Florida is one of the most inviting states for motorcycle riders, at least during the few months when it does not rain like clockwork every afternoon, but this does not mean that the Sunshine State is the safest or most accommodating for lovers of two-wheeled motor vehicles. Florida has an expansive network of long, flat scenic roadways and off-road trails that are perfect for exploring on a motorbike, but according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the state is only second to California in motorcycle-related fatalities.
Riders should not let the GHSA statistics discourage them from getting around on motorcycles in Florida. Knowledge about the laws governing motorcycles in the Sunshine State is essential, and exercising caution, safety and good judgment is imperative whether riding as a commuter, traveler, or off-road adventurer.
Title XXII, Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes: State Uniform Traffic Control
Many of the sections found in Chapter 316 are related to the safe and lawful operation of a motorcycle and All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) in Florida. One of the most controversial sections, 316.211 (1), (4) deals with wearing helmets. It is not accurate to say that helmets are not required by law in Florida; they are rather waived for riders who are at least 21 years old, as long as they carry an insurance policy with a minimum medical coverage of $10,000. According to researchers at the University of South Florida, at least 49% of all riders in the state choose to wear helmets, and 37% of fatal crashes in 2010 involved riders who did not wear helmets.
Chapter 316 furthermore requires eye protection, headlights turned on in the daytime, at least one rear view mirror, and mufflers that prevent sound from reaching a certain level. Lane splitting or overtaking in between cars is not allowed, but riders can ride two abreast in the same lane.
Florida Motorcycle Safety Tips
Motorcycle riders can expect tropical weather from Central Florida all the way south to Key West. This means that rainstorms can be unpredictable. Riders should either pack a bright-colored rain suit or be prepared to pull off the road and seek shelter. Biker clothing is not about fashion, it’s about safety. Helmet, glasses, gloves, footwear, road vests, and a protective jacket should be standard attire for all riders.
Getting stranded on the highway on a motorcycle is never fun, but it can be avoided in many cases with preventive maintenance. Learning motorcycle maintenance is not as difficult as auto mechanics, and a lot of riders make a hobby out of it.
If you or a friend was involved in a motorcycle accident, call the New Port Richey Attorneys at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins today for your free consultation at (727) 478-4125.