The answer to this question is both yes and no. Florida law generally requires protective headgear for motorcycle riders, but the statutes include exceptions to the rule.
Florida’s General Rule for Motorcycle Helmet Use
Florida Statute § 316.211 prohibits people from driving or riding on a motorcycle without a motorcycle helmet. The headgear must meet the federal standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
If a person wants to wear non-mainstream headgear while operating a motorcycle, he should make sure the item is compliant. USDOT is supposed to maintain a list of approved motorcycle helmets.
Motorcyclists must also fasten the head protection device securely. Merely placing the helmet on the head without properly fastening the straps is not sufficient to comply with the law.
Additional Required Equipment for Motorcyclists
Wearing an approved helmet does not, by itself, satisfy the equipment requirements of the Florida statutes for motorcycle riders. The person who operates the motorcycle must also wear eye protection that complies with USDOT standards. Ordinary sunglasses are not sufficient.
When driving a motorcycle, things like insects, dust, and road debris could strike the motorcyclist’s eye, causing an emergency. The motorcycle driver can experience the inability to see (for at least the short-term). In this dangerous situation, the risk of a crash increases, putting the motorcycle rider and other people on or near the roadway in harm’s way.
What You Need to Know About Helmet Laws for Children
Florida law requires all minors to wear helmets when operating or riding on motorcycles. Also, young adults must wear properly-fastened compliant head protection for several years after reaching the age of majority.
Everyone who is 15 years or younger must wear compliant head protection when driving or riding on a moped. Florida Statute § 316.211(4) does not provide any exceptions to this rule.
How Some Adults Can Legally Ride Motorcycles without Wearing Helmets
Beginning at age 22, a person may drive or ride a motorcycle in Florida without wearing a compliant head protection device if he carries the right insurance coverage. Between the ages of 18 and 22, a Florida adult must wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle.
Florida Statute § 316.211(3)(b) allows adults age 22 and older to travel by motorcycle if they maintain insurance that will pay at least $10,000 for medical expenses in the event of a motorcycle crash. This benefit would pay for $10,000 of the motorcyclist’s injury treatments.
One should not assume that $10,000 in medical benefit coverage will pay for all the losses a person might experience from a motorcycle accident. The purpose of a motorcycle helmet is to prevent or reduce the severity of head injuries in these crashes. The medical bills from a motorcycle accident head injury could far exceed $10,000.
Vehicles to Which the Motorcycle Helmet Laws Do Not Apply
If a person rides inside an enclosed cab, he does not have to wear a motorcycle helmet or protective eyewear. In addition, a person who is 16 years or older can ride certain low-power motorbikes without wearing compliant head protection devices or eye gear.
Florida Statute § 316.211(3)(a) defines these low-power motorcycles as:
- Having a 50 cc (cubic centimeter) motor or less, or
- Having a rating of 2 brake horsepower or less, and
- Cannot travel faster than 30 miles per hour.
Nothing prevents an operator or rider of a motorcycle, moped, low-power motorcycle, or enclosed cab from wearing a helmet and eye protection that complies with federal safety standards.
Motorized Scooters and Micromobility Devices
Florida Statute § 316.2128 treats a person who operates a micromobility device or a motorized scooter the same as someone riding a bicycle. The motorcycle equipment rules do not apply to these small, slow-moving, lightweight vehicles, so riders do not have to wear compliant motorcycle helmets or eyewear.
Getting Legal Help for a Motorcycle Accident
If you got hurt in a motorcycle accident, you might have a right to go after money damages for your losses. The law does not prohibit you from recovering compensation if you were not wearing a helmet, particularly if you fell within one of the exceptions to the helmet requirement.
Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers are passionate about helping people who sustain an injury due to the carelessness of others. Our clients can focus on getting better because they know that we are taking care of their legal matters. If we take your case, you will work directly with the partners of the law firm.
We handle personal injury cases like these on a contingency-fee-basis, which means that you do not have to pay upfront legal fees to get our help. You can call us today at (855) 529-0269 for a free, no-obligation consultation.