Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law – Florida Statute §316.211 – Equipment for Florida Motorcycle and Florida Moped Riders and Passengers

Florida's Motorcycle Helmet Law_fightsforyou.netNotwithstanding the risks of riding a motorcycle on Florida roadways without safety equipment, specifically, a motorcycle helmet to protect ones head from the catastrophic injures that can occur (most notably, head injuries such as post concussive syndrome and TBI (traumatic brain injury)) when involved in a Miami Florida motorcycle accident by being cut off by a car or hit by a truck, in October of 2000, the Florida legislature removed the requirement of wearing a motorcycle helmet to persons over 21 when certain requirements are met.

Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law: according to Florida Statute §316.211, the following are the important Florida motorcycle helmet safety regulations (also known as Florida Traffic Regulations) required under Florida law when operating a motorcycle on South Florida’s roadways:

  • In general, a person may not operate or ride (ie., as a passenger) upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear (ie., a motorcycle helmet) that complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218;
  • The general Florida motorcycle helmet law requirement above does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which does not go faster than 30 miles per hour;
  • If you are over  21, you may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear (ie., a motorcycle helmet) so long as you are covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle; and
  • If you are 16 years of age or older, you can operate or ride upon a moped without wearing protective headgear (ie., a moped or motorcycle helmet).

Moral of the Story: if you ride a motorcycle or operate a motorcycle on Florida roadways, in order to protect yourself from catastrophic injuries or a fatality (ie., wrongful death) due to a Homestead Florida motorcycle accident, you should probably wear protective headgear such as a motorcycle helmet, however, whether you are driving a motorcycle or merely riding as a passenger in Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista, Marco Island, Davie, Sunrise, Pembroke Pines, Parkland, Tamarac, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Allapattah, Miami Gardens, Aventura, Tamiami, Kendale Lakes, The Hammocks, Miami Beach, Hialeah, West Kendall, Homestead, the Florida Keys, Weston, Florida City, Cutler Bay, Miami Shores, Sunny Isles, Opa-locka, Miami Lakes, West Palm Beach, Key West or another area within Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach, or anywhere in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach or Monroe Counties, know that Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law, ie., Florida Statute §316.211, does not require you to wear a helmet if you are over 21 years of age and are covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash.

 

Florida Motorcycle Laws: What Regulations are Applicable to Owners, Drivers and Riders of Motorcycles on Florida Roadways?

Florida Motorcycle Laws_fightsforyou.netAs anyone in South Florida knows, with our beautiful weather, Florida roads and highways are considered prime motorcycle territory to cruise around, particularly in the Florida Keys, Daytona Beach, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.  Given the amount of riders that utilize Florida roads and the various motorcycle rallies that occur in Florida, motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence, especially ones where riders and passengers sustains serious injuries, including being killed at times.   The question often asked of South Florida motorcycle accident lawyers is what law is applicable to driving a motorcycle in Florida such as the road and traffic  rules, safety equipment regulations (such as Florida’s motorcycle helmet law), bike equipment regulations, the law regarding getting a motorcycle drivers license, motorcycle age restrictions, etc.   The following are relevant Florida statutes that may answer some of your common and frequently asked questions regarding Florida’s motorcycle laws applicable to Florida’s motorcycle riders.

Florida Motorcycle Laws: Relevant Florida Statutes Governing the Operation and Use of Motorcycles on Florida Roadways:

  1. Florida Statute s. 316.208 (motorcycles and mopeds): (1) Any person operating a motorcycle or moped shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application. (2)(a) Any person operating a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations: 1. When overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. 2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. 3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this paragraph, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a moped and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. (b) Any person operating a moped upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable. (3) A person propelling a moped solely by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian. (4) No person shall propel a moped upon and along a sidewalk while the motor is operating. (5) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  2. Florida Statute s. 316.2085 (riding on motorcycles or mopeds): (1) A person operating a motorcycle or moped shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto, and such operator shall not carry any other person, nor shall any other person ride on a motorcycle or moped, unless such motorcycle or moped is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if designed for two persons or upon another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle or moped at the rear or side of the operator.(2) A person shall ride upon a motorcycle or moped only while sitting astride the seat, with both wheels on the ground at all times, facing forward, and with one leg on each side of the motorcycle or moped. However, it is not a violation of this subsection if the wheels of a motorcycle or moped lose contact with the ground briefly due to the condition of the road surface or other circumstances beyond the control of the operator.(3) The license tag of a motorcycle or moped must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and remain clearly visible from the rear at all times. Any deliberate act to conceal or obscure the legibility of the license tag of a motorcycle is prohibited. The license tag of a motorcycle or moped may be affixed horizontally to the ground so that the numbers and letters read from left to right. Alternatively, a license tag for a motorcycle or moped for which the numbers and letters read from top to bottom may be affixed perpendicularly to the ground. Notwithstanding the authorization to affix the license tag of a motorcycle or moped perpendicularly to the ground, the owner or operator of a motorcycle or moped shall pay any required toll pursuant to s. 316.1001 by whatever means available.(4) No person shall operate a motorcycle or moped while carrying any package, bundle, or other article which prevents the person from keeping both hands on the handlebars.(5) No operator shall carry any person, nor shall any person ride, in a position that will interfere with the operation or control of the motorcycle or moped or the view of the operator.(6) A person under 16 years of age may not: (a) Operate a motorcycle that has a motor with more than 150 cubic centimeters displacement. (b) Rent a motorcycle or a moped.(7) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  3. Florida Statute s. 316.209 (operating motorcycles on roadways laned for traffic): (1) All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane. (2) The operator of a motorcycle shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. (3) No person shall operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles. (4) Motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane. (5) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply to police officers or firefighters in the performance of their official duties. (6) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  4. Florida Statute 316.2095 (footrests, handholds, handlebars): (1) Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passenger. (2) No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars or with handgrips that are higher than the top of the shoulders of the person operating the motorcycle while properly seated upon the motorcycle. (3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  5. Florida Statute 316.211 (equipment for motorcycle and moped riders):  (1) A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt this standard by agency rule. (2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department. (3)(a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground. (b) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle. (4) A person under 16 years of age may not operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. (5) The department shall make available a list of protective headgear approved in this section, and the list shall be provided on request. (6) Each motorcycle registered to a person under 21 years of age must display a license plate that is unique in design and color. (7) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  6. Florida Statute 316.1995 (driving upon sidewalk or bicycle path): (1) Except as provided in s. 316.008 or s. 316.212(8), a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. (2) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318. (3) This section does not apply to motorized wheelchairs.
  7. Florida Statute 316.191(2)(a)(racing on highways): (2) A person may not: (a) Drive any motor vehicle, including any motorcycle, in any race, speed competition or contest, drag race or acceleration contest, test of physical endurance, or exhibition of speed or acceleration or for the purpose of making a speed record on any highway, roadway, or parking lot;
  8. Florida Statute 316.293(2)(a)(motorcycle noise): (2) Operating noise limits.–No person shall operate or be permitted to operate a vehicle at any time or under any condition of roadway grade, load, acceleration, or deceleration in such a manner as to generate a sound level in excess of the following limit for the category of motor vehicle and applicable speed limit at a distance of 50 feet from the center of the lane of travel under measurement procedures established under subsection (3). (a) For motorcycles other than motor-driven cycles:
    Speed limit 35 mph or less
    Speed limit over 35 mph
    Before January 1, 1979
    82 dB A
    86 dB A
    On or after January 1, 1979
    78 dB A
    82 dB A

