To Wear Or Not To Wear? Florida Helmet Laws

Simple common sense dictates that if you want to get the best protection possible while riding a motorcycle, you should wear the appropriate gear. Obviously, traffic theory and reality don’t always mesh, especially in a state with weather as nice as Florida. No one is going to argue that wearing riding leathers and putting on a helmet doesn’t add more protection to a rider who is already at risk from no seatbelts and no chassis to protect from outside shocks and impacts.

But at the same time, on a clear, sunny day, the idea of being on a motorcycle with a comfortable pair of blue jeans, a favorite shirt and only sun glasses against the glare is an appealing idea. And in Florida, depending on your situation, this may be a 100% legal option. So how does Florida traffic law work when it comes to motorcycle helmets and how might this affect you in an accident?

It’s The Law When Except When It Isn’t

Florida helmet law seems simple at first. The law simply states that all motorcyclists must wear a helmet and that’s easy enough to understand. But then things get a bit more complicated when the law further states that if you’re over the age of 21 and don’t want to wear a helmet you don’t have to. So how can it be both legally required and not to wear a helmet?

The answer comes in the form of insurance. If you’re over the age of 21 but choose not to wear a helmet when you ride, this means that you are, at least in theory, agreeing to get medical insurance coverage of at least $10,000 to offset the higher risk that you may receive an injury that requires medical treatment.

The law also says that if you’re over 16 and don’t want to wear a helmet while riding on a motorcycle, you don’t have to, but only if the vehicle you’re operating can barely be considered a motorcycle. If you’re on a motorized two wheeled vehicle with an engine that’s 50ccs or less, with less than 2 brake horsepower and a top speed that doesn’t go over 30 mph—in other words, probably a motorized scooter—then no helmet is required.

These laws also apply to passengers, unless those passengers are in a side-car.

Eye Protection Always Matters

However, even when Florida law says you don’t have to wear a helmet, it’s a different story when it comes to your eyes. Traveling at high speeds generates a lot of wind that is hitting your eyes and can impair your vision, which in turn affects your performance. No matter what your age and insurance situation, Florida law requires, at minimum, that you have appropriate eye protection when you ride a motorcycle.

When An Injury Occurs

While it may be obvious that a case in which someone who is at fault else injures you while on a motorcycle must be held responsible, not wearing a helmet can complicate matters. Much depends on the circumstances, especially in a state with complex helmet laws like Florida, but it’s guaranteed that if you are involved in a personal injury case where you weren’t wearing a helmet, this adds an extra layer of challenge to smoothly resolving the case..