While it may be legal for some people to ride motorcycles without helmets in Florida, it's a good idea for riders to wear helmets at all times. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that bikers without helmets are 15 percent more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries—and roughly twice as likely to suffer fatal head injuries—after an accident than helmeted riders.
That said, state law only requires riders who are under the age of 21 to wear a helmet compliant with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) while operating a motorcycle. Riders over the age of 21 may operate or ride motorcycles without helmets as long as they're covered under an insurance policy that offers at least $10,000 in injury benefit protection.
In addition, Florida law requires riders of all ages to wear eye protection such as goggles or face shields while operating a motorcycle, even the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield. Sunglasses and prescription glasses or usually not considered adequate to meet the eye protection requirement.
License Requirements for Florida Motorcyclists
Proper training and licensing is essential in the prevention of Florida motorcycle accidents. Florida has strict licensing and road skills assessment requirements for any person wishing to operate a two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with an engine size greater than 50cc. Motorcycle operators may be legally licensed in one of two ways: by achieving and maintaining a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s licenses, or by holding a Motorcycle Only license.
In general, motorcyclists need to compete the following to be legally licensed in Florida:
- Florida driver’s license with motorcycle endorsement. Drivers who wish to add a motorcycling endorsement to their licenses must hold at least a valid Class E operator’s license, as well as pass the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) offered through the Florida Rider Training Program with an authorized sponsor. These courses involve on-cycle riding sessions to practice road safety techniques, and cover a variety of programs on gauging the riding environment, understanding hazards, and avoiding crashes. A motorcycle endorsement can be added to a license up to one year after successful completion of the BRC.
- Motorcycle Only license. By state law, no person under 16 can legally operate or be licensed to operate a motorcycle, moped, motorized scooter, motorized bicycle, or other two or three-wheel motor vehicle on Florida street or highways. In addition, anyone who is at least 16 but under 18 will have to hold a Learner’s License for at least one year with no traffic convictions before applying for motorcycle licensing. If you are over 16, you must pass the same road knowledge test that is necessary for a regular Class E driver license, and you must complete the BRC with an authorized sponsor. When the BRC is successfully completed, you must report the completion of the course and show your state-issued ID to a driver’s license office. You will need to pay any required vehicle or endorsement fees before your Motorcycle Only license can be issued, and the license will be restricted to operating motorcycles.
- Motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license issued by another state. If your driver’s license was issued by a state other than Florida and is endorsed for motorcycle operation, Florida will recognize the endorsement automatically. The only exception is for holders of Alabama licenses with motorcycle endorsements, who must provide proof of completion of a Motorcycle Safety Foundation BRC, or perform a BRC before the motorcycle endorsement is considered legally valid.
Although many motorcyclists take every hill and corner with the utmost care, they're often surrounded by drivers who may not practice the same diligent safety precautions. If you or someone you love has been involved in a motorcycle accident, our aggressive legal team can take over the case while you take the time you need to recover. Simply fill out the form on this page today to make an appointment in our offices.