     

  9. Florida Statute 316.304 (wearing of headsets): (1) No person shall operate a vehicle while wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing. (2) This section does not apply to: (a) Any law enforcement officer equipped with any communication device necessary in performing his or her assigned duties or to any emergency vehicle operator equipped with any ear protection device. (b) Any applicant for a license to operate a motorcycle while taking the examination required by s. 322.12(5). (c) Any person operating a motorcycle who is using a headset that is installed in a helmet and worn so as to prevent the speakers from making direct contact with the user’s ears so that the user can hear surrounding sounds. (d) Any person using a headset in conjunction with a cellular telephone that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear. (e) Any person using a headset in conjunction with communicating with the central base operation that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear. (3) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall promulgate, by administrative rule, standards and specifications for headset equipment the use of which is permitted under this section. The department shall inspect and review all such devices submitted to it and shall publish a list by name and type of approved equipment. (4) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  10. Florida Statute 316.400 (headlamps): (1) Every motorcycle and every motor-driven cycle shall be equipped with at least one and not more than two headlamps which shall comply with the requirements and limitations of this chapter. (2) Every headlamp upon every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle shall be located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less than 24 inches to be measured as set forth in s. 316.217(3). (3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  11. Florida Statute 316.405 (motorcycle headlights to be turned on): (1) Any person who operates a motorcycle or motor-driven cycle on the public streets or highways shall, while so engaged, have the headlight or headlights of such motorcycle or motor-driven cycle turned on. Failure to comply with this section during the hours from sunrise to sunset, unless compliance is otherwise required by law, shall not be admissible as evidence of negligence in a civil action. During the hours of operation between sunrise and sunset, the headlights may modulate either the upper beam or the lower beam from its maximum intensity to a lower intensity, in accordance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 571.108.(2) Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall not be deemed negligence per se in any civil action, but the violation of this section may be considered on the issue of negligence if the violation of this section is a proximate cause of a crash.(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  12. Florida Statute 316.410 (taillamps): (1) Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle shall have at least one taillamp which shall be located at a height of not more than 72 nor less than 20 inches. (2) Either a taillamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear. Any taillamp or taillamps, together with any separate lamp or lamps for illuminating the rear registration plate, shall be so wired as to be lighted whenever the headlamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lighted. (3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  13. Florida Statute 316.415 (refelctors): Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle shall carry on the rear, either as part of the taillamp or separately, at least one red reflector. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  14. Florida Statute 316.420 (stop lamps): Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle shall be equipped with at least one stop lamp meeting the requirements of s. 316.234(1). A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  15. Florida Statute 316.425 (lamps on parked motorcycles): (1) Every motorcycle must comply with the provisions of s. 316.229 regarding lamps on parked vehicles and the use thereof. (2) Motor-driven cycles need not be equipped with parking lamps or otherwise comply with the provisions of s. 316.229. (3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  16. Florida Statute 316.430 (multiple-beam road-lighting equipment): (1) Every motorcycle other than a motor-driven cycle shall be equipped with multiple-beam road-lighting equipment. (2) Such equipment shall: (a) Reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 300 feet ahead when the uppermost distribution of light is selected; (b) Reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 150 feet ahead when the lowermost distribution of light is selected. On a straight, level road under any condition of loading none of the high intensity portion of the beam shall be directed to strike the eyes of an approaching driver. (3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  17. Florida Statute 316.440 (brake equipment required): Every motor-driven cycle must comply with the provisions of s. 316.261, except that: (1) Motorcycles and motor-driven cycles need not be equipped with parking brakes. (2) The wheel of a sidecar attached to a motorcycle or to a motor-driven cycle, and the front wheel of a motor-driven cycle, need not be equipped with brakes, provided that such motorcycle or motor-driven cycle is capable of complying with the performance requirements of this chapter. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  18. Florida Statute 316.445 (performance ability of motorcycle brakes): (1) Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle, at all times and under all conditions of loading, upon application of the service brake, shall be capable of: (a) Developing a braking force that is not less than 43.5 percent of its gross weight; (b) Decelerating to a stop from not more than 20 miles per hour at not less than 14 feet per second per second; and (c) Stopping from a speed of 20 miles per hour in not more than 30 feet, such distance to be measured from the point at which movement of the service brake pedal or control begins. (2) Tests for deceleration and stopping distance shall be made on a substantially level (not to exceed plus or minus 1 percent grade), dry, smooth, hard surface that is free from loose material. (3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  19. Florida Statute 316.455 (other equipment): Every motorcycle and every motor-driven cycle when operated upon a highway shall comply with the requirements and limitations of: (1) Section 316.271(1) and (2) on the requirement for horns and warning devices. (2) Section 316.271(3) on the requirement for the use of horns. (3) Section 316.271(4) on the requirement for sirens, whistles, and bells. (4) Section 316.271(5) on the requirement for theft alarms. (5) Section 316.271(6) on the requirement for emergency vehicles. (6) Section 316.272 on the requirement for mufflers and prevention of noise. (7) Section 316.294 on the requirement for mirrors. A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
