What are the Motorcycle Laws in Florida? The Ultimate Guide

Florida-Motorcycle-Laws

Introduction

Are you wondering what Florida's motorcycle laws are? You may have heard that they’re different than Florida’s car and truck laws. Florida’s motorcycle laws and insurance requirements can be confusing. So, we’re here to help you navigate the confusion and find the information you need to ride a motorcycle in Florida. As a motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida, I’ve written this guide to help you understand your rights and obligations when you ride. Let’s start with the most common questions I receive from my motorcycle accident clients.

Does the Florida No Fault Law Apply to Motorcyclists?

  • The Florida No Fault Law does not apply to motorcyclists in Florida because it only applies to cars and non-commercial trucks. Motorcycle riders are not required to have no-fault, PIP insurance. However, there are special insurance requirements for motorcyclists.

    • No Fault (PIP) Insurance is not required for motorcyclists in Florida.
    • Which means in the event of a motorcycle accident where you’re not at fault, the liable party will be responsible for your damages.
    • If you’re over twenty-one and you don’t wear a helmet, you’re required to have at least $10,000 of medical payments coverage. This is required by the Florida motorcycle helmet law. The coverage pays for your medical treatment up to your dollar limit regardless of whether someone else was at fault in causing the wreck.
    • Contact an experienced Florida motorcycle accident lawyer to assist you with your claim.

  • While the Florida No Fault Law does not apply to motorcyclists, there are a number of laws and requirements motorcyclists must meet. Let’s cover them each in detail.

What are Florida’s Motorcycle License Requirements?

  • The first step is to get your learner’s permit. To get the learner’s permit you need to take a four-hour drug and alcohol course approved by the state of Florida. You also have to pass the learner’s permit test.

  • Next you have to pass the Florida Driver’s License Exam (if you haven’t already for your car). This gets you a Class E operator’s driver license.

  • You must then complete the Florida Basic Rider Course (BRC).
  • Once you pass the BRC course, you take your paperwork to the DMV and pay the Endorsement Fee to get a motorcycle endorsement added to your Class E license.

  • There is another way to get a “Motorcycle Only” driver’s license: If you’re 16 or 17 years old and have had a learner’s permit for one year with no traffic violations, you can get a “Motorcycle Only” license by completing these steps:
    • Pass the same knowledge test as for a Class E license.
    • Complete the Basic Rider Course.

What are Florida’s Motorcycle Insurance Requirements?

  • Florida’s motorcycle insurance requirements can be a bit confusing.
  • In short, motorcyclists are not required to purchase insurance unless they choose to ride without a helmet. However, Florida does have a financial responsibility law whose requirements all motorcycle riders have to meet. The easiest way to meet the financial responsibility requirements is by purchasing insurance that meets certain minimum requirements of coverage.

  • The minimum insurance you can purchase to meet the financial responsibility requirements are:
    • $10,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
    • $20,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident (spread across the number of people injured in the accident)
    • $10,000 in property damage liability insurance per accident

  • If you ride without a helmet, Florida’s motorcycle laws have an additional insurance requirement. In this case you must have a minimum:
    • $10,000 in medical payments coverage (since PIP is not required)

  • As a Gainesville motorcycle accident lawyer serving clients in greater Florida I’m here to tell you that’s not all the insurance you should consider purchasing. Motorcycle accidents often result in severe and life-changing injuries. You need a lot more than the Florida minimum insurance requirements to protect yourself.

  • To protect yourself fully, consider adding:
    • Uninsured Motorist insurance: This is the most critical insurance to purchase. This is money that pays for your personal injuries resulting from an accident caused by another driver. Most Florida drivers are underinsured or completely uninsured. If they hurt you, you may not be able to recover more than about $10,000 from them. One trip to the hospital in an ambulance can easily cost that much. You need uninsured/underinsured coverage to pay for all the additional medical expenses and damages you incur.

    • Collision Coverage: This will pay to repair or replace your bike after an accident regardless of who was at fault in causing the wreck.

    • Comprehensive Coverage: This will pay to repair or replace your motorcycle from damage or theft that occurs in situations other than traffic accidents.

    • Gap Insurance: This coverage pays for the difference between what you owe for your motorcycle and what it is worth at market value. This is useful if you took out a large loan to buy your motorcycle. If the bike gets damaged or stolen, normal collision or comprehensive insurance will only pay for the actual cash value of the bike at the time of loss. That takes into account depreciation, so it will be a lower amount than what you paid and possibly still owe on the bike.

