Unique Issues For Florida Motorcyclists
Riding a motorcycle in Florida can be absolutely glorious, between the weather and the coastal roads. However, since there are many riders in the state and a lot of traffic, it can also be dangerous. If you plan to ride a motorcycle in Florida, there are certain legal provisions that you need to be aware of, as they will likely differ from the regulations in surrounding states.
Safety & Insurance Regulations
Perhaps the most immediately important in a day-to-day sense is the safety law in Florida. Florida is one of the states which does not require a helmet for riders over 21, provided that they are covered by an insurance policy of at least $10,000 in bodily injury benefits. While one may agree or disagree with the helmet laws, it is important to note the distinction in insurance requirements – motorcyclists must carry at least $10,000 in medical benefit coverage, but they are not required to carry personal injury protection (PIP). This is directly in opposition to the regulations governing drivers of automobiles in the state.
For automobile drivers, Florida is considered a no-fault state, wherein most lawsuits related to personal injury from vehicle accidents are prohibited unless the injury is significant and severe. Instead of lawsuits, drivers are expected to be carrying sufficient insurance coverage to manage all medical bills and damage, and most do – PIP is required, while BI is recommended. However, the law explicitly excludes motorcyclists, forcing them to carry their own coverage. Given that motorcyclists are significantly more at risk of death and injury than vehicle drivers in most collisions, it can seem confusing, but that is the case.
Showing Off Can Cost You
One other important fact about Florida’s motorcycle laws is that showing off – riding in a dangerous manner, popping ‘wheelies’ and the like – can wind up costing the rider money. It may seem like nothing, but given Florida’s high rate of motorcycle-related deaths and injuries, the state sees fit to try and crack down on anything hazardous. As such, any kind of horseplay or improper riding where the wheels leave the ground may be punished as a noncriminal traffic violation, but those can still add up. Florida law enforcement is trying to save lives.
It is important, however, to keep in mind that while it is considered a nonmoving violation if your bike’s wheels both leave the ground, this does not hold true if they do so when the bike is out of your control briefly, such as in a rainstorm or if the road surface is otherwise poor. It would be against public policy to charge such a thing, even as a minor traffic violation, because charging someone for conduct they have no control over is nonsensical in terms of the U.S. legal system’s apportionment of blame.
Contact A Tampa Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Riding motorcycles is a great love for many people, but it is a responsibility for each person to enjoy that hobby responsibly. If you have questions about Florida’s motorcycle laws, or any other unique factors you need to be aware of both before and during an accident, contacting an attorney is a good first step. The Rinaldo Law Group is one of Tampa’s hard-working firms, focused primarily on vehicle accidents and personal injury, and we are happy to sit down and try to help you with your case. Contact our office today at 813-831-9999 to schedule a consultation.