  20. Florida Statute 316.613 (child restraint systems): (1)(a) Every operator of a motor vehicle as defined in this section, while transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall, if the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide for protection of the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used. (b) The department shall provide notice of the requirement for child restraint devices, which notice shall accompany the delivery of each motor vehicle license tag.(2) As used in this section, the term “motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle as defined in s. 316.003 that is operated on the roadways, streets, and highways of the state. The term does not include: (a) A school bus as defined in s. 316.003(45). (b) A bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation, other than a bus regularly used to transport children to or from school, as defined in s. 316.615(1)(b), or in conjunction with school activities. (c) A farm tractor or implement of husbandry. (d) A truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds. (e) A motorcycle, moped, or bicycle. (3) The failure to provide and use a child passenger restraint shall not be considered comparative negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence in the trial of any civil action with regard to negligence.(4) It is the legislative intent that all state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, and safety councils, in recognition of the problems with child death and injury from unrestrained occupancy in motor vehicles, conduct a continuing safety and public awareness campaign as to the magnitude of the problem. (5) Any person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318 and shall have 3 points assessed against his or her driver license as set forth in s. 322.27. In lieu of the penalty specified in s. 318.18 and the assessment of points, a person who violates this section may elect, with the court’s approval, to participate in a child restraint safety program approved by the chief judge of the circuit in which the violation occurs, and, upon completing such program, the penalty specified in chapter 318 and associated costs may be waived at the court’s discretion and the assessment of points shall be waived. The child restraint safety program must use a course approved by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and the fee for the course must bear a reasonable relationship to the cost of providing the course. (6) The child restraint requirements imposed by this section do not apply to a chauffeur-driven taxi, limousine, sedan, van, bus, motor coach, or other passenger vehicle if the operator and the motor vehicle are hired and used for the transportation of persons for compensation. It is the obligation and responsibility of the parent, guardian, or other person responsible for a child’s welfare, as defined in s. 39.01(47), to comply with the requirements of this section.
  21. Florida Statute 316.614 (safety belt usage): (1) This section may be cited as the “Florida Safety Belt Law.” (2) It is the policy of this state that enactment of this section is intended to be compatible with the continued support by the state for federal safety standards requiring automatic crash protection, and the enactment of this section should not be used in any manner to rescind or delay the implementation of the federal automatic crash protection system requirements of Federal Motor Safety Standard 208 as set forth in S4.1.2.1 thereof, as entered on July 17, 1984, for new cars. (3) As used in this section: (a) “Motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle as defined in s. 316.003 which is operated on the roadways, streets, and highways of this state. The term does not include: 1. A school bus. 2. A bus used for the transportation of persons for compensation. 3. A farm tractor or implement of husbandry. 4. A truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds. 5. A motorcycle, moped, or bicycle. (b) “Safety belt” means a seat belt assembly that meets the requirements established under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 49 C.F.R. s. 571.208.(c) “Restrained by a safety belt” means being restricted by an appropriately adjusted safety belt which is properly fastened at all times when a motor vehicle is in motion. (4) It is unlawful for any person:(a) To operate a motor vehicle in this state unless each passenger and the operator of the vehicle under the age of 18 years are restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device pursuant to s. 316.613, if applicable; or (b) To operate a motor vehicle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt. (5) It is unlawful for any person 18 years of age or older to be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle unless such person is restrained by a safety belt when the vehicle is in motion. (6)(a) Neither a person who is certified by a physician as having a medical condition that causes the use of a safety belt to be inappropriate or dangerous nor an employee of a newspaper home delivery service while in the course of his or her employment delivering newspapers on home delivery routes is required to be restrained by a safety belt. (b) An employee of a solid waste or recyclable collection service is not required to be restrained by a safety belt while in the course of employment collecting solid waste or recyclables on designated routes. (c) The requirements of this section do not apply to the living quarters of a recreational vehicle or a space within a truck body primarily intended for merchandise or property. (d) The requirements of this section do not apply to motor vehicles that are not required to be equipped with safety belts under federal law. (7) It is the intent of the Legislature that all state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, safety councils, and public school systems, in recognition of the fatalities and injuries attributed to unrestrained occupancy of motor vehicles, shall conduct a continuing safety and public awareness campaign as to the magnitude of the problem and adopt programs designed to encourage compliance with the safety belt usage requirements of this section. (8) Any person who violates the provisions of this section commits a nonmoving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318. (9) By January 1, 2006, each law enforcement agency in this state shall adopt departmental policies to prohibit the practice of racial profiling. When a law enforcement officer issues a citation for a violation of this section, the law enforcement officer must record the race and ethnicity of the violator. All law enforcement agencies must maintain such information and forward the information to the department in a form and manner determined by the department. The department shall collect this information by jurisdiction and annually report the data to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must show separate statewide totals for the state’s county sheriffs and municipal law enforcement agencies, state law enforcement agencies, and state university law enforcement agencies. (10) A violation of the provisions of this section shall not constitute negligence per se, nor shall such violation be used as prima facie evidence of negligence or be considered in mitigation of damages, but such violation may be considered as evidence of comparative negligence, in any civil action.

