Motorcycle accidents in Florida can result in serious, potentially life-threatening personal injuries. As a biker, it is important to take action to reduce your risks. Our West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyers want you to be aware of motorcycle helmet laws and other regulations for Florida motorcyclists designed to help protect you.
Florida motorcycle accident statistics
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), more than 9,000 motorcycle accidents happen throughout the state each year and other motorists are often to blame. Common causes in cases our West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyers handle include:
- Aggressive driving, such as tailgating, failure to yield, and improper passing;
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or medications;
- Running red lights or stop signs;
- Speeding and going too fast for road conditions.
Motorcycle accidents in Florida claim the lives of close to 600 people each year while leaving thousands of others suffering serious personal injuries. Common types of motorcycle accident injuries include broken bones, torn muscles and tendons, deep cuts and lacerations, crushing injuries, road rash, and injuries involving the back, neck, head, or spine.
Florida motorcycle helmet laws
Taking the proper precautions reduces your motorcycle accident injury risks. This includes wearing a helmet. Motorcycle helmet laws are listed under Section 316.211 of the Florida Statutes and require:
- Motorcyclists under the age of 21 must wear a helmet at all times;
- Motorcycle riders over the age of 21 do not need to wear a helmet if they have at least $10,000 in medical insurance;
- If you are riding a motorcycle with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or one rated at 2-brake horsepower or less that is incapable of going 30 miles per hour on level ground, you are not required to wear a helmet provided you are over 16.
Florida motorcycle equipment requirements
There are other types of equipment that can protect you against catastrophic personal injuries in a motorcycle accident or even prevent one from happening altogether. Florida motorcycle equipment requirements include:
- Safety goggles or other eye protection approved by the Department of Transportation must be worn at all times.
- Motorcycle handlebars must not sit any higher than the driver’s shoulders.
- A state-issued license plate must be affixed to the back of the motorcycle and be visible at all times. Different colors and designs reflect motorcycles registered to anyone under 21.
- Motorcycles must have working head, tail, and brake lights, turn signals, reflectors, and rearview mirrors installed on both sides.
- Motorcycle passengers must have a designated seat with attached footrests.
Among other requirements, you also need a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. To obtain one, you must have a valid Class E operator’s license and complete an approved motorcycle safety course sponsored through the FLHSMV. The cost to get a motorcycle endorsement is $7, in addition to the $48 Class E operator’s license fee.
Motorcycle insurance in Florida
Unlike other motorists, Florida motorcyclists are not required to carry no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. However, they are still required to be financially responsible for injuries and property damages others suffer in accidents for which they are to blame. To ensure these losses are covered, motorcyclists have three options:
- Obtain a Financial Responsibility Certificate after posting a surety bond with a state-licensed bond company;
- Obtain a self-insurance certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility, provided you can show evidence of sufficient income and capital.
- Obtain liability insurance through a licensed Florida insurance company.
The minimum amount of motorcycle insurance coverage in Florida is $10,000 per person/$20,000 for two people for bodily injury and $10,000 for property damages.
Rules of the road for Florida motorcyclists
In addition to the proper training, equipment, and insurance to protect yourself against motorcycle accidents in West Palm Beach, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road for Florida motorcyclists. These include:
- The right to use a full lane, the same as any other vehicle, as well as a full space in parking lots.
- The option to ride side by side with other bikers, provided you both stay within the perimeters of the lane.
- Lane splitting, which is when a motorcyclist attempts to pass traffic by going down the middle of the lane between two vehicles, is not allowed.
- All other traffic rules apply. This includes prohibitions against speeding, disregarding traffic signals, and driving distracted or under the influence, all of which increase motorcycle accident risks.
Injured in a Florida motorcycle accident? Contact Fetterman & Associates, PA
Despite following the motorcycle helmet laws and other regulations for Florida motorcyclists, personal injuries can still happen. When they do, reach out to the experienced West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyers at Fetterman & Associates, P.A. Our attorneys have been fighting for the rights of injured accident victims for more than 40 years, including those of Florida motorcyclists. Give us a call or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.