Florida Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience that many Floridians enjoy. However, motorcycle riders are at a significantly higher risk of sustaining severe or fatal injuries in the event of an accident, especially with Florida’s lax helmet laws.
Who Must Wear Helmets in Florida?
Since July 1, 2000, Florida has had a partial helmet law in place. This law requires motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets that meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) or those helmets which have been approved by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
However, there is an exception to this law – motorcycle riders over the age of 21, who have at least $10,000 of medical insurance coverage for injuries sustained as a result of a motorcycle accident, are not required to wear helmets while riding on Florida roads.
Requisite Helmet Specifications
While wearing a helmet is often left to an individual rider’s discretion, those who choose to wear helmets while riding in Florida must adhere to certain specifications outlined by law. Under Florida Statute 316.211, helmets must be manufactured to meet FMVSS standards, which outline specific design and safety requirements based on factors such as:
- Impact resistance
- Retention system strength
- Penetration resistance
It should be noted that not all helmets available for purchase meet FMVSS specifications. Riders should always take care to purchase helmets from reputable manufacturers and dealers to ensure that their equipment provides the necessary protection in the event of an accident.
Penalties for Violating Helmet Laws in Florida
Motorcycle riders who do not wear helmets while riding in Florida may face legal consequences if they are pulled over by law enforcement. The first offense for failing to wear a helmet in Florida is considered a non-criminal traffic offense and may result in a fine of up to $30. Subsequent offenses can result in increased penalties, as well as potential points added to the rider’s driver’s license.
Additionally, failure to comply with helmet regulations can have devastating consequences in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists who fail to wear helmets are at a significantly higher risk of sustaining severe or fatal injuries in the event of an accident. The financial repercussions of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident can be financially and personally devastating to the rider and his or her family.
Importance of Wearing a Helmet in Florida
While it is tempting for some riders to forgo helmets while riding, there are many benefits to protective headgear. Obviously, helmets can prevent or reduce head injuries in motorcycle accidents, which are often the most severe injuries sustained in such accidents.
In addition to reducing the severity of injuries in the event of an accident, helmets can also provide riders with protection from the elements – including wind, dust, and debris. This added protection can help riders stay alert and focused on the road, improving overall safety and reducing the risk of accidents caused by distractions.
In Florida, motorcycle riders may choose to wear helmets in keeping with the state’s partial helmet law, but following the law and wearing protective headgear can vastly increase rider safety on the road. Those not exempt who choose to ride without helmets may face legal and financial consequences in addition to the potentially life-changing physical effects of an accident. When purchasing and wearing helmets, riders should be sure to invest in helmets that meet FMVSS standards and come from trusted dealers. Whether required by law or not, wearing a helmet can significantly reduce risks on the road and increase motorcycle riding safety.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to call Smith, Ball, Báez & Prather Florida Injury Lawyers today at (561) 500-4357 for a free initial consultation.