Relevant Florida Statutes Governing the Licensing and Education of Motorcycle Riders on Florida Roadways:

  1. Florida Statute 322.0255 (Florida motorcycle safety education program): (1) The department shall establish a Florida Motorcycle Safety Education Program. The program shall be funded as provided by ss. 320.08 and 322.025. (2) The department shall establish and administer motorcycle safety courses. The department shall prescribe the curricula for such courses, which must include a minimum of 12 hours of instruction, at least 6 hours of which shall consist of actual motorcycle operation. The department may adopt or include courses, curricula, or materials developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or by other traffic safety groups determined to be comparable by the department. (3) The department shall prescribe the qualifications for certification of instructors in the program. The department may include the qualifications specified by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or by other traffic safety groups determined to be comparable by the department, and may recognize, for purposes of certification, instructor training provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or by other traffic safety groups determined to be comparable by the department, as fulfilling the department’s training requirements. (4) Every organization shall be approved by the department before it may conduct motorcycle safety courses. The department may enter into agreements with organizations to provide for such courses. Such agreements shall include provisions for compensation of the costs of conducting the courses. Students may be required to purchase insurance as required by the organization providing the course. (5) Each organization that provides an approved motorcycle safety course may charge a registration fee, not to exceed $20 per student. This fee must be refunded if the student completes the course. However, any student who registers for, and does not complete, the course must forfeit his or her registration fee. Forfeited fees may be retained by the organization that conducts the course. (6) The department may adopt rules to implement this section. (7) On and after January 1, 1989, every first-time applicant for licensure to operate a motorcycle who is under 21 years of age shall be required to complete a motorcycle education course as established pursuant to this section. Proof of completion of such education course shall be presented to the driver license examining office prior to such licensure to operate a motorcycle.
  2. Florida Statute 322.12 (requirements to get a motorcycle drivers license): (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that every applicant for an original driver’s license in this state be required to pass an examination pursuant to this section. However, the department may waive the knowledge, endorsement, and skills tests for an applicant who is otherwise qualified and who surrenders a valid driver’s license from another state or a province of Canada, or a valid driver’s license issued by the United States Armed Forces, if the driver applies for a Florida license of an equal or lesser classification. Any applicant who fails to pass the initial knowledge test incurs a $10 fee for each subsequent test, to be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund. Any applicant who fails to pass the initial skills test incurs a $20 fee for each subsequent test, to be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund. A person who seeks to retain a hazardous-materials endorsement, pursuant to s. 322.57(1)(d), must pass the hazardous-materials test, upon surrendering his or her commercial driver’s license, if the person has not taken and passed the hazardous-materials test within 2 years before applying for a commercial driver’s license in this state. (2) The department shall examine every applicant for a driver’s license, including an applicant who is licensed in another state or country, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. A person who holds a learner’s driver’s license as provided for in s. 322.1615 is not required to pay a fee for successfully completing the examination showing his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle as provided for herein and need not pay the fee for a replacement license as provided in s. 322.17(2). (3) For an applicant for a Class E driver’s license, such examination shall include a test of the applicant’s eyesight given by the driver’s license examiner designated by the department or by a licensed ophthalmologist, optometrist, or physician and a test of the applicant’s hearing given by a driver’s license examiner or a licensed physician. The examination shall also include a test of the applicant’s ability to read and understand highway signs regulating, warning, and directing traffic; his or her knowledge of the traffic laws of this state, including laws regulating driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level, and driving while intoxicated; and his or her knowledge of the effects of alcohol and controlled substances upon persons and the dangers of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances and shall include an actual demonstration of ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motor vehicle. (4) The examination for an applicant for a commercial driver’s license shall include a test of the applicant’s eyesight given by a driver’s license examiner designated by the department or by a licensed ophthalmologist, optometrist, or physician and a test of the applicant’s hearing given by a driver’s license examiner or a licensed physician. The examination shall also include a test of the applicant’s ability to read and understand highway signs regulating, warning, and directing traffic; his or her knowledge of the traffic laws of this state pertaining to the class of motor vehicle which he or she is applying to be licensed to operate, including laws regulating driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level, and driving while intoxicated; his or her knowledge of the effects of alcohol and controlled substances and the dangers of driving a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol or controlled substances; and his or her knowledge of any special skills, requirements, or precautions necessary for the safe operation of the class of vehicle which he or she is applying to be licensed to operate. In addition, the examination shall include an actual demonstration of the applicant’s ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the safe operation of a motor vehicle or combination of vehicles of the type covered by the license classification which the applicant is seeking, including an examination of the applicant’s ability to perform an inspection of his or her vehicle. (a) The portion of the examination which tests an applicant’s safe driving ability shall be administered by the department or by an entity authorized by the department to administer such examination, pursuant to s. 322.56. Such examination shall be administered at a location approved by the department. (b) A person who seeks to retain a hazardous-materials endorsement must, upon renewal, pass the test for such endorsement as specified in s. 322.57(1)(d), if the person has not taken and passed the hazardous-materials test within 2 years preceding his or her application for a commercial driver’s license in this state. (5)(a) The department shall formulate a separate examination for applicants for licenses to operate motorcycles. Any applicant for a driver’s license who wishes to operate a motorcycle, and who is otherwise qualified, must successfully complete such an examination, which is in addition to the examination administered under subsection (3). The examination must test the applicant’s knowledge of the operation of a motorcycle and of any traffic laws specifically relating thereto and must include an actual demonstration of his or her ability to exercise ordinary and reasonable control in the operation of a motorcycle. Any applicant who fails to pass the initial knowledge examination will incur a $5 fee for each subsequent examination, to be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund. Any applicant who fails to pass the initial skills examination will incur a $10 fee for each subsequent examination, to be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund. In the formulation of the examination, the department shall consider the use of the Motorcycle Operator Skills Test and the Motorcycle in Traffic Test offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The department shall indicate on the license of any person who successfully completes the examination that the licensee is authorized to operate a motorcycle. If the applicant wishes to be licensed to operate a motorcycle only, he or she need not take the skill or road test required under subsection (3) for the operation of a motor vehicle, and the department shall indicate such a limitation on his or her license as a restriction. Every first-time applicant for licensure to operate a motorcycle must provide proof of completion of a motorcycle safety course, as provided for in s. 322.0255, before the applicant may be licensed to operate a motorcycle. (b) The department may exempt any applicant from the examination provided in this subsection if the applicant presents a certificate showing successful completion of a course approved by the department, which course includes a similar examination of the knowledge and skill of the applicant in the operation of a motorcycle.
  3. Florida Statute 322.03(4) (a drivers license is required to operate a motorcycle on Florida roadways): (4) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless he or she holds a driver’s license that authorizes such operation, subject to the appropriate restrictions and endorsements.It should be noted a Florida court has held that gas powered mini motorcycle fell within statutory definition of “motor vehicle,” as it was self-propelled, not operated upon rails or guideway, and did not fall within any of the statutory exclusions, in that it was not moved solely by human power, nor was it a motorized wheelchair, and, thus, defendant was required to have a license to operate it.
  4. Florida Statute 322.57(1)(g) (tests of knowledge concerning specified vehicles): (1) In addition to fulfilling any other driver’s licensing requirements of this chapter, a person who: (g) Drives a motorcycle must successfully complete a test of his or her knowledge concerning the safe operation of such vehicles and a test of his or her driving skills on such vehicle. A person who successfully completes such tests shall be issued an endorsement if he or she is licensed to drive another type of motor vehicle. A person who successfully completes such tests and who is not licensed to drive another type of motor vehicle shall be issued a Class E driver’s license that is clearly restricted to motorcycle use only.

