Florida Motorcycle Laws
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.”
Florida Statute 316.208 Motorcycles and mopeds.—
(1) Any person operating a motorcycle or moped shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
(2)(a) Any person operating a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
1. When overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this paragraph, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a moped and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(b) Any person operating a moped upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
(3) A person propelling a moped solely by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
(4) No person shall propel a moped upon and along a sidewalk while the motor is operating.
(5) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
Florida Statute 316.2085 Riding on motorcycles or mopeds.—
(1) A person operating a motorcycle or moped shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto, and such operator shall not carry any other person, nor shall any other person ride on a motorcycle or moped, unless such motorcycle or moped is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if designed for two persons or upon another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle or moped at the rear or side of the operator.
(2) A person shall ride upon a motorcycle or moped only while sitting astride the seat, with both wheels on the ground at all times, facing forward, and with one leg on each side of the motorcycle or moped. However, it is not a violation of this subsection if the wheels of a motorcycle or moped lose contact with the ground briefly due to the condition of the road surface or other circumstances beyond the control of the operator.
(3) The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and remain clearly visible from the rear at all times. Any deliberate act to conceal or obscure the legibility of the license tag of a motorcycle is prohibited. The license tag of a motorcycle or moped may be affixed horizontally to the ground so that the numbers and letters read from left to right. Alternatively, a license tag for a motorcycle or moped for which the numbers and letters read from top to bottom may be affixed perpendicularly to the ground. Notwithstanding the authorization to affix the license tag of a motorcycle or moped perpendicularly to the ground, the owner or operator of a motorcycle or moped shall pay any required toll pursuant to s. 316.1001 by whatever means available.
(4) No person shall operate a motorcycle or moped while carrying any package, bundle, or other article which prevents the person from keeping both hands on the handlebars.
(5) No operator shall carry any person, nor shall any person ride, in a position that will interfere with the operation or control of the motorcycle or moped or the view of the operator.
(6) A person under 16 years of age may not:
(a) Operate a motorcycle that has a motor with more than 150 cubic centimeters displacement.
(b) Rent a motorcycle or a moped.
(7) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
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.
Read: How To Settle Your Personal Injury Claim Without A Lawyer.
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
Florida Statute 316.209 Operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic.—
(1) All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane.
(2) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken.
(3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
(4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.
(5) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to police officers or firefighters in the performance of their official duties.
(6) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
Florida Statute 316.2095 Footrests, handholds, and handlebars.—
(1) Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passenger.
(2) No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars or with handgrips that are higher than the top of the shoulders of the person operating the motorcycle while properly seated upon the motorcycle.
(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
Florida Statute 316.211 Equipment for motorcycle and moped riders.—
(1) A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt this standard by agency rule.
(2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department.
(3)(a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
(4) A person under 16 years of age may not operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation.
(5) The department shall make available a list of protective headgear approved in this section, and the list shall be provided on request.
(6) Each motorcycle registered to a person under 21 years of age must display a license plate that is unique in design and color.
(7) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
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