Rules of the Road: Florida’s Motorcycle Safety Laws
When you buy a motorcycle, you gain entrance into a one-of-a-kind owner’s club with other motorcycle enthusiasts. Not only are motorcycles inexpensive to operate and friendlier to the environment than that SUV in the next lane, but they inspire a “brotherhood” or “sisterhood” with other motorcyclists that also crave the freedom and zen that riding a motorcycle brings.
However, as with all vehicles on the road, motorcycles must meet specific safety laws in order to pass the critical eye of a police officer. These safety laws are put in place to protect you as the motorcycle driver as well as the other drivers on the road. They vary by state, but here is a rundown of what you can expect as a Florida motorcycle rider.
The Helmet Debate
Given the number of crashes and deaths that occur on motorcycles every year, riding with a helmet certainly sounds like a wise idea. The state of Florida agrees, but lawmakers are willing to let all riders over the age of 21 get away without wearing a helmet under one condition. If you want to ride with the wind in your hair on a motorcycle in Florida, you must have at least $10,000 worth of medical coverage insurance.
If you have PIP insurance on your car, it will not meet your motorcycle medical coverage needs; you must obtain your coverage from a source that does not exclude motorcycles, like Casualty Insurance and Alpha Property. There is no one cut and dry cost for this coverage, since it will be based upon your driving record. Your existing health insurance might meet the coverage requirements if it offers at least $10,000 in benefits and doesn’t exclude motorcycles.
Sharing the Road Safely
In Florida, lane splitting is not authorized. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcycle passes cars on the road by shooting down the middle of the road in between lanes, instead of driving behind that car like another regular vehicle would have to do. The state of Florida has not made lane splitting legal because it is a known safety hazard. If a motorcycle is speeding down the middle of two lanes and a car suddenly changes lanes without signaling, it can collide with the motorcycle and cause a terrible accident.
Motorcycles are, however, allowed to share a single lane with another motorcycle. Formally known as “motorcycles operating two abreast in the same lane,” Florida considers this legal as long as the lane sharing is restricted to just two motorcycles.
By following these requirements, motorcyclists and car drivers alike can remain safer on the road.