If an adult meets certain insurance standards under their motorcycle policy, Florida law does not require that person to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. Most bikers are safer riders and yet, sadly, they can still get hurt by careless motorists. Everyone needs to understand that, helmet or not, bikers are legal and safe as long as all drivers follow the rules of the road.
Florida Statute 316.211 provides:
(1) A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt this standard by agency rule.
(2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department.
(3)(a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
(4) A person under 16 years of age may not operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation.
(5) The department shall make available a list of protective headgear approved in this section, and the list shall be provided on request.
(6) Each motorcycle registered to a person under 21 years of age must display a license plate that is unique in design and color.
(7) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
The Tampa Tribune reported Sunday morning that a young man and young woman were injured in a high speed motorcycle crash at 2:46 a.m. in Winter Haven when the motorcycle hit a curb. Both were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center by ambulance. The man is in critical condition and the woman is stable. At the scene the passenger told investigating officers that the driver was speeding but she did not know how fast he was going.
We have represented and helped a lot of people hurt in motorcycle crashes and inevitably the insurance companies and defense attorneys who defend these cases point to the comparative negligence of the motorcycle rider. Speed, reckless conduct and not wearing a helmet can cause a jury to apply fault to the rider even under circumstances where the rider was not at all responsible for causing the crash.
To all the riders out there, ride free! And, also, please be safe.
Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. – Orlando injury attorneys