Florida Motorcycle Laws

Florida motorcycle laws cover a range of topics. Operator licensing, gear requirements and movement in traffic are all regulated by state law. Anyone riding a bike needs to know the rules. The Stevenson Klotz Injury Attorneys answer your questions about Florida motorcycle laws.

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1.    What is the Florida motorcycle helmet law?

Florida law § 316.211 states that operators over the age of 21 may operate without a helmet if they have at least $10,000 in medical insurance benefits on their motorcycle insurance policy. All drivers must have basic liability insurance whether they have medical insurance benefits or not. For drivers over 21 who wish to ride without a helmet, they must also have $10,000 minimum in medical insurance benefits.

2.    Do you need a motorcycle endorsement in Florida?

Florida law requires you to have a motorcycle endorsement to ride. Under Florida Stat. § 322.03(4), operating without the proper endorsement is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The only exception is an autocycle as defined in Florida Stat. § 316.003(2). It is possible to have a motorcycle-only license without being authorized to drive other motor vehicles.

3.    Do you have to have liability insurance on a motorcycle in Florida?

Liability insurance is required on all motorcycles in Florida. Motorcyclists must carry at least $10,000 per person bodily injury, $20,000 per occurrence bodily injury, and $10,000 property damage coverage. It is optional to purchase uninsured and underinsured coverage in addition to liability insurance.

4.    Is a motorcyclist in Florida subject to the rules of the road?

Florida Stat. § 316.208 requires motorcyclists to follow the rules of the road. They have the same rights and duties as others on the roads except where there are special laws for motorcyclists. Other drivers must grant motorcyclists the full use of a lane. Motorcyclists must obey traffic signals and follow the regular flow of traffic.

5.    Can motorcyclists ride side-by-side in Florida?

Florida law allows motorcyclists to ride side-by-side in a lane with another motorcyclist. They are not required to share a lane. Other motorists must give motorcyclists the full use of a lane. Only motorcyclists may lane share with each other. No more than two riders may share a single lane. It is a non-criminal moving traffic infraction to violate motorcycle lane use laws. (Fla. Stat. § 316.209.) 

6.    Can you listen to music on a motorcycle in Florida?

It is against the law to operate a motorcycle while wearing a headset in Florida. The only exception is for a hearing aid. (Fla. Stat. § 316.301(1).)

7.    Is eyewear required to ride a motorcycle in Florida?

Eyewear is required for operating a motorcycle under Florida Statutes § 316.211(2). The rule applies whether or not the operator chooses to wear a helmet. The requirement does not apply if the person is riding within an enclosed cab.

8.    Are headlights required for motorcycle operation in Florida?

All motorcyclists must always use their headlights, even during the day. Florida law § 316.405 makes it a non-criminal moving violation to fail to use headlights properly.

9.    What is the definition of a motorcycle in Florida?

Florida Statutes § 322.01 defines a motorcycle as having:

  •     No more than three wheels
  •     Motorized power
  •     A seat and saddle
  •     Displacement of no more than 50cc

Tractors, tri-vehicles, and mopeds are excluded from the definition of a motorcycle.

10. Can local governments make more restrictive laws for motorcycle operation than Florida state laws?

In general, the Florida state laws that govern motorcycle licensing and operation are comprehensive. Local authorities cannot impose stricter requirements. They have tried – In Classy Cycles Inc. v. Bay County, the courts heard a case where local authorities passed additional laws for motorcycle operation in their respective jurisdictions. They sought to require certain riders to wear green vests that said “RENTAL” on the back. They also sought to impose additional insurance requirements.

The court rejected the local laws. They said that the state legislature passed laws to promote uniform traffic rules throughout the state. They clarified that in some circumstances, a municipality may need to pass specific ordinances to regulate the flow of traffic. However, they said that the state statutes preempt local ordinances specific to motorcycle safety gear and insurance requirements.

11. What components are required for motorcycles in Florida?

To be roadworthy in Florida, a motorcycle must have:

  •     Footrests for the passenger (if carrying a passenger)
  •     Handlebars that are not higher than the top of the shoulders of the operator while the operator is properly seated
  •     At least two stop lamps
  •     Turn signals (You must have blinking turn signals. Arm signaling is insufficient.)
  •     Rear side-view mirrors
  •     Daytime headlights
  •     A license plate

A violation of Florida Statutes § 316.2095 or § 316.222 is a non-criminal, non-moving traffic violation.

12. Is failing to wear a motorcycle helmet in Florida negligence if there is a car accident?

Currently, it is not clear how failing to wear a motorcycle helmet factors into negligence in the case of a car accident in Florida. Usually, a motorcyclist wearing a helmet or not has little to do with how an accident occurs. If anything, failing to wear a helmet impacts the severity of injuries and the amount of damages.

Florida law allows a jury to view failing to wear a seatbelt as comparative negligence. But the circumstances are different – Florida law requires seat belts, and a specific law says failing to comply may be considered comparative negligence. But when it comes to motorcycle helmets, as long as the rider meets the age and insurance requirements, they may be completely legal to operate without a helmet. In the future, the courts may clarify how failing to wear a motorcycle helmet impacts a car accident claim.

13. Can a motorcyclist recover financial compensation when they are in an accident?

Florida motorcyclists have the same rights as other vehicle operators on the road. That means they have the right to claim financial compensation when they are the victim of an accident. If you have injuries that meet the threshold created by Florida law, you may claim compensation from those responsible.

Liability can apply to any driver or even to another party. It applies to any party whose actions contribute to the accident. All drivers have an obligation to operate safely under the law. When they fail to meet the legal standard of reasonable care, an injured motorcyclist may claim compensation for a range of damages, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Motorcycle Injury Attorneys

At Stevenson Koltz, our motorcycle accident lawyers understand the motorcycle accident laws that apply in Florida. We stand up for the rights of motorcycle accident victims. We are committed to quality work and personal attention as we navigate complex legal issues on your behalf. Contact us today to talk about your motorcycle accident claim.

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