Florida Motorcycle Helmet Law
An approved safety helmet is one of the most basic protections that a rider can use to protect himself or herself from becoming a tragic motorcycle accident statistic, yet only 50 percent of riders use helmets. Even in Florida, which has the second-highest number of motorcycle accidents, deaths and injuries in the country, many riders would rather face the risk of serious injury or death and a $35 ticket than wear protective headgear. It is also important to remember that if a rider is injured in an accident, a jury may not be sympathetic to a person who is riding in violation of the law and has not taken steps to protect himself or herself despite the strength of the case or the skills of his or her Daytona Beach motorcycle accident attorney.
Here is the transcript of Florida’s helmet law:
Florida Statutes Annotated Title XXIII
Motor Vehicles Chapter 316
State Uniform Traffic Control
Section 1. Subsection (3) of section 316.211, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
316.211. Equipment for motorcycle and moped riders
(3) (a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (l), 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.
(4) No person under 16 years of age shall operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with standards established by the department.
Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2000.
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
Laws 1985, c. 85-329, s 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1985, added former subsec. (5) and rewrote former subsec. (4) [now subsec. (5)] which formerly provided:
"The department is authorized to approve or disapprove protective headgear and eye-protective devices required herein and to issue and enforce regulations establishing standards and specifications for the approval thereof. The department shall publish lists of all protective headgear and eye-protective devices by name and type which have been approved by it."
NOTES OF DECISIONS
This section requiring motorcycle riders to wear protective headgear did not violate constitutional right to privacy or rights characterized by motorcycle operator as rights "to be let alone" by government and to be free from "paternalistic" legislation; this section constituted valid exercise of state's police powers to prevent unnecessary injury to riders themselves and to prevent public from having to bear costs of such injury, and there was no broad legal or constitutional right to be let alone. Picou v. Gillum, C.A.11 (Fla.) 1989, 874 F.2d 1519, certiorari denied 110 S.Ct. 283, 493 U.S. 920, 107 L.Ed.2d 263.
Considering fact that a flying object could easily strike a bareheaded cyclist and cause him to lose control of his vehicle, as well as fact that wind or an insect flying into cyclist's eyes could create a hazard to others on highway, this section requiring motorcyclists to wear both crash helmets and safety goggles is in the interests of health, safety and welfare of the public and constitutes a reasonable exercise of state's police power. Bogue v. Faircloth, D.C.Fla.1970, 316 F.Supp. 486, appeal dismissed 441 F.2d 623.
This section requiring the operator of a motorcycle to wear protective headgear has a rational and valid purpose and is not subject to attacks of vagueness and unconstitutional delegation. Hamm v. State, 387 So.2d 946 (1980).
This section providing that no person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the department and unless he is wearing an eye protective device of type approved by the department contains no fatal ambiguity as to the type of protective headgear required to be worn. Cesin v. State, 288 So.2d 473 (1974).
Portion of former s 317.981 (see, now, this section) prescribing protective headgear for motorcyclists wherein specific standards for protective equipment were left to department of public safety did not constitute an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power, nor was it void for vagueness. State v. Eitel, 227 So.2d 489 (1969).
Motorcyclists do not have a constitutional right to ride the highways without wearing headgear prescribed by legislature for their protection. State v. Eitel, 227 So.2d 489 (1969).
2. Protective headgear requirement
Evidence, which indicated that motorcycle passenger wore helmet at time of accident and that helmet flew off at point of impact, was insufficient to establish comparative negligence based on alleged violation of statute requiring persons riding motorcycle to wear protective headgear securely fastened. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Vosburgh, App. 4 Dist., 480 So.2d 140 (1985).
In negligence action arising out of motorcycle accident, trial court did not err in precluding defendants from introducing evidence and later arguing to jury that plaintiffs' decedent was guilty of comparative negligence by failing to wear protective headgear at time of accident in violation of statute, since no evidence was adduced that the violation of the statute was the proximate cause of head injuries sustained by decedent. Rex Utilities, Inc. v. Gaddy, App. 3 Dist., 413 So.2d 1232 (1982), review denied 422 So.2d 843.
3. Municipal regulation
Municipalities are not authorized by law to require that motor-propelled bicycles or moped operators and riders wear protective headgear and eye- protective devices while operating or riding such bicycle/mopeds within the city limits which would otherwise be required by law for motorcycle operators and riders. Op.Atty.Gen., 077-84, Aug. 22, 1977.
Consult a Daytona Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Daytona Beach motorcycle accident lawyer James O. Cunningham would like to remind riders that even though properly insured riders and passengers over the age of 21 are not required to wear helmets, the Centers for Disease Control reports that in an accident, helmets prevent 37 percent of fatalities for riders and 41 percent of fatal injuries for motorcycle passengers. Of the 396 motorcyclists killed in Florida in 2010, 205 of them were not wearing helmets. The Florida Department of Highway Safety estimates that 78 of them would still be alive today if they had been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. If you ride, please wear a helmet. If you are injured in an accident and need experienced legal counsel, please call Mr. Cunningham to schedule a free consultation. You can call him toll-free at 386-243-4994 to schedule a consultation at his Daytona Beach law offices at 386-243-4994.