If you live in Florida, you may see motorcyclists cruising down the open road or sitting next to you in traffic without a helmet on. The state of Florida has become popular with motorcycle enthusiasts who do not want to wear helmets. Because of unhelmeted riders and Florida’s ever increasing population, motorcycle safety is an important issue.
With the repeal of the helmet law in 2000, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents increased in the state by 21 percent. This suggests that motorcyclists without helmets have a higher chance of being killed in a crash. Although fatal motorcycle accident statistics have fluctuated throughout the years, motorcycle accidents in Florida involving serious injuries and fatalities have continued to show an upward trend.
Florida Helmet Law
While there is not a mandatory motorcycle helmet law, there are some rules that surround helmet use in Florida. The law currently states that no person under 16 years of age is allowed to operate or ride on a motorcycle or moped without wearing securely fastened protective headgear. Additionally, anyone under the age of 21 cannot legally ride on a motorcycle without a helmet.
However, any motorcyclist over 21 years of age can operate a motorcycle without wearing a helmet if the operator is covered by insurance. In order for motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, they have to carry $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred in a motorcycle crash. Passengers on a motorcycle 21 and older can also follow the same law so long as the motorcycle operator also has medical coverage insurance for the passenger. If not, the passenger will need to have his or her own insurance coverage.
In 2011, helmet use among motorcyclists in Florida was about 49.3 percent. While motorcyclists that meet the criteria listed above can ride without a helmet, it is not recommended due to the seriousness of injuries in the event of a motorcycle crash. Unhelmeted riders often suffer more injuries to the head, such as:
- Facial wounds and injuries
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injury
According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmeted motorcyclists and their passengers are less likely to suffer from head and brain injuries. However, both helmeted and unhelmeted riders are entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Have you suffered a head trauma or another type of injury in a Sarasota motorcycle accident? Call the Mallard Law Firm today at 888-409-3805 to speak with a skilled Sarasota motorcycle accident attorney in a free consultation.