Other than the pure joy of hitting the road, the best part of being a motorcyclist is the gear. The bikes themselves, the helmets, the cool clothes — Florida motorcyclists love that stuff. And so do we.
That’s one reason why we have put together the list of Florida motorcycle equipment laws below. The other reason is to help you cover all of your legal bases to stay safe on two wheels.
In Florida, you might not have to wear a motorcycle helmet. But that is a different question than whether you should wear a helmet.
Motorcycle helmets save countless lives and prevent serious brain injuries. When you can’t depend on other drivers to keep your safety in mind, a helmet may be the only reason you survive a severe crash. Almost as saving your life is the fact that wearing a helmet greatly reduces the incidence and severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI). On top of that, wearing a helmet can strengthen your case during a motorcycle accident lawsuit in which you suffer head injuries. It prevents the other side from pointing to your lack of a helmet as to why you suffered a brain injury.
With all of that out of the way, here’s who has to wear a motorcycle helmet in Florida:
Riders younger than 21
Riders older than 21 but without at least $10,000 in insurance
If you do carry sufficient insurance, then you can opt-out of wearing a motorcycle helmet in Florida, but wearing one will reduce the severity of injuries and ease your efforts in a motorcycle crash claim.
The same Florida law that lays out helmet requirements for riders has a very different take on eye protection. In Florida, motorcyclists have to wear approved eye protection — period. No exceptions. It doesn’t matter how much insurance coverage you have.
The good news is that eye protection like goggles and face shields can be affordable. And they protect your eyes from debris and bugs while riding and serious injuries in the event of a crash.
You only have to have your headlights on at night, right? Wrong. In Florida, motorcyclists must use their headlights at all hours of the day.
Failure to use your headlights while riding is a moving violation, and you’ll get a ticket and why not, it makes it easier to be seen. Florida law specifies that failing to use headlights won’t serve as evidence of your negligence in a civil action like a motorcycle injury lawsuit. But it also says that if your failure to use your headlights is deemed a cause of the crash, it may be used as evidence that you were negligent.
As in most cases, this is a case where it is good to follow the law even if you don’t understand it.
Florida law states that all motor vehicles – including motorcycles – must have working turn signals. While there may be some rare exceptions for vintage bikes and those never used on public roads, this is the guideline to follow for most Florida motorcyclists.
As for rearview mirrors, under Florida law, your motorcycle has to have at least one. That rearview mirror must provide you a view of at least 200 feet behind you.
If you have one of those motorcycle helmets with the built-in headset for your phone, Florida law says you can use it for communication while riding. Legally you can not use headphones to listen to music while riding your motorcycle.
Keep in mind that the headset should only to provide sound through one ear. Two-ear helmet headsets are forbidden.
Many people love ape hanger handlebars, but Florida law might have something to say about that.
According to the 2020 Florida Statutes, you can’t have your hand grips or handlebars higher than the top of your shoulders – when seated. Bring those bars up too high, and you could end up with a ticket.
Florida’s laws get pretty specific about the equipment you can and can’t use while riding. But they are also specific about some non-equipment must-haves for motorcyclists. A motorcycle license and insurance are essential before you can take your bike out for a ride.
A motorcycle license is required for anyone to ride in Florida. If you already have a driver’s license, you have to get a motorcycle endorsement added to it. To do that, you have to take and pass the Basic RiderCourse, or Basic RiderCourse updated.
If you do not have a driver’s license, you may still be able to ride legally. You just have to get a “motorcycle-only” license. You will still have to pass the BRC or BRCu. You also have to be at least 16 years old. If you are under 18, you also need to have a learner’s license for at least one year without any traffic convictions.
Although Florida’s personal injury protection insurance laws do not apply to motorcyclists, you still have to have motorcycle insurance.
Under our state’s basic financial responsibility statute, you must have motorcycle insurance covering yourself for at least $10,000 medical expenses and at least $10,000 in property damage.
Even if you follow every Florida motorcycle equipment law to the letter, a careless driver can still cause a crash that seriously injures you. If that happens, call us to discover your legal options.
The Florida motorcycle accident lawyers at Rubenstein Law are here to help. To discuss your case and your options, schedule a free consultation with us. Call 800-FL-Legal/800-355-3425 or contact us online today. No fees or costs until you win.