Man in a Motorcycle with helmet and gloves is an important protective clothing for motorcycling throttle control, safety concept – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Somnuek saelim
Motorcycle drivers are plentiful in the Sunshine State. It’s no surprise why they are so popular. And while motorcycles are fun to ride, they are also very dangerous.
Any car driver in Florida can attest to the fact that they’ve seen a reckless motorcycle driver at some point in their life zipping through traffic and cutting people off. A percentage of those drivers also happen to operate their bikes without a helmet to protect them in case of a fall or crash.
According to a Florida Department of Transportation and Florida Department of Health Motorcycle Safety Report in 2018, 32% (183) of the total number of motorcyclist fatalities suffered traumatic brain injuries. This high percentage speaks to the incredibly vulnerable population of motorcyclists on Florida’s roadways that choose to ride without proper headgear protection.
But it’s not the rider’s fault that they are not responsible for wearing a helmet. In fact, it’s their choice.
Unlike car drivers in the state of Florida, motorcyclists have a different set of rules concerning their safety when operating a vehicle. For example, any person in a vehicle is legally required to wear a seatbelt, but a motorcyclist’s only layer of protection is a helmet, so a seatbelt is not a possibility. Even with just one layer of protection, Florida laws regarding motorcycle safety and helmets are very “Do what makes you happy,” so to speak.
Effective July 1, 2000, motorcyclists in the state of Florida received an exemption for wearing helmets while riding if they opted to do so. However, the exemption had two requirements:
- Riders must be 21 years of age or older and
- Be covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits (limited motorcycle medical coverage would suffice)
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department (FLHSMV), “personal injury protection (PIP) coverage under a personal passenger vehicle policy would be insufficient for either the operator or passenger on the motorcycle.”
However, just as bikers have the option to not wear a helmet but comply with the age and insurance requirement, those who choose to wear a helmet also have the option to be uninsured. If the rider is under the age of 21, then proof of insurance and the helmet are required.
Because motorcycle helmet safety is iffy in the state of Florida, it is important to remember that driving around bikers requires even more caution due to their unpredictable nature and lessened safety net.
Remember to always drive with caution and abide all Florida traffic laws.
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Terry is an avid Nascar fan who grew up attending races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, just down the road from his hometown of China Grove, NC. Terry currently resides in Wellington and has been writing for 15 years. He also enjoys watching the Road Runner Looney Tunes cartoon with his two sons in his spare time.