Motorcycles and bicycles are great modes of transportation. They take up much less space than a car does, consume much less fuel, and can take us faster to where we want to go than a car can. It’s also easier to find parking spaces for them because they are significantly smaller than an average car.
Oh, and did we mention you can steer clear from traffic? Owing to the small space motorcycles and bicycles take on the road, you can go through alleys that a regular car can’t.
Here in Florida, there are quite a number of motorcycles and motorcycle drivers on the road. In fact, as of 2020, there were 620,077 units registered. However, with all the good things that can be said about owning and riding a motorcycle or a bicycle, there are also some negative and scary aspects about them. On the top of that list is the obvious one— riding in them can be more dangerous than riding in a car. Because these vehicles are not enclosed, the body is exposed to more dangers and more prone to severe injury if there ever was an accident on the road.
Having said that, those who ride on these type of vehicles might want to equip themselves with protective gear that could help mitigate the effects of such accidents. By now, you are probably wondering, is there a helmet law in Florida? And if so, what are they, and are there any exceptions to them?
The answer to all of the above is “Yes.” There is indeed a helmet law in Florida. There is a law stated in the Florida Statutes Section 316.211, which states the following:
(1) A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt this standard by agency rule.
(2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department.
This rule is not absolute, however, as there are some exceptions. The same statute provides:
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
If you notice, the exceptions are quite wide in their scope. Anyone who is over the age of 21 and is a holder of an insurance policy over $10,000 can opt to not wear protective gear while riding a motorcycle or a bicycle. So what is really in place in Florida is a partial use of the helmet law.
Helmet Law in Florida: Getting Injured While Riding a Motorcycle or Bicycle
We briefly discussed above that riding on either a motorcycle or a bike can be quite dangerous. But just how dangerous can they be? Depending on the severity of your accident, you may get the following injuries while riding on one:
- Skin lacerations;
- Broken bones;
- Internal bleeding and other organ damage;
- Spinal injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries; and
In fact, in 2020, there were a total number of 5,082 bicycle injuries in Florida. With more and more people opting for alternative modes of transportation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (which can occur in tightly packed spaces), there was also an increase in the number of accidents.
While Florida laws provide for certain exceptions to its helmet laws, and if you do fall under the said exceptions, it still might be better to remain prudent and wear a helmet nonetheless. This will help lessen the blow of an accident should you ever get into one. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) reports that wearing a helmet has helped reduce death by 37% and the risk of head injury by 69%. Even if you have the necessary insurance to exempt you from wearing a helmet, it would definitely still be better to help one in order to prevent serious bodily harm.
After all, what’s a few minutes or hours of temporary discomfort compared to your safety right?
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Motorcycle or Bicycle Accident?
If you are ever in an accident while riding a motorcycle or a bicycle without a helmet, you might think that you will not be able to claim anything for the damages and injuries you sustained. But that is not the case. You may still file a claim against the at-fault party, but your claim might be greatly reduced because you weren’t wearing protective equipment.
You see, the fact that you failed to take precautionary measures may indicate that you contributed to your own injury. This is also referred to as ‘contributory negligence.’
Assuming that you weren’t aware of the helmet law in Florida or in whatever state you’re from, you weren’t aware of the concept of contributory negligence, and you relied on your insurance, you might need to call a personal injury lawyer in Florida who is experienced in handling helmet law claims. They will help you assess the damage to your property and the injury that you sustained so you can properly file a claim.
The following are types of damages that you can claim for an injury sustained in a motorcycle accident:
- Hospital bills;
- Loss of income and diminished earning capacity;
- Property damages;
- Out-of-pocket expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish; and
- Wrongful death damages.
On the other hand, if you were the motorist who caused injury or damages to a motorcyclist who was not wearing a helmet, your personal injury lawyer can help you as well to minimize the damages you have to pay. An experienced lawyer can help you prove that their own negligence caused them their injuries. While you might not be completely free from liability, your lawyer can ensure that you only have to pay for the damages you actually contributed to, and not a dime more.
Call A Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida Today
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident involving a motorcyclist not wearing a helmet, you need to call a personal injury law firm in Florida immediately.
Contact our personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation. It is absolutely FREE and you pay nothing until we help you settle your case. The other party and the insurance company will have lawyers working for them. You need to make sure you have one working for you too!