Every state has its own version of a motorcycle helmet law, and the details vary from state to state. Florida does allow adults to decide not to wear a helmet, but in the event of an accident involving a head injury, that decision may come back to haunt the rider.
Adult Motorcyclists and Helmets in Florida
Under Florida law, the general rule is that all persons riding a motorcycle must wear an approved helmet. However, anyone 21 or older can ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet if that person carries an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in coverage for injuries sustained while riding a motorcycle. If the rider does not have the required insurance, that adult rider must have a helmet that complies with Federal Motorcycle Safety Standard 218 of the US Department of Transportation.
What Else Is Required?
All persons operating a motorcycle must wear a state-approved eye-protective device. The device must consist of high-quality goggles, glasses with safety lenses, or a helmet with a built-in face shield. The lenses have to be free of scratches and shatterproof. If other than standard glasses are worn, the eyewear must be ventilated to prevent fogging of the lenses. Finally, the state prohibits the wearing of tinted eyewear after sunset.
What About Minors?
Minors do not have the out provided by the $10,000 insurance coverage exception. Children under 16 are also required to wear approved helmets while operating mopeds. However, they are not required to wear a helmet when operating motorcycles with an engine displacement of less than 50 centimeters or which are rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of achieving speeds greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
What Does DOT Standard 218 Require?
Under US DOT Standard 218, a helmet must.
- Limit impact attenuation, in other words, reduce the force of the impact by an approved amount
- Prevent penetration to the wearer’s head
- Stay on during an accident
What Are Some Other Requirements for a Helmet?
A helmet has to include cleaning instructions that use the following language and then recommend the allowable substances. “Helmet can be seriously damaged by some common substances without damage being visible to the user. Apply only the following: (Recommended cleaning agents, paints, adhesives, etc., as appropriate).”
Can Not Wearing a Helmet Affect My Claim in an Accident?
Florida is a comparative negligence state. This rule means that the other parties’ attorneys will attempt to portray your decision not to wear a helmet as negligence on your part which contributed to the extent of your injuries. This claim won’t matter if you broke your leg, but if you have a head or brain injury, the court could reduce your award by some percentage, reflecting your share of the negligence.
Call Us to Speak to a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today!
Eric Stevenson and Chris Klotz have years of experience handling motorcycle cases in Florida. Call 850-706-4538 in Pensacola to speak with an attorney about your motorcycle accident or injury today. Contact Stevenson Klotz Injury Lawyers for help with your motorcycle accident.
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Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.