Florida Motorcycle Laws
With Florida’s gorgeous scenery and beautiful year-round climate, it’s no wonder that so many motorcyclists fill our streets and highways. However, in order to safely enjoy their rides, motorcycle operators and their passengers must follow all of the rules of the road, including Florida laws which apply specifically to motorcycles. Here, we provide an overview of those laws.
Unfortunately, even a cautious, law-abiding motorcyclist can be the victim of someone else’s careless or reckless behavior. If someone else’s negligence caused you to suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident, it will be important for you to get legal help as soon as possible. At Englander Peebles, we can provide the legal representation that you need in order to pursue full and fair compensation. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.
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Florida’s motorcycle helmet laws are covered under Florida Statutes § 316.211. These laws do not require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Only riders or passengers under the age of 21 must wear a helmet at all times. A motorcyclist who is age 21 or older can ride without a helmet only if he or she carries a medical insurance policy with a minimum of $10,000 in coverage.
Regardless of what the law requires, motorcyclists of any age should wear a helmet at all times. One study found that helmets are 37 percent effective when it comes to saving lives in motorcycle accidents. In other words, you can reduce your risk of suffering a fatal injury in a motorcycle crash by more than one-third if you wear a helmet.
Wind, bugs, and debris can whip past a biker’s face at very high speeds and impair his or her vision, which can lead to a catastrophic accident. For this reason, Florida motorcycle eye protection law on motorcycle requires that all motorcycle operators and passengers wear eye protection at all times. The type of eye protection which a biker chooses to wear may include:
- Helmet eye shield – Although federal safety standards do not require motorcycle helmets to have an eye shield, many of them do. The best ones are those that fully enclose your face and seal the front of the helmet. This design protects the face from debris and water, which can be distractions when riding.
- Eyeglasses – When heading out on a bike, you cannot wear just any glasses or sunglasses. They must meet the minimum ANSI-Z87 standards. Motorcyclists should have at least a couple of pairs for different driving conditions such as when riding at night and when riding during the daytime.
- Goggles – Goggles must meet the same minimum standards as eyeglasses. They offer more protection than glasses due to the fact that they wrap entirely around the head. The goggles should fit snugly against the face. They are recommended for motorcycle riders that wear contact lenses.
All motorcycles in Florida must be equipped with one working headlight. This requirement is an important one. It not only allows motorcyclists to see the road ahead of them, but it also alerts other drivers to their presence. The laws on nighttime use of the headlight for bikers is the same as it is for other drivers. The light must remain on at all times when the motorcycle’s motor is running. Low and high beams can be used.
The law is different for motorcycles during the day. While other motorists can choose whether they turn on their headlights during the day, motorcycles must always keep their headlight on. The purpose of the law is to increase a motorcycle’s visibility. After all, many crashes occur because motor vehicle drivers simply fail to see a motorcyclist.
Florida law requires all motorcycles to have turn signals on both sides and to have signal lights at the front and back of the motorcycle. The turn signals allow other motorists to predict what you are doing on the roads, and in this sense, they help to prevent accidents.
Florida is one of 48 states that allow two motorcyclists to ride side-by-side in a single lane. However, lane splitting is otherwise prohibited under state law. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist weaves in and out of traffic – often traveling down the center of traffic between two lanes. This is illegal in Florida, and any motorcyclist found lane splitting will likely be found liable in case of an accident.
Florida law does not require motorcycle operators to have insurance when they register their bikes. However, if a rider is charged in a crash, the driver will need to show proof of financial responsibility. You can do this in one of three ways:
- Liability insurance – Most riders choose this option because it offers them financial protection if they should ever cause a wreck. The policy must provide at least $10,000 per person ($20,000 per accident) in bodily injury liability and $10,000 per accident in property damage liability. If you carry liability insurance, then it is advisable to also carry uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance.
- Financial responsibility certificate – You can obtain this certificate if you post a surety bond with a state-licensed company.
- Self-insurance certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility – You can get this certificate if you can show that you have sufficient assets to cover the damages you may cause in a crash.
If you do not have proof of financial responsibility, you can face serious penalties in Florida, including the loss of your motorcycle license and registration.
Typically, after an accident in Florida, you would file a no-fault insurance claim with your own insurance company. However, our state’s no-fault laws do not apply to motorcycles. So, in order to recover compensation after a crash, you must bring a claim against the at-fault driver.
Talk to a Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been involved in an accident on your bike, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and more. Contact Englander Peebles today to learn more about your rights and options in a free consultation.
Warren Q. Peebles is a Missouri native and Truman State University graduate who was inspired to become a lawyer by his family’s experience after his father suffered life-changing injuries in a car accident. Warren went on to graduate from the Stetson University College of Law and began to practice personal injury law. He joined forces with Gary B. Englander in 2016 to create Englander Peebles, and he has since focused on building the firm’s reputation for litigation excellence and excellent client service.