If you are considering getting a motorcycle in Tampa or elsewhere in Florida or want to ride on one with another driver, it is worthwhile to learn more about Florida’s motorcycle helmet laws. Most people might assume there are no helmet laws since many people operate motorcycles without one. However, Florida does have helmet laws that apply in different situations. Learning more about these laws will ensure you are compliant with the state’s requirements. 

A motorcycle helmet perched on a motorcycle.

Were you injured in a motorcycle accident? Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, now.

What Is Florida’s Motorcycle Law? 

Florida’s motorcycle helmet laws are detailed in FLA. STAT. § 316.211, which states the following:

  • You cannot operate a motorcycle in the state without a helmet that meets Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standards as required by the U.S. Department of Transportation
  • You cannot operate a motorcycle unless you are wearing approved eye protection
  • Anyone under the age of 21 must always wear a helmet when operating or riding a motorcycle

However, the statute also has an exception that applies to those age 21 and older. This exception allows a person who meets the age requirement to operate their motorcycle without a helmet, provided they have a minimum of $10,000 in medical coverage to cover any injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident while operating or riding on a motorcycle. 

There are also exceptions regarding mopeds based on the motor output and speed where helmets are not required for those aged 16 and older, namely with a 50cc displacement or less and not more than two brake horsepower and a maximum speed of 30 mph. 

Do the Same Laws Apply to Motorcycle Passengers?

Yes, the same laws apply to motorcycle passengers in Florida. Helmets are required for those under 21, and $10,000 in medical coverage is needed for those 21 and older if the passenger does not want to wear a helmet. 

Is Motorcycle Insurance Mandatory in Florida?

Unlike automobile insurance, Florida does not require proof of insurance to register, plate, and operate a motorcycle. However, getting a separate motorcycle policy through your car insurance provider is highly recommended. 

You should get the state mandatory minimums for automobiles, as well as the $10,000 in medical coverage if you want to operate a motorcycle without a helmet. Without insurance, you are still financially responsible for any damages and could be sued for injuries if you caused the accident. So, having insurance coverage is highly beneficial. 

Can a Motorcycle Rider Sue if They Were in an Accident and Not Wearing a Helmet?

A motorcycle rider can sue even if they were not wearing a helmet and were involved in an accident. However, since Florida is a no-fault state, they must first exhaust their own insurance benefits before filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. 

Additionally, the damages sought could be reduced because Florida uses comparative negligence. So, if part of their injuries were their fault, the amount received will be reduced by the percentage they are deemed to be at fault. This is often referred to as the helmet defense. 

For instance, if you were injured and weren’t wearing a helmet, the defendant could claim that part of your injuries were caused because you chose not to wear a helmet. If they have evidence showing this on the scene of the accident and the court agrees, then your damages are reduced by the percentage that determines your fault contributed toward your injuries. 

Suppose you were deemed to be 25% at fault. Then, instead of receiving the full 100% of the damages in your claim, you would only receive 75% of the amount. 

Florida’s Motorcycle Accident Statistics

According to the FLHMSV’s Crash Dashboard, the following statistics are as follows from 2023:

  • 9,535 total motorcycle crashes
  • 8,196 injuries from motorcycle crashes
  • 609 fatalities from motorcycle crashes

For 2024, as of May 23, 2024, data from motorcycle crashes includes:

  • 3,870 total motorcycle crashes 
  • 3,319 injuries from motorcycle crashes 
  • 234 fatalities from motorcycle crashes

Which State Has the Most Motorcycle Fatalities?

Florida had the most motorcycle fatalities in 2022, as reported by NSC Injury Facts. That year, there were 668 deaths from motorcycle crashes. In 2021, Florida had the second most deaths, 600, just behind California’s 611. In 2020, Florida out-ranked both California and Texas with 592 fatalities.  

Why Is It Better To Wear a Helmet in Florida?

It should be clear from the accident data and number of fatalities that wearing a helmet when operating or riding on a motorcycle is a good idea. Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries and deaths. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of brain injuries and death. 

Additionally, wearing a helmet makes it much easier to seek damages from the responsible party. You will not have to worry about your settlement being reduced because you choose not to wear a helmet. 

Is Lane Splitting Legal in Florida?

Lane splitting is the practice where motorcyclists ride in the same lane as vehicles or between vehicles. While legal in certain states, this practice is illegal in Florida as defined in FLA. STAT. § 316.209, which states the following:

  • Motorcycle operators shall not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by a vehicle
  • Motorcycle operators will not operate their motorcycles between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles

The only exception is when two motorcycles are operating in the same lane; then, they can share it. If a motorcyclist is involved in a crash and is lane splitting, they may be held liable for any damages or injuries caused to themselves and other motorists.

If You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, Let Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, Fight for You

Were you injured in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver in the greater Tampa area? Let Jack Berinstein, Injury Attorneys, help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our experienced Florida motorcycle injury attorneys handle all aspects of your claim to ensure you get a fair settlement offer while allowing you to focus on healing and recovery. Even if you were not wearing a helmet, you may still be entitled to damages from the responsible party under Florida’s motorcycle helmet laws.

Contact our motorcycle injury attorneys now for a free consultation.


FLA. STAT. § 316.209. (2023).

FLA. STAT. § 316.211. (2023).

Florida Crash Dashboard. (2024).

Motorcycles. (2022).

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