Motorcycle Registration Laws in FL

  • You need to gather some paperwork before you head to your local registration office.
  • You will need your Florida motorcycle license.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • You will need to have a VIN and Odometer verification done by a police officer, car dealer, or certified DMV inspector if your motorcycle was registered in another state.
  • If you just purchased the motorcycle in Florida, the dealer should give you the title and registration. If you bought it from a private seller, you will need to complete the transfer of title and registration.
  • Registration fee.

Motorcycle Operation Laws in FL

  • Motorcyclists have all the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers when operating their bike on Florida’s roadways. These are the Right of Way laws that govern how drivers and pedestrians are supposed to interact in traffic situations. Florida law is written in terms of which motorist or pedestrian is required to “yield the right of way” in various situations. Those situations include:
    • Signs and Crosswalks
    • Traffic Lights
    • Intersections and Roundabouts
    • Highways
    • Lane changing

  • Motorcycle laws and responsibilities also include the common traffic and Florida car accident laws. Among these are rules about what to do in the event of an accident, police reports, and how fault and damages are determined in Florida motorcycle accidents.

  • Additionally, all street legal bikes are required to have:
    • At least two Headlights, showing white lights to the front of the motorcycle. (Florida Statutes 316.220)
    • Stop Lamps – at least two brake lights are required on the back of the bike.
    • Turn Signals that show to the front and rear of the bike.
    • Mirrors – there must be at least one rearview mirror that shows the rear view at least up to 200 feet away.

  • Certain traffic laws are specific to motorcycles. These include:
    • Passengers may only ride on motorcycles that are designed for extra riders and include extra seating for passengers.
    • Riders may not carry packages that keep them from having both hands on the handlebars.
    • Riders may not have handlebars that are higher than shoulder level of the rider.
    • Motorcycles cannot be driven on sidewalks.
    • Riders may not wear headset or listening devices.

The Florida Motorcycle Helmet Law and No Helmet Defense

  • Florida is one of about 32 states that do not require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. There are 18 states with universal helmet laws, meaning every rider has to wear a helmet. In about 29 states, including Florida, only certain riders, usually those under a certain age, are required to wear a helmet. There are three states with no helmet requirements at all.

  • But even though it may be legal in Florida to ride without a helmet, choosing to do so could limit your ability to recover full damages in the event you’re injured by another party. That’s because a jury might find that you were comparatively negligent, or partially at fault for your injuries if those injuries would have been avoided if you were wearing a helmet.

  • These considerations are important enough that I’ve written a detailed article on this topic. It discusses the history of helmet laws, the safety of riding without a helmet, and statistics regarding motorcycle accidents in Florida and other states.

  • Learn more by clicking the link here: Florida motorcycle helmet law

Florida Lane Splitting Law

  • Lane splitting on your motorbike is controversial, and you’ll see it happen on some roads all the time.

  • Lane splitting is when a motorcyclist shares the lane with a car, usually in order to pass between two cars that are in adjoining lanes.

  • And while there are some benefits to riders, including:
    • Reducing congestion
    • Accelerating a rider’s ability to get out of congested and risky traffic situations.
    • Reducing pollution and fuel usage
    • And avoiding the risk of rear end collisions

  • Lane splitting in Florida is not legal. Although it may be legal in some other states and has some benefits, the Florida legislature has passed laws making it illegal in Florida.

  • That means if you’re involved in an accident while lane-splitting, you will probably be found at fault in the accident. That can drastically reduce your ability to recover money for your injuries and damages. It’s possible that you will only be found partially at fault for lane-splitting and causing the accident. But either way, your ability to seek compensation will be affected negatively.

What are Florida’s Scooter and Moped Laws?

  • Scooters, mopeds and other motorized two-wheel vehicles have their own unique laws and requirements, depending on the type of vehicle being used. Scooters are treated like motorcycles under Florida law, but the other slower moving vehicles have slightly different requirements.
  • To learn more, check out our article on Florida scooter and moped laws

Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

  • Florida’s motorcycle requirements are confusing. There are issues of liability or who was at fault in the accident and additional issues of insurance coverage.

  • And fault is often unfairly placed on motorcyclists. Motorcyclists have a bad reputation among some drivers as being speed demons who engage in risky behavior. However, motorcyclists are often injured by someone else’s mistake, not their own. So they deserve full compensation in those cases.

  • If you feel you’ve been injured by another party in an accident while riding your motorcycle, it’s probably a good idea to discuss your case details with an attorney.

  • As a Gainesville motorcycle accident lawyer serving riders in greater Florida, feel free to contact me about your case.

  • I can help you:
    • Get back on the road to recovery.
    • Recommend medical specialists for you to get treatment.
    • Make sure the wrongdoer and the insurance companies pay you full compensation to make you whole.

  • To get started, simply submit your case details for a free online case evaluation

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