Every state has its own laws for motorcycle riders, including Florida. It’s important that you understand the laws specific to any state where you’ll be riding, and with that in mind, the following are an overview of the most pertinent laws for motorcycle riders in the Sunshine State.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws
The laws in Florida regarding motorcycle riding have changed and evolved a lot through the years. In Florida, all operators of motorcycles are required to wear a helmet that meets Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standards.
If you’re over the age of 21, you might be able to avoid wearing a helmet if you have proof of insurance with at least $10,000 in medical coverage for all injuries.
Under the law in Florida, all riders under the age of 21 have to wear a helmet while they’re operating or riding on a motorcycle. The law also says that riders of all ages have to be equipped with adequate eye protection when they’re on a motorcycle or traveling on public roads.
While you might technically be able to get away with not wearing a helmet in Florida if you’re over the age of 21 and have a certain amount of insurance coverage, this doesn’t mean you should go without one. Helmets are an important part of staying safe when you ride a motorcycle, and they can end up saving your life.
If you’re in an accident in Florida and not wearing a helmet, you still have an opportunity to recover compensation, but you’re going to be at a much higher risk of severe injuries.
Do You Need a Motorcycle License?
If you want to legally ride a motorcycle in Florida, you need one of two kinds of licenses. Your first option is a motorcycle endorsement on a current Florida license, or you can get a motorcycle-only license.
If you’re a new resident in the state, you’ll need to get your Florida driver’s license, and then you can add a motorcycle endorsement.
If you want a motorcycle-only license, you don’t need to get an in-state license, but you need to be at least 16, and you have to complete a 15-hour Basic Rider Course. You need to have at least a Class E driver’s license as well.
Motorcyclists aren’t required in Florida to have liability insurance when they register their motorcycles. If they are involved in a crash, though, they’re going to be financially responsible, and they’ll potentially have to pay penalties.
Because of that, it’s not required, but it is recommended that motorcyclists get personal injury protection (PIP) for at least $20,000 in total bodily injury and $10,000 in coverage for property damage.
If you do have insurance, you’ll want to keep physical proof of it with you whenever you’re riding.
Full Use of the Road Rights
In Florida, roadway rules apply to motorcyclists, meaning that you have to follow all the same rules as people in vehicles. You can’t weave in and out of any traffic, and you have to follow traffic signals.
If you’re on a moped and you’re traveling slower than the flow of traffic, under the law, you’re required to hug the curb on the right side.
You have the right to full use of your lane, but you can share a lane with another motorcyclist if you choose. Other drivers have to give you full lane use.
Other relevant Florida motorcycle laws include:
- You’re required to have your headlights turned on at all times in Florida, including during the day, to help drivers see you.
- If your motorcycle is designed to carry two people, then you can have a passenger, but otherwise, you can’t. This means your motorcycle has a permanent, additional seat. You can attach another seat to your motorcycle if you can make sure that the position isn’t going to impact the view or operation of the motorcycle.
- Motorcyclists in Florida can’t pass other vehicles in the same lane, nor can they lane-split. Lane splitting is when motorcyclists ride between the lanes of traffic.
- Your bike needs footrests, stop lamps, signals, and handlebars.
- A motorcycle, under the law, is defined as a vehicle with no more than three wheels.
Finally, if you break a motorcycle law in Florida, it’s usually a civil infraction. They aren’t crimes, but a civil infraction can still cost you a lot of time and money to deal with. There are certain motorcycle offenses that are crimes. For example, if you’re driving recklessly, you may face the same charges and consequences someone driving a car recklessly would face.