Posted on August 13, 2019 in General
Florida is one of the most popular states for motorcyclists. Mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine make for great motorcycling weather year-round. To stay on the right side of the law as a Florida motorcyclist, riders must follow all applicable traffic and roadway rules. Breaking a motorcycle law could lead to repercussions such as tickets, fines and license suspension. Breaking traffic laws could also lead to serious motorcycle accidents. Florida had the highest number of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2016 and 2017, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.
You Need a Class M Driver’s License
Drivers cannot operate motorcycles in Florida without special license endorsements. New motorcyclists must take approved motorcycle safety and education courses (the Basic RiderCourse) through an approved provider. Only then may a driver receive a Class M motorcycle endorsement on his or her license. All motorcyclists in Florida must be at least 16 years old. Passengers do not have an age minimum as long as they wear proper head protection.
Florida Helmet Requirements
Florida has a universal law requiring all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear protective helmets unless they are 21 or older and carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance. Nonexempt motorcyclists must wear adequate headgear properly fastened upon their heads at all times while on a motorcycle. Helmets must comply with safety and performance regulations according to Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218. Even if the motorcyclist is over 21 and has enough insurance, wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent a serious or fatal head injury in a traffic accident.
If you or a loved one was involved in a serious accident and it was not their fault, don’t hesitate to call a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys at Kelley | Uustal.
Florida Insurance Requirements
Regardless of whether a motorcyclist wears a helmet, he or she must carry at least the minimum required amounts of automobile insurance to operate a motorcycle in Florida. These requirements are $20,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 per accident and $10,000 in property damage liability. It is against the law to operate any motor vehicle in Florida without purchasing insurance. Motorcyclists, however, do not need to purchase the same personal injury protection insurance as other drivers. Instead, motorcyclists must purchase $10,000 or more in medical benefits through their health insurance providers.
All motorcycles in Florida must have footrests, handholds, handlebars, horns and at least one mirror. They must also have exhaust systems for noise control. Motorcycles must have rear red lights or reflectors, stop lamps and white headlights. Riders must use daytime running lights in Florida while on public streets and highways. Motorcycles must also have brakes that perform according to at least the minimum standards. Riding a motorcycle that is not street legal in Florida could lead to penalties.
The Right to the Road
Motorcyclists have the same rights to the road as other vehicle operators. They have the right to take up full lanes without other drivers encroaching on their lane space. Two motorcyclists may ride abreast of one another in a single lane. Motorcyclists should obey all traffic signs and regulations, including using turn signals or hand motions to indicate the intent to turn. Motorcyclists cannot weave between cars, speed, run red lights, ride in the opposite direction of traffic or do anything a typical motorist cannot do.
Is Lane-Splitting Illegal in Florida?
It is against the law to use the space between lanes to ride as a motorcyclist in Florida. Lane-splitting, or lane-filtering, is only permitted in one state: California. If you split lanes in Florida, the police could ticket you for reckless driving or another traffic infraction. You may have to pay a fine and receive points on your driver’s license. If you cause an accident while lane-splitting or while engaged in another dangerous activity, you could be liable for victims’ damages. You could face civil and criminal charges for breaking Florida’s motorcycle laws.