Because motorcyclists face a high risk of serious injuries in an accident, they must exercise a great deal of care and skill to stay safe on the road. This includes having a thorough understanding of the safety requirements enforced in Florida. Florida has a number of laws and restrictions in place to help motorcycle operators and their passengers avoid accidents and injuries while riding. Before you get on a motorcycle in Florida, you should make sure you know and understand the state’s motorcycle laws.
Florida Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Under Florida’s motorcycle helmet law, a rider age 21 or older may choose not to wear a helmet so long as the rider is covered by an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries sustained in a crash. Riders under the age of 21 must always wear a helmet.
Florida Motorcycle License Laws
A person who wishes to operate a motorcycle in Florida must obtain either a motorcycle license, which solely authorizes a person to operate a motorcycle, or a motorcycle endorsement on a regular driver’s license.
Florida Motorcycle Registration Laws
All motorcycles must be registered to the owner of the bike, with the registration plate attached to the rear of the motorcycle. The license tag must always remain visible and may not be obstructed or concealed by any object or equipment. A motorcycle must also have a tail lamp or separate light that illuminates the rear license tag.
Florida Motorcycle Insurance Laws
In Florida, drivers of four-wheeled vehicles are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of the state’s no-fault insurance system. However, motorcycle owners are not eligible to purchase PIP insurance in Florida. Instead, state law requires a motorcycle operator to carry certain minimum insurance coverage limits. This includes $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident in bodily injury and death liability coverage, as well as $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage.
Florida Motorcycle Lane Splitting Law
Lane splitting is illegal in Florida. A motorcycle rider may not ride on a traffic line or in between two lanes of vehicles or traffic. Vehicles must move fully over to the adjacent lane when passing a motorcycle. However, two motorcycles may ride side-by-side in a single lane of travel.
Required Equipment for Motorcycles in Florida
Motorcycle riders are required by state law to wear a protective device for their eyes. Protective eyewear must meet the requirements set forth by the Florida Department of Transportation.
Florida law also has equipment requirements for motorcycles. Required equipment for motorcycles includes:
- Brakes on the front and back wheels
- A manufacturer-installed exhaust system
- Handlebars no higher than the operator’s shoulders
- A horn capable of being heard at least 200 feet away
- A mirror capable of reflecting a rear view of at least 200 feet of distance
- One or two headlights or headlamps, which must always be activated
- A red rear reflector, which can be separately installed or included as part of the tail lamp
- A taillight or tail lamp located at a height between 72 inches and 20 inches
- A rear brake light
- Turn signals
If a motorcycle is carrying a passenger, the motorcycle must be equipped with a permanent and regular seat and footrests for the passenger, or the passenger may be carried in a sidecar or enclosed cab.
Florida Motorcycle Law FAQs
Florida Motorcycle Laws
Yes. Florida imposes no minimum age on a passenger who rides on the back of a motorcycle. Instead, the only requirements for having a passenger on the back of a motorcycle include having a separate manufacturer-installed seat/saddle and footrests for the passenger.
In Florida, a person must be at least 16 years old to apply for a motorcycle license. If an applicant is under the age of 18, he or she must have also held a learner’s license for at least one year with no traffic convictions.
Florida has no minimum age limit for motorcycle passengers. However, motorcycle passengers of any age are subject to all the same safety laws and regulations governing passengers.
Under Florida law, motorcycle riders age 21 and older are not required to wear a helmet so long as they are covered by the minimum insurance policy. However, riders under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet that complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. Riders under the age of 21 or riders 21 and older without the required insurance coverage who fail to wear a helmet may be ticketed for a nonmoving violation that carries a fine of $30.
Potentially yes. Florida motorcycle accident cases follow the comparative negligence rule. This states that an injured accident victim’s compensation may be reduced in proportion to his or her share of fault in the accident. An insurance company may argue that not wearing a helmet may have caused or contributed to the severity of any head injuries, neck injuries, or traumatic brain injury suffered in a motorcycle accident. Thus, accident victims may find that their compensation is reduced in certain cases. (This is another reason it is crucial to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side ─ to ensure blame is not unfairly pushed onto you.)