compensation, and answer any questions you have.

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