Florida may seem like a perfect state for motorcyclists, with its warm weather and beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, Florida does not have the best helmet laws in the country. Only 18 states apply universal helmet laws, requiring every motorcyclist to wear a helmet. 29 states (including Florida) have partial helmet laws covering specific persons.
Florida's Helmet Law History
Prior to 2000, Florida required all motorcyclists to wear helmets while riding. It was not until a motorcyclist contested a ticket for not wearing a helmet that the court dismissed the case, determining sections of Florida helmet law 'unconstitutionally vague' (Florida v. Raynal, 1995.).
While police continued to enforce a partially unconstitutional law, unhelmeted motorcyclists continued to have cases dismissed in light of the 1995 court ruling. Replacing the unconstitutionally vague helmet laws, Governor Jeb Bush signed into law a new helmet statute in 2000, which Florida still recognizes to this day:
316.211 (3b) – …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.
Immediate Effects of the New Helmet Law
According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, when Florida repealed its helmet laws in 2000, motorcycle fatalities increased by 45.5 percent. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that head injuries surged by 82 percent in the 30 months after the laws had changed.
In another study by the NHTSA, between 1997 and 1999, 515 motorcyclists died while 9.4 percent were unhelmeted. In the years immediately following the new helmet laws, 933 motorcyclists died, with 60.8 percent having not been wearing a helmet.
Current Motorcycle Accident Statistics
In Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) 2020 Crash Report, motorcyclist fatalities reached 517 while incapacitating and other injuries totaled 6,920 in that year. 231 fatalities involved a rider without a helmet. Broward County, specifically, experienced 602 motorcycle crashes. While crashes are on the decline, motorcyclist fatalities rose 63.3 percent.
Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
No one ever expects to be in a motorcycle accident. But if it does happen, it's essential to have an experienced team of lawyers on your side. Rosenberg & Rosenberg, P.A. has over 50 years of combined experience helping motorcycle accident victims get the compensation they deserve.
Fill out our form online or call us today at (888) 499-6206 for a free initial consultation!