Does Florida have a helmet law for motorcyclists?
Yes, but it is not as far-reaching as motorcycle helmet laws in many other states.
If you are under the age of 21, you are required to wear a helmet in Florida. But people over 21 may operate or ride a motorcycle without a helmet if they are covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries. Fla. Stat. § 316.211.
So, if you're over 21 and you've got a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance coverage, you're not required to wear a helmet in Florida.
But failing to wear a helmet can cost you more than a traffic ticket in Florida. If you're in a motorcycle accident and you're not wearing a helmet, you're at risk of serious injury or death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Florida had the most motorcycle fatalities in 2019. And most of the riders killed weren't wearing helmets when they crashed.
In a personal injury or wrongful death claim after a motorcycle accident, you might not get full compensation for your losses if the other side can show that your injuries were caused—or made worse—by your failure to wear a helmet. Florida follows a "pure comparative fault" rule when parties share blame for an accident. If you sue the other driver and you are found to be partially at fault for an accident, your damages award is reduced by a percentage equal to your blame.
For example, let's say your damages total $100,000. But a jury decides that you're 40% to blame for your head injuries because you were in violation of Florida's motorcycle helmet law at the time of the accident. You can $60,000 (60% of your total damages) from the other driver.
For more information, check out our article on Florida Car Accident Laws.
by: David Goguen, J.D.