There are a lot of motorcycles on Florida’s roads, with good reason – plenty of sunshine and scenic views make for ideal riding conditions throughout the state. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents happen all of the time in Florida, and the injuries that victims sustain are often life-threatening if not fatal. For safety purposes, Florida has placed a number of laws in place which motorcycle riders should be keen on. The personal injury lawyers at Koberlein Law Offices provide you with this brief overview on some key motorcycle laws in Florida, including what you can do if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle Operator’s License
Any operator of a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with an engine larger than 50 cc (except an autocycle – a three-wheeled vehicle with a seat or two and seat belts plus a steering wheel and roll cage) is required to have a motorcycle operator’s license. There are two options for being licensed to operate a motorcycle: you can either (1) hold a motorcycle-only restricted operator’s license or (2) add a motorcycle endorsement (extra authorization) onto your state driver’s license.
If you are a new motorcyclist just starting out in Florida, you must take the class BasicRiderCourse (BRC) or BasicRiderCourse updated (BRCu) through a state-authorized sponsor before you can add the motorcycle endorsement to your license.
Operators over 16 but under 18 years old have additional regulations, including a mandatory motorcycle operator’s course before they can get their license. Minors under 16 years old may not legally drive any motorized vehicle on Florida’s streets and roads, including any of the following two- or three-wheeled vehicles:
- Motor-powered scooters
- Motor-powered bicycles
- Motor-assist bicycles
Insurance – Unique Rules For Motorcyclists
Unlike four-wheeled vehicles, which must have personal injury protection and property damage liability insurance coverage at all times, motorcycles have more limited insurance requirements. If you are over 21 and follow Florida law by wearing an approved head-safety device securely fastened to your head, you can choose to operate without insurance. On the other hand, if you’re over 21 and choose not to follow the helmet law, you are required to maintain at least $10,000 of bodily injury coverage.
But even if it’s not required, it makes sense to maintain insurance coverage on you and your motorcycle. Most motorcycle insurance policies are relatively inexpensive. They can give you some peace of mind that you will have help with property damage repairs or medical bills if you end up in an accident.
Safety Gear Requirements
Unfortunately, Florida continually ranks in the top three states in the nation for motorcycle related fatalities. To combat these numbers, Florida has basic safety requirements for motorcycles and their riders.
Florida’s helmet requirement varies. If you’re under 21, a helmet is always required. If you’re over 21, you must wear a helmet or carry at least $10,000 of bodily injury insurance coverage.
Other safety requirements in Florida apply to all riders. For instance, you must wear approved eye protection at all times while riding. In addition, your motorcycle must be equipped with mirrors that let you see at least 200 feet behind the motorcycle.
Another safety requirement, which has been shown to improve visibility and help to avoid accidents with cars, is to have at least one headlight on your motorcycle. The headlight should be wired to turn on whenever your bike is running, since your motorcycle headlight must be on at all times when you are riding, whether day or night.
You will need to leave your music behind and just enjoy the sounds of the open road as you ride, however: wearing a headset, whether to communicate with your passenger or just to hear music, is not allowed while riding a motorcycle in Florida.
You are also not allowed to modify your bike to have loud exhaust. All bikes must have an approved muffler, and no motorcycle can have an exhaust system louder than the original equipment.
No Lane-Splitting In Florida
Some states, like California, allow what is called “lane-splitting,” or passing other traffic between two lanes. If you’ve been riding in California or another state that permits lane-splitting, you’ll need to kick those habits when it comes to riding in Florida.
Florida laws clearly forbid passing in the same lane as the vehicle that you’re overtaking, or riding between lanes of traffic or rows of vehicles. While it may be tempting to use that space along the divider line to get ahead of stalled or stopped traffic, it’s not worth the ticket if you get caught.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
For additional information about motorcycle injury lawsuits, it makes sense to speak with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer. Consulting with a personal injury attorney who handles motorcycle accident cases can enable you to know your legal options including how to get compensation from those who caused your injuries, damages or losses. The skilled motorcycle accident attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices are focused on helping injured victims recover compensation and get justice. We will carefully evaluate your circumstances and advise you on the best way to proceed. To get in touch with us at Koberlein Law Offices, call us toll-free at 877.556.2889 or contact us online.