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Do I Have to Wear My Motorcycle Helmet in Florida?

Riding a motorcycle can be one of the most exhilarating experiences, but it can also be one of the most dangerous—especially if you ride sans helmet. It’s not uncommon to see a spread of motorcyclists riding with and without helmets so you may be wondering what the laws surrounding helmets actually are. So, do you have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Florida? In short, no. But there are some exceptions.

The Repeal

Wearing a motorcycle helmet in Florida was required until around 14 years ago. In July of 2000 however, the state of Florida lifted the requirement that made it illegal for motorcyclists to ride without a helmet. Some exceptions to this repeal require that motorcyclists must be 21 years of age or older and have $10,000 in medical insurance to ride without a helmet. All riders are still required to have some type of eye protection as well as a windshield. Almost immediately following the repeal, helmet use dropped from around 99 percent to only 52 percent. This number has hovered around 50 percent since.

Paying the Price

Studies found that after the helmet repeal, there was a significant increase in motorcycle fatalities. In the years prior to the helmet repeal, the state of Florida averaged about 160 motorcycle deaths annually. In the year following the appeal, helmet use rapidly declined and as a result, motorcycle fatalities rose to around 250. This trend only continued to get worse—in 2006, the motorcycle death toll rose to 550. Since then, injury prevention efforts have been made statewide and nationwide, but motorcyclists are still at a higher risk of an automobile-sustained injury than non-motorcyclists.

A Helmet Could Save Your Life

Motorcycle accident fatalities declined in 2009 thanks in part to prevention efforts made by the state such as mandatory motorcycle training laws, but they are still higher than they once were. Statistics show that with or without a helmet, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those in cars, so it’s always your best bet to wear a helmet. The majority of motorcyclists who are involved in fatal auto accidents die due to brain trauma, so don’t risk your life for a ride.

Although you may enjoy the thrill of riding your motorcycle sans helmet, wearing proper protective gear could save your life. Despite any law repeal, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We have represented many grieving families who lost a loved one simply because he or she didn’t wear a helmet. For more information on helmet laws or auto accidents, visit LMW Attorneys today.

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