Florida Statutes Governing Motorcycles: Florida Motor Vehicles Code
Here are some of the statutes as they currently appear in Florida law that apply to those riding motorcycles, which are defined in Florida Statute 316.003 (22) as “[a]ny motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor or a moped.”
South Florida Biker Injuries – Florida Motorcycle Biker Risks and Rewards
There are many freedoms on the road for motorcyclists here in Florida, both on the road and off road. Coupled with Florida’s beautiful scenery and sunny weather, it’s no surprise that Florida hosts a number of annual bike rallies each year, as well as motorcycle rides for charity, swap meets, and bike shows. The annual Daytona Beach Bike Week ranks alongside South Dakota’s Sturgis Rally as the national top bike rally overall, with Florida bringing bikers the world to the State of Florida over to enjoy riding on Florida roads and enjoying scenes like those found on the Dakota Loop.
This means that not only do we have lots of visitors riding into Florida to enjoy traveling in our state, but we have lots of bikers who live here in Florida where the weather and the legal climate are amiable to motorcyclists.
Florida Helmet Laws – Motorcycle Helmets in Florida – Helmet Exemption
Many motorcycle enthusiasts are aware and welcome the lack of a uniform motorcycle helmet law here in Florida. Helmet laws do exist, however they are limited to certain specific and limited situations:
– On road in Florida: Under age 21 years old, you need to wear a helmet and you will be required to have a different license registration for your motorcycle so your bike can be easily identified on the road as being registered to someone under the age of 21; and
– Off-road in Florida: a Motorcycle Helmet is only required for those under the age of 16 who are on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle)
Today in Florida, you may get a “helmet exemption” if you are (1) at least 21 years old; and (2) have current medical insurance coverage that provides a minimum of $10,000 in medical benefits for biker injuries that happen in a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
“Many new to South Florida may enjoy the freedom of riding without a motorcycle helmet, but they need to know that law enforcement may still pull them over if they aren’t wearing a helmet and the police officer believes that the biker may be under the legal age limit of 21 years.”
– Alan Sackrin
Risks of Not Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet – Biker Injuries or Deaths and Helmets
There are many valid arguments made by motorcyclists against wearing helmets; bikers can be valiant in their defense to ride without a helmet. Florida respects this; however, bikers need to be aware not only of the rewards in riding a motorcycle without a helmet but the risks as well.
First, there are the obvious medical arguments for motorcycle helmets:
– Traumatic brain injuries
– Spinal cord injuries
Risks and Rewards – Riding Without a Motorcycle Helmet in Florida
Second, there are also the additional legal hurdles when legal claims are made. In any negligence case, there is the element of causation. What caused the accident, what caused the injuries? When a biker decides to ride without a helmet and there is an accident, then the insurance carrier and the defense attorney may try to use that decision against that biker, arguing that he shares some if not all of the blame for what has happened because he failed to wear a helmet. Even if the law does not mandate its use, this defense tactic can be used against someone already seriously injured and sadly, sometimes in suits brought by grieving families in wrongful death cases.
In Florida motorcycle cases, it’s important to have both knowledge of the laws and to have a fierce advocate on your side when a claim needs to be pursued for injuries in a motorcycle crash – especially when there are serious injuries, or a fatality is involved.
Alan Sackrin is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has practiced in the Fort Lauderdale area for over 30 years. His career as an attorney has been dedicated to helping injury victims and he never charges for an initial consultation with someone who is interested in learning more about their situation and possible legal claims and legal rights.
“I never charge for an initial consultation and our offices take pride in being able to arrange things for the client’s convenience: sometimes it’s best to meet in person, sometimes it’s better to talk over the phone.”
– Alan Sackrin
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