Riding a Motorcycle Legally and Safely in Florida

When temperatures drop in Florida, motorcyclists hit the road in droves. It’s not uncommon to see a gaggle of hogs on a Sunday just taking in the sights and the blue skies.

For motorcyclists, there are plenty of laws that apply to just them. And for regular drivers, there’s a lot to be aware of when encountering a motorcyclist or a cluster of them on the road.

Motorcycle Laws Everyone Should Know
Motorcycle laws are established by state legislatures and not by municipal governments. These laws vary from state to state. Click here for a look at motorcycle laws in all 50 states.

Motorcycle Laws in Florida
Motorcycle laws in Florida address helmet and bike requirements, insurance, use of the road, traffic laws, and more. Here’s a look at some of the laws for motorcycle drivers in the state.

Motorcycle Endorsement
To legally operate a motorcycle in the Sunshine State, you need a “motorcycle endorsement” applied to your driver’s license.  Motorcycle drivers must undergo special training and attain this endorsement to drive in the state.

Insurance
Florida motorcycle riders are not required have insurance to ride legally in the state. Helmets are not required for motorcyclists over the age of 21 if they’re covered by an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical benefits.  The amount of insurance coverage only determines whether a driver can operate a motorcycle without a helmet.

Helmets
As stated above, helmets are not required for motorcyclists over the age of 21 if they’re covered by an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical benefits. Helmet laws vary broadly from state to state. If you plan to cross the state line and ride in other states, make sure you know the helmet laws no matter where you go.

Protective Eye Gear
Motorcycle drivers and passengers are required by law to wear protective eye gear.

Other Motorcycle Requirements
Florida motorcycle laws specify what bikes need to have to be on the road. Bikes need to have the following:

  • Headlights
  • Footrests (for passengers as well)
  • Handlebars that don’t exceed a specific height limit
  • Stop lamps
  • Turn signals

Wearing a headset
Motorcyclists are prohibited from wearing headsets by law.

Lane Splitting
Lane splitting, which refers to riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic headed in the same direction, is illegal in Florida.

Riding Side by Side – or Abreast
No more than two motorcyclists are permitted to ride side by side in Florida.

Passengers
Only a motorcycle equipped with a passenger seat and corresponding footrests are permitted to have a second rider.

Headlights
Motorcycle drivers must use daytime headlights. By law, any on even during the middle of the day.

Accident Coverage Must-Knows
In Florida, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is required for drivers of vehicles with four or more wheels. PIP does not cover motorcycles.

Florida riders do not have to show proof of insurance to register their motorcycle and they are not required to purchase a motorcycle insurance policy.

If your motorcycle isn’t insured, you could be held responsible for medical bills and other expenses in the aftermath of an accident.  I strongly advise you to have coverage to manage your liability exposure. DO NOT reject Uninsured Motorist coverage just to save a few bucks.  This is the best deal around, because you are insuring yourself against all the other drivers who might hurt you or your passenger.  Also, if you take your motorcycle out-of-state for road trips, there may be requirements in those states you’ll also have to follow.

The only exception in Florida is for riders who have been charged in a crash involving any injuries or certain motor vehicle violations. Florida state law requires those riders to purchase and keep bodily injury and property damage liability protection for three years.

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