Important Motorcycle Laws for Florida Bikers
Posted on behalf of Gordon & Partners on Jul 25, 2017 in Motorcycle Accidents
Many people love the openness and the fresh air they enjoy when riding their motorcycle. However, motorcyclists are at an increased risk of being injured or killed if they are involved in an accident due to the lack of exterior protection offered by the vehicles.
Because of this, there are a number of rules and regulations that motorcyclists must adhere to under Florida law. Our West Palm Beach motorcycle attorneys are well-versed in these motorcycle laws and how they affect riders. If you have been injured in an accident, do not hesitate to contact our team to learn more about your legal rights.
Motorcycle License Requirements
In order to receive a motorcycle license in Florida, individuals must meet a number of requirements, including the following:
- Be at least 16 years old – Only individuals 16 or older can apply for a motorcycle license. If under 18, the driver must hold a learner’s license for at least 12 months.
- Hold a Class E license – The driver must have a valid driver’s license to obtain a motorcycle endorsement.
- Pass the vision, road sign and road rule examination – Motorcyclists must pass this test if they do not hold a current driver’s license.
- Complete a motorcycle safety course – The driver must complete an approved safety course and provide proof of completion. If the driver has an out-of-state license with a motorcycle endorsement, this can stand in its place.
- No moving traffic violations 12 months from the date of the learner’s license – Absolutely no violations can be on the driver’s record if he or she is under 18.
Florida’s motorcycle helmet law requires all motorcyclists and riders to wear a helmet that complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218. This is the minimum standard for helmets permitted by the Department of Transportation.
You should always choose a helmet that fits your head snugly and has no obvious defects, such as cracks, loose padding or frayed straps.
The only exemption to this helmet law is if the driver is 21 or older and is covered by insurance with a policy of at least $10,000 in medical benefits.
Additional Safety Equipment Requirements
There are several additional regulations the state imposes regarding safety equipment for motorcycles. These laws help maximize the safety of motorcyclists, their passengers and others on the roadway.
Both motorcycle operators and riders are required to wear protective eyewear that has been approved by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. A windshield is not a substitute for a face shield or goggles.
Florida Statutes 316.405 states that motorcycle headlights should be turned on at all times. A failure to have a bike’s headlights on during daylight hours could be considered a moving violation and may be considered negligence on the part of the rider if it was the cause of an accident.
Motorcycles cannot have handlebars or handgrips that are higher than the top of the shoulders of the bike’s operator. A violation of this could be considered a nonmoving violation, according to Florida Statutes 316.2095.
The statute also requires that a motorcycle carrying a passenger have footrests for the passenger. A violation of this rule could also be considered a nonmoving violation.
Florida Statutes 316.2085 requires that the operator of the motorcycle ride only on the permanent and regular seat attached to the motorcycle. Similarly, passengers may only ride on motorcycles that are equipped to carry more than one person and on a permanent and regular seat that is attached to the bike.
When riding a motorcycle, both the operator and passenger must sit facing forward with one leg on each side of the bike. No one on the bike should ride in a way or carry anything that could interfere with the driver’s ability to control the motorcycle.
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two or more lanes of slow moving or stopped traffic. Florida specifically outlaws this practice. This is different than lane sharing, which is allowed in Florida and occurs when two motorcycles use the same lane while traveling side-by-side.
If a motorcycle accident occurs while the motorcyclist is lane splitting, his or her compensation for the accident will be reduced by the degree of his or her own negligence.
If the accident is determined to be the motorcyclist’s fault, he or she will not be able to recover compensation, regardless of the extent of the injuries sustained.
However, if the other driver’s actions contributed to the accident because of his or her own careless actions like texting while driving or not paying attention, recovery may still be possible.
Contact Our Experienced Florida personal injury lawyer s
For nearly 40 years Gordon & Partners has represented accident victims throughout Florida. Our experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers pursue the compensation our clients need after being injured by another driver’s carelessness.
Our work has resulted in several multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients. We work on a contingency fee basis so there are no upfront fees for our work. We get paid only if you successfully recover for your claim.
Call us at 1 (855) 722-2552 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.