Moral of the Story: as you can see, if you wish to drive or ride a motorcycle on Florida’s highways, whether in in Coral Springs, Cooper City, Hallandale, Boca Raton, West Kendall, Homestead, Key Biscayne, Weston, Pompano Beach, Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Naples, Fort Myers, Stuart, Martin or another area within Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach or the Florida Keys, there is a lot to think about when it comes to Florida motorcycle laws for riders and passengers, securing a motorcycle drivers license, having the equipment required to drive a motorcycle (even though the helmet is no longer required), and complying with Florida’s traffic laws in order to avoid being injured in a serious motorcycle accident which could require the assistance of a Miami Florida Motorcycle accident attorney.

Florida Motorcycle Accidents – Injured Motorists and the Relevant Law Applicable to Motorcycle Insurance Claims

Florida Motorcycle Accident Law_fightsforyou.net

Dramatization/Actor – Not An Actual Event

Every year, thousands of accidents occur on South Florida roadways (particularly in the Florida Keys down in Monroe County, including Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada and Tavernier — these roads are considered prime motorcycle accident territory given the amount of riders that ride down US 1, a two-laned highway for many portions of the road), wherein many crashes involve motorists who are seriously injured as a driver, passenger or even pedestrian (if riding a bike or simply walking down the street).  Many of these accidents involve motorcycle riders and/or passengers who are rear ended, cut off or struck by cars that are speeding.  Unfortunately, when riders are involved in a motorcycle crash, they usually sustain catastrophic injuries such as an amputation, brain injury (including traumatic brain injury – TBI), head injury (concussion), back injury (lumbar or thoracic disc tears, bulges or herniations), shoulder injury (torn labrum, tendons, ligaments or rotator cuff), neck injury (whiplash, cervical disc tears, bulges or herniations), chest injury (bruised or fractured sternum), face injury (fractured cheek or orbital bones), degloving injury, paralysis (quadriplegic, paraplegic or other forms of spinal cord injuries), burn injury, road rash, or severely broken legs, arms, feet, elbows, wrists, hips (pelvis), knees, ankles or vertebrae (typically requiring surgeries with implantation of hardware).  Sometimes, a motorcycle crash is bad enough wherein the rider, driver or passenger is killed, ie., a “wrongful death.” The question most often asked is what law is applicable to Florida motorcycle accident claims and what are the layers of Florida motorcycle insurance wherein you may be able to recover money for your injuries and damages.

FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS AND THE MOST COMMON CAUSES: whether one is involved in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, some of the most common causes of accidents on our South Florida road ways include the following:

    1. speeding;
    2. failing to yield;
    3. sudden lane changes or cutting vehicles off (especially without the use of an indicator or blinker);
    4. following too closely (should have multiple car lengths between vehicles depending on the speeds);
    5. weaving in and out of traffic (especially motorcycles, such as “lane splitting”);
    6. driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol and/or prescription medication;
    7. driving while distracted or using a cell phone (calling or texting);
    8. driving while tired or fatigued, or even falling asleep at the wheel;
    9. road defects (potholes, uneven pavement (dips, rivets, cracks, loose gravel), drop offs)
    10. road sign or traffic control issues (blocked signs by vegetation, out of order lights, downed signs);
    11. poorly designed streets, highways and roadways;
    12. construction and crews improperly warning oncoming motorists, cars, trucks and other motor vehicles;
    13. improperly or poorly lit streets, highways and roadways;
    14. defective motorcycle part or design;
    15. tire blowouts; and
    16. bad weather (whether fog, rain or wind).

For a discussion on Florida Motorcycle laws and regulations governing motorcycle safety, equipment (including Florida’s motorcycle helmet law and the law regarding protective eye wear), age requirements and restrictions, and Florida’s traffic laws such as the one on lane splitting, see my article on the Florida law applicable to motorcycle owners and operators.

FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE CRASHES AND APPLICABLE LAW TO INJURED MOTORISTS:  when a motorcycle rider or passenger (whether on a Harley, sport bike, cruiser (such as a Harley or chopper), standard (muscle bike or Ducati), crotch rocket, touring bike, dirt bike (for off road, such as motocross, enduro, rallies, trail, trials and track racing), dual purpose/sport (supermoto), police motorcycle, moped, sidecar, underbones or scooter) is involved in a car accident or crash, the following are some of the relevant laws applicable to these types of Florida motorcycle injury claims:

State Uniform Traffic Control Definitions (Chapter 316):

    1. Florida Statute section 316.003(22): under Florida’s state uniform traffic control section of the Florida statutes, a motorcycle is defined as any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor or a moped.
    2. Florida Statute section 316.003(21): under Florida’s state uniform traffic control section of the Florida statutes, a motor vehicle is defined as a self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway, but not including any bicycle, motorized scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, swamp buggy, or moped.
    3. Florida Statute section 316.003(77): under Florida’s state uniform traffic control section of the Florida statutes, a moped is defined as any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels; with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground; and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
    4. Florida Statute section 316.003(82): under Florida’s state uniform traffic control section of the Florida statutes, a motorized scooter is defined as any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
    5. Florida Statute section 316.003(89): under Florida’s state uniform traffic control section of the Florida statutes, a swamp buggy is defined as a motorized off-road vehicle that is designed or modified to travel over swampy or varied terrain and that may use large tires or tracks operated from an elevated platform. The term does not include any vehicle defined in chapter 261 or otherwise defined or classified in this chapter.

Florida’s Motor Vehicle License Definitions (Chapter 320):

    1. Florida Statute section 320.01(1)(a): under Florida’s motor vehicle license section of the Florida statutes, a motor vehicle is defined as an automobile, motorcycle, truck, trailer, semitrailer, truck tractor and semitrailer combination, or any other vehicle operated on the roads of this state, used to transport persons or property, and propelled by power other than muscular power, but the term does not include traction engines, road rollers, special mobile equipment as defined in s. 316.003(48), vehicles that run only upon a track, bicycles, swamp buggies, or mopeds.
    2. Florida Statute section 320.01(26): under Florida’s motor vehicle license section of the Florida statutes, a motorcycle is defined as any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, excluding a vehicle in which the operator is enclosed by a cabin unless it meets the requirements set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a motorcycle. The term “motorcycle” does not include a tractor or a moped.
    3. Florida Statute section 320.01(27): under Florida’s motor vehicle license section of the Florida statutes, a moped is defined as any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels, with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground, and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
    4. Florida Statute section 320.01(45): under Florida’s motor vehicle license section of the Florida statutes, a swamp buggy is defined as a motorized off-road vehicle that is designed or modified to travel over swampy or varied terrain and that may use large tires or tracks operated from an elevated platform. The term does not include any vehicle defined in chapter 261 or otherwise defined or classified in this chapter.

Florida’s Drivers License Definitions (Chapter 322):

    1. Florida Statute section 322.01(26): under Florida’s driver’s license section of the Florida statutes, a motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle powered by a motor with a displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor, tri-vehicle, or moped.
    2. Florida Statute section 322.01(27): under Florida’s driver’s license section of the Florida statutes, a motor vehicle is defined as any self-propelled vehicle, including a motor vehicle combination, not operated upon rails or guideway, excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and motorized bicycles as defined in section 316.003.
    3. Florida Statute section 322.01(43): under Florida’s driver’s license section of the Florida statutes, a vehicle is defined as every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway or operated upon rails or guideway, except a bicycle, motorized wheelchair, or motorized bicycle.
    4. Florida Statute section 322.01(46): under Florida’s driver’s license section of the Florida statutes, a tri-vehicle is defined as  an enclosed three-wheeled passenger vehicle that:

      (a) Is designed to operate with three wheels in contact with the ground; (b) Has a minimum unladen weight of 900 pounds; (c) Has a single, completely enclosed, occupant compartment;(d) Is produced in a minimum quantity of 300 in any calendar year; (e) Is capable of a speed greater than 60 miles per hour on level ground; and (f) Is equipped with: 1. Seats that are certified by the vehicle manufacturer to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 207, “Seating systems” (49 C.F.R. s. 571.207); 2. A steering wheel used to maneuver the vehicle; 3. A propulsion unit located forward or aft of the enclosed occupant compartment; 4. A seat belt for each vehicle occupant certified to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209, “Seat belt assemblies” (49 C.F.R. s. 571.209); 5. A windshield and an appropriate windshield wiper and washer system that are certified by the vehicle manufacturer to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, “Glazing Materials” (49 C.F.R. s. 571.205) and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 104, “Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems” (49 C.F.R. s. 571.104); and 6. A vehicle structure certified by the vehicle manufacturer to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 216, “Rollover crush resistance” (49 C.F.R. s. 571.216).

Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law Definitions (Chapter 627):

    1. Florida Statute section 627.732(3): under Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law Section of the Florida statutes, a motor vehicle is defined as any self-propelled vehicle with four or more wheels which is of a type both designed and required to be licensed for use on the highways of this state and any trailer or semitrailer designed for use with such vehicle and includes: (a) A “private passenger motor vehicle,” which is any motor vehicle which is a sedan, station wagon, or jeep-type vehicle and, if not used primarily for occupational, professional, or business purposes, a motor vehicle of the pickup, panel, van, camper, or motor home type; and (b) A “commercial motor vehicle,” which is any motor vehicle which is not a private passenger motor vehicle.

      The term “motor vehicle” does not include a mobile home or any motor vehicle which is used in mass transit, other than public school transportation, and designed to transport more than five passengers exclusive of the operator of the motor vehicle and which is owned by a municipality, a transit authority, or a political subdivision of the state.

FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE RIDERS OWNERS OPERATORS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SECURE PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION BENEFITS (PIP) UNDER FLORIDA LAW AS PART OF THEIR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS: under Florida Statute section 627.732(3), Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law Section of the Florida statutes, because a motor vehicle is defined as any self-propelled vehicle with four or more wheels, owners of motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, trikes, motorcycles with a side car or  tri-vehicle’s, are not required to secure the $10,000 in Florida personal injury protection insurance that owners of motor vehicles are required to purchase in order to drive on the roadways. For more on Florida’s new personal injury protection (PIP) law, see my previous article.

Florida Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law Definitions (Chapter 324):

  1. Florida Statute section 324.021(1): under Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law Section of the Florida statutes, a motor vehicle is defined as every self-propelled vehicle which is designed and required to be licensed for use upon a highway, including trailers and semitrailers designed for use with such vehicles, except traction engines, road rollers, farm tractors, power shovels, and well drillers, and every vehicle which is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead wires but not operated upon rails, but not including any bicycle or moped. However, the term “motor vehicle” shall not include any motor vehicle as defined in s. 627.732(3) when the owner of such vehicle has complied with the requirements of ss. 627.730-627.7405, inclusive, unless the provisions of s. 324.051 apply; and, in such case, the applicable proof of insurance provisions of s. 320.02 apply.

FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE RIDERS OWNERS OPERATORS MUST COMPLY WITH FLORIDA’S FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LAWS AND BE ABLE TO PROVE THEIR ABILITY TO PROVIDE $10,000 PER PERSON OR $20,000 PER ACCIDENT FOR BODILY INJURY LIABILITY, AND $10,000 PER ACCIDENT IN PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY: under Florida Statute section 324.021(1), Florida’s Financial Responsibility Law Section of the Florida statutes, a motor vehicle is defined as every self-propelled vehicle which is designed and required to be licensed for use upon a highway.  The the Florida Supreme Court has held that this definition of a motor vehicle within Florida’s Financial Responsibility, includes motorcycles.  As such, pursuant to Florida Statute section 324.021(7), all owners and operators of motorcycles must prove their ability (ie., in general, you are not required to secure this type of insurance but must be able to respond in case of a motorcycle accident or crash) to respond in damages for liability on account of crashes arising out of the use of a motor vehicle (ie., motorcycle):

(a) In the amount of $10,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, one person in any one crash;

(b) Subject to such limits for one person, in the amount of $20,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, two or more persons in any one crash;

(c) In the amount of $10,000 because of injury to, or destruction of, property of others in any one crash; and

(d) With respect to commercial motor vehicles and nonpublic sector buses, in the amounts specified in ss. 627.7415 and 627.742, respectively.

FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE RIDERS OWNERS OPERATORS ARE GENERALLY NOT REQUIRED TO SECURE ANY INSURANCE (PIP, BODILY INJURY LIABILITY AND/OR PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY) IN ORDER TO OPERATE A MOTORCYCLE ON FLORIDA ROADS:  under Florida law, in general, operators of cars, trucks, etc., are required to have $10,000 in PIP insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability insurance (bodily injury liability insurance is optional).

As for motorcycles, as stated previously, personal injury protection insurance is not required (must have four wheels).  Moreover, motorcycle riders, owners, operators and/or drivers are also not required to secure $10,000 of property damage liability insurance.  Pursuant to Florida Statute 324.022(1), every owner or operator of a motor vehicle required to be registered in this state shall establish and maintain the ability to respond in damages for liability on account of accidents arising out of the use of the motor vehicle in the amount of $10,000 because of damage to, or destruction of, property of others in any one crash. The requirements of this section may be met by one of the methods established in s. 324.031; by self-insuring as authorized by s. 768.28(16); or by maintaining an insurance policy providing coverage for property damage liability in the amount of at least $10,000 because of damage to, or destruction of, property of others in any one accident arising out of the use of the motor vehicle. The requirements of this section may also be met by having a policy which provides coverage in the amount of at least $30,000 for combined property damage liability and bodily injury liability for any one crash arising out of the use of the motor vehicle. The policy, with respect to coverage for property damage liability, must meet the applicable requirements of s. 324.151, subject to the usual policy exclusions that have been approved in policy forms by the Office of Insurance Regulation. No insurer shall have any duty to defend uncovered claims irrespective of their joinder with covered claims.

It should be noted that under this same section, to wit, 324.022(2), a “motor vehicle” is defined as any self-propelled vehicle that has four or more wheels (ie., excluding motorcycles, trikes, scooters, mopeds and the like) and that is of a type designed and required to be licensed for use on the highways of this state, and any trailer or semitrailer designed for use with such vehicle. The term does not include:

1. A mobile home.

2. A motor vehicle that is used in mass transit and designed to transport more than five passengers, exclusive of the operator of the motor vehicle, and that is owned by a municipality, transit authority, or political subdivision of the state.

3. A school bus as defined in s. 1006.25.

4. A vehicle providing for-hire transportation that is subject to the provisions of s. 324.031. A taxicab shall maintain security as required under s. 324.032(1).

