Florida has some of the most lenient motorcycle helmet laws in the United States. While this might sound like a freedom rider’s paradise, it’s actually pretty dangerous. Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars, and not wearing a helmet significantly increases your risk of serious head injuries. Wearing a motorcycle helmet while riding a motorcycle is estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities, so it’s pretty clear they can save lives.
In Florida, under 16 motorcycle riders are mandated to have a helmet on at all times while riding motorcycles. Passengers on motorcycles are also required to wear helmets if they are under 16.
There is no law in Florida that requires adult motorcycle riders to wear helmets, provided they have a medical insurance policy that covers at least $10,000 in motorcycle injury benefits.
Some riders choose to wear helmets even though it is not required by Florida helmet laws. Even so, police will hardly ever stop a rider for not wearing a helmet if they are not breaking any other traffic laws, or if the rider is not a minor.
Helmet Law Requirements
Florida’s motorcycle helmet law is pretty simple: if you’re riding, you need to wear a helmet that meets Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. If you’re over 21 and have insurance, you can ride without a helmet, but your PIP (personal injury protection) and PDL (property damage liability) coverage is limited to $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.
PIP pays for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of whether you were at fault. PDL pays for damage to someone else’s property that you may have caused while operating your motorcycle. If the person riding the motorcycle was carrying a passenger, the PIP limit doubles to $20,000.
You are not required to have liability insurance if you are not at fault in an accident, but it is a good idea to have it to protect yourself in case the other driver is not properly insured.
Legal Ramification of Not Wearing a Helmet in FL
Not wearing a helmet is not a traffic violation in Florida. However, if you are involved in an accident and sustained injuries, not wearing a helmet could result in reduced compensation for your injuries.
For example, if you’re involved in an accident, and you’re not wearing a helmet, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to argue that your injuries would have been less severe if you had been wearing one. This is known as comparative negligence, and it’s a legal theory that allows the court to apportion damages based on the percentage of fault. So, if the court finds that you are 20 percent at fault for not wearing a helmet, then you can recover only 80 percent of your damages from the at-fault driver.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it can make a huge difference when you are dealing with high medical bills.
Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect yourself while riding a motorcycle, as it could save your life. However, if you choose not to wear one, there are some things you should be aware of in case you are involved in an accident. Make sure you have good insurance coverage so that you are protected financial-wise if you get hurt.