What Are the Laws in Florida Regarding Motorcycle Helmets?
Some will say, "As long as I have been riding, I never wore a helmet and I turned out just fine." Others will argue that they would never consider riding without one. The truth of the matter is the decision to wear a motorcycle helmet is a personal one that each rider must make for themselves. Most riders intimately know the dangers of riding and accept those risks as part of the experience. Each state has its own laws regarding motorcycle helmets, and Florida is no different. In this state, not all riders are required to wear a helmet while on a motorcycle. The following is a breakdown of the motorcycle helmet laws in this state.
Florida Motorcycle Laws
If you've stuck to riding in your home state of Florida, you may be surprised to learn that the laws here regarding motorcycle helmets are not as strict as in some other states. In fact, according to the State of Florida's website, only riders under the age of 21 are required by law to wear a helmet on public roads. The partial helmet law in Florida applies to both drivers and motorcycle passengers. This means that if you are over 21 and riding your motorcycle, you are not required by law to wear a helmet. There's a catch, however. If you choose not to wear a helmet while riding, you must have proof of medical insurance coverage with a limit of at least $10,000 in the event of an accident and must be valid in the state of Florida. For younger riders, the laws are stricter. Riders below the legal age of 21 must wear a helmet on public roads in Florida, including passengers. If you are caught riding without a helmet, you may be subject to a fine of up to $500.
Why the Difference in Laws?
Some states have "universal helmet laws." This means that all riders, regardless of age, are required to wear a helmet. So why doesn't Florida have such a law? Surprisingly, multiple states have actually repealed their universal motorcycle laws in the late 1990s and early 2000s in a bid to reduce DUI arrests. Today, only about half of the states still have these laws. Most states, like Florida, Connecticut, Delaware, and Illinois, have what is known as "partial helmet laws." In most cases, these laws exempt adults over a certain age from wearing a helmet, with the thinking being that these riders are more experienced and can make the decision for themselves. The rationale behind these laws is that they strike a balance between personal freedom and safety. Wearing a helmet while operating a motorcycle is always the safest option, but some riders feel that it should be their choice whether to wear one.
As we mentioned, there are several requirements you must meet in order to legally ride without a helmet in Florida. This is important because if you are involved in an accident while not wearing a helmet, any medical bills that exceed $10,000 will not be covered by your insurance. This can leave you hefty bills, or worse still, no insurance cover at all. In some cases, a failure to wear a helmet may be considered negligent and could result in a reduction of any damages you are awarded in the event of an accident.