Thus, Motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, trikes and the like (all of which have less the four wheels) are not required to secure a policy of insurance for property damage liability (ie., when you are in an automobile accident, are at fault and cause property damage to another vehicle).  Moreover, under Florida Statute s. 324.023, bodily injury liability insurance is only required if you have been found guilty (by adjudication or guilt) or plead no contest to driving under the influence. Under  s. 324.023, every owner or operator of a motor vehicle (this definition is  not limited to four or more wheels) that is required to be registered in this state, or that is located within this state, and who, regardless of adjudication of guilt, has been found guilty of or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of driving under the influence under s. 316.193 after October 1, 2007, shall, by one of the methods established in s. 324.031(1) or (2), establish and maintain the ability to respond in damages for liability on account of accidents arising out of the use of a motor vehicle in the amount of $100,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, one person in any one crash and, subject to such limits for one person, in the amount of $300,000 because of bodily injury to, or death of, two or more persons in any one crash and in the amount of $50,000 because of property damage in any one crash. If the owner or operator chooses to establish and maintain such ability by furnishing a certificate of deposit pursuant to s. 324.031(2), such certificate of deposit must be at least $350,000. Such higher limits must be carried for a minimum period of 3 years. If the owner or operator has not been convicted of driving under the influence or a felony traffic offense for a period of 3 years from the date of reinstatement of driving privileges for a violation of s. 316.193, the owner or operator shall be exempt from this section.

IN CONCLUSION – FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS: in general, all Florida Motorcycle riders, owners, drivers and/or operators are not required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) no fault insurance, nor are they required to carry bodily injury liability or property damage liability insurance.  However, if you have been found guilty (by adjudication or plea of guilty) or plead no contest to driving under the influence after October 1, 2007, you are required to secure insurance for bodily injury liability ($100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident) and property damage liability ($50,000 per accident or crash). Notwithstanding the aforementioned, all Florida motorcycle owners and operators must still be able to comply with Florida’s financial responsibility laws under Florida Statute section 324.021(7), to wit, they must be able to respond to a judgment in case of a motorcycle accident of crash in the amount of $10,000 per person and/or $20,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, and $10,000 per accident in property damage liability.

FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE RIDERS OWNERS DRIVERS OPERATORS CAN PURCHASE UNINSURED (UM) AND/OR UNDERINSURED (UIM) MOTORIST INSURANCE:  Florida UM and UIM coverage can provide one with another source of benefits when the adverse owner and/or operator who was in the motorcycle accident or crash with you, has no insurance or their limits are too low (drivers and owners typically only have $10,000 in bodily injury liability limits).  For an extensive discussion on Florida Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage, see my previous article.

FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE INJURED MOTORISTS DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE PERMANENCY TO SECURE PAIN AND SUFFERING AS DAMAGES IN A CLAIM OR LAWSUIT: under Florida Statute section 627.737(2), Florida’s Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law Section of the Florida statutes, in any action of tort brought against the owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of a motor vehicle with respect to which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730-627.7405, or against any person or organization legally responsible for her or his acts or omissions, a plaintiff may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, or use of such motor vehicle only in the event that the injury or disease consists in whole or in part of: (a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; (b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; (c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; and/or (d) Death.

Because the definition of a “motor vehicle” under Chapter 627 is a self-propelled vehicle with “four or more wheels,” injured motorists arising out of accidents or crashes where they are driving a motorcycle, moped, scooter or  tri-vehicle, are not required to prove permanency in order to recover past or future pain and suffering damages within a Florida lawsuit or claim.

Moral of the Story: as you can see, whether you are a Florida motorcycle rider, owner, driver, passenger or operator, and you are involved in a motorcycle accident or crash in Coral Springs, Cooper City, Hallandale, Boca Raton, Homestead, West Kendall, Key Biscayne, Weston, Pompano Beach, Tamarac, Wilton Manners, Hialeah, Naples, Fort Myers, Stuart, Martin or another area within Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach or the Florida Keys, there is a lot to think about when it comes to securing insurance for your motorcycle, the Florida law you must comply with to drive your motorcycle on the Florida highways, and the law that may be applicable in case you are in a deadly motorcycle accident and require the services of a Florida personal injury attorney to advise you with regards to any motorcycle claims or lawsuits you may have to bring.

Florida Wrongful Death Claim – My Mom Was Killed in a Miami Car Accident: What Damages Are Recoverable in Florida for a Wrongful Death?

Unfortunately, everyday on the roadways throughout South Florida, whether in Miami-Dade County, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach or Monroe County (to wit, the Florida Keys, including Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada or Tavernier), family members, friends and co-workers are hurt in accidents due to the fault of another, and sometimes, they are even killed.  These accidents typically involve cars, although they can also involve trucks, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, and even bicycles.  Not knowing what to do, a surviving relative (ie., a “survivor”) may seek out the assistance of a Miami, Florida, personal injury and accident lawyer, wondering what types of damages may be recoverable when a “wrongful death” occurs.  Well, Florida Statute §768.21 (part of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act) lends some guidance to this question.  According to this statute, the following damages are recoverable for a Florida wrongful death claim or lawsuit:

Survivor:

  1. Each survivor (the loved one’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the loved one for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters) may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of your loved one’s injury to her or his death, and future loss of support and services from the date of death.
  2. The surviving spouse may recover for loss of the loved one’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
  3. Minor children (considered under the age of 25) of the loved one, and all children of the loved one if there is no surviving spouse, may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
  4. Each parent of a deceased minor child may recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury, and  each parent of an adult child may recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.
  5. Medical or funeral expenses due to the loved one’s injury or death may be recovered by a survivor who has paid them.

Estate:

  1. Medical or funeral expenses due to the loved one’s injury or death (excluding amounts paid by a survivor).
  2. Loss of earnings of the loved one from the date of injury to the date of death.
  3. Loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate (ie, the loved one’s future earnings), which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death may also be recovered if (1) the loved one’s survivors include a surviving spouse or lineal descendants (ie, children);  or (2) the loved one is not a minor child (ie, 25 and older), there are no lost support and services recoverable by a survivor, and there is a surviving parent.

On a side note, according to Florida Statute section 95.11(4)(d), the statute of limitations (time to bring a lawsuit) for a Florida wrongful death claim arising out of an automobile (whether a driver, passenger, or pedestrian), trucking, scooter, moped, bike, construction, cruise, slip and fall, trip and fall or on the job accident, is two years from the date of incident.

As you can see, these types of cases can be very complex and may require the need for a Florida Keys personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.