Driving in Florida can sometimes be one of the most frustrating parts of the week. The road is full of people who cut you off, daily accidents on the bridges, and aggressive drivers who would benefit from a couple of meditation sessions. It’s dangerous for everyone, and even more so for motorcyclists. It’s no wonder the Sunshine State has one of the highest accident rates in the country.
When it comes to traffic laws, everyone is familiar with the basics – like stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights. Every vehicle on the road is responsible for ensuring traffic safety. But, what about motorcyclists? Are there any specific laws that apply to them?
Do you need a motorcycle license in Florida?
In order to drive a motorcycle legally, Florida law says that two- or three-wheeled motorcycles 50cc or greater require one of two different kinds of licenses. Your options include a motorcycle endorsement on your existing Florida motor license or a motorcycle-only license. If you’re a new resident to the Sunshine state, you’ll need to obtain a Florida driver’s license, at which point you can add a motorcycle endorsement to your license for $7. New riders will need to take the 15-hour Basic Rider Course before an endorsement can be issued.
If you don’t have an existing Florida license and don’t plan to get one, then you can get a motorcycle-only license for $48. While you won’t need an in-state driver’s license to obtain a motorcycle-only license, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be at least 16 years of age
- You must complete a 15-hour Basic Rider Course
- You must have at least a Class E driver’s license
What are the Motorcycle Laws in Florida?
The same way you need to study traffic rules before obtaining a driver’s license, Florida requires motorcyclists to study motorcycle laws. Once you pass the Basic Rider Course (BRC), your driver’s license will have a motorcycle endorsement. If you fail the examination, you’ll incur a $5 fee for each subsequent time you have to take it, to be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund.
Unlike motor vehicles with four wheels, motorcyclists are not required to carry liability insurance in the state of Florida when registering a motorcycle. However, if they’re involved in a car crash, they will be held financially responsible and penalties may be involved. As such, it’s suggested that motorcyclists obtain personal injury protection (PIP) for a minimum of $20,000 in total bodily injury and $10,000 to cover property damage.
If you have some type of insurance, you’ll need to provide physical proof of insurance when riding your motorcycle. This makes it easier and less time-consuming to provide proof in case it’s requested from a police officer.
Florida Statutes 316.405 requires motorcycle operators to have their headlights turned on at all times, even during the day. This ensures you can be seen by cars driving around you.
Motorcycle drivers are only allowed to carry a passenger if their bike was designed to carry two people – meaning it has a permanent additional seat. The motorcyclist can attach another seat to the motorcycle, as long as its position will not interfere with the operation or view of the motorcycle.
Lane Passing & Lane Splitting
Florida Statutes Section 316.081 prohibits motorcycle drivers to pass other motor vehicles in the same lane. The same applies to lane splitting – which is when a motorcyclist rides his or her bike between traffic lanes.
Motorcyclists riding their bikes in Florida are required to wear a helmet and protective eyewear. This protective equipment has to comply with the Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218, promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The only exception to this statute is if the driver is older than 21 years of age and is covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in coverage for medical injuries sustained by the driver – this is in addition to the minimum of $20,000 for liability injuries mentioned previously.
Call Clark Law for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been involved in a car accident with a motorcycle and don’t know how to move forward, let us help you. Our legal experts will ensure you have the best outcome possible.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.