Helmet Laws in Florida

When a crash happens, you are 24 times more likely to die if you were riding a motorcycle than if you were riding in a car. Motorcycles have no passenger compartment to protect riders from ejection. And when a motorcyclist gets ejected, they can strike the vehicle that hit them or the road with enormous force.

Your right to personal injury compensation depends on the reasonableness of the actions you and the other driver took. Riding without a motorcycle helmet could constitute negligence. 

A lawyer from Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys can evaluate your claim and determine how your compliance with Florida helmet laws may impact your compensation. Schedule a free consultation at (727) 933-0015 with our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys in St. Petersburg, Florida.

How Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in St. Petersburg, FL

How Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in St. Petersburg, FL

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys provides legal representation to accident victims throughout St. Petersburg, FL. Since 2018, our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our injured clients.

If you suffer an injury, our St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyers can provide the following:

  • A free case evaluation so you can make informed decisions about your case
  • A legal team with over 25 years of combined experience fighting insurance companies for compensation
  • Lawyers with a reputation for fiercely advocating for injured clients in court

A motorcycle crash can leave you with disabling injuries. Contact Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your motorcycle accident injuries.

Do Motorcycle Helmets Work?

Motorcycle helmets reduce the odds of head injuries and deaths from motorcycle accidents. When you wear a helmet compliant with U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulations, you reduce your risk of a head injury by up to 69%. These helmets also reduce the risk of death by up to 37% for operators and 41% for passengers.

These numbers encouraged Congress to pass a transportation bill in the late 1960s that allowed the USDOT to withhold highway funds from states that did not require all riders to wear motorcycle helmets. When Congress rescinded the authority granted to the USDOT to penalize states, every state except California, Illinois, and Utah had a universal motorcycle helmet law.

Today, 47 states still have motorcycle helmet laws. But most, like Florida, have watered them down. Illinois, New Hampshire, and Iowa do not require any riders to wear helmets. On the other end of the scale, 18 states, plus Washington, D.C., require all riders to wear helmets. The remaining 29 states, including Florida, have a limited helmet law.

Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

Florida’s motorcycle helmet law requires some riders to wear helmets while exempting others. But the exemptions make the law virtually unenforceable. As a result, police officers in Florida rarely write citations for riding without a helmet.

A search on Florida’s traffic citation report system lists 2,871 citations in 2022 across the entire state for riding helmetless. For comparison, police officers wrote over 72,000 citations in 2022 for driving without a seat belt. In other words, officers issued over 25 times more seat belt tickets than helmet tickets.

Since Florida had a universal helmet law in the 1970s, the current law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a USDOT-approved helmet. Under federal regulations, helmets must meet certain safety standards to receive approval. Novelty helmets do not qualify for federal approval.

But Florida’s helmet law creates an exception that swallows the rule. Operators and passengers over 21 years old can ride without a helmet if they have at least $10,000 in medical benefits that will pay for any motorcycle injuries.

This exemption prevents police officers from easily enforcing the helmet law. There is no easy way to determine whether someone has health insurance. While Florida recommends that all helmetless riders carry their health insurance card, it does not require them to do it.

As a result, police officers only enforce obvious violations of the helmet law. Specifically, if a helmetless rider or passenger clearly looks like a minor under 21, officers may stop them to check their age.

Consequences of Helmetless Motorcycle Riding

If you get cited for riding without a helmet, you must pay a $30 fine. But you will not have any points added to your driving record.

Your odds of suffering head injuries increase when you ride without a helmet. Head trauma can lead to disfiguring facial injuries, blindness, and brain injuries. While you might accept this risk, your passenger also has the same increased risk of injury.

You have several potential liabilities from a motorcycle crash. First, a passenger could pursue a personal injury claim against you for negligent driving and failing to provide a helmet. Second, if a negligent driver hit you, your failure to wear a helmet might prevent you from recovering compensation under the doctrine of comparative fault.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

A motorcycle crash can leave you with life-changing injuries to the head, face, and brain, even if you wear a helmet. Contact Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys for a free consultation at (727) 933-0015 to discuss your motorcycle accident injuries and the compensation you can pursue under Florida law.