Do I Need to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet in Florida?
There are far too many motorcycle accidents in Florida – an average of 550 riders have died each year between 2016-2021. There are lots of different reasons why they occur, but there’s usually one common denominator. Riders who don’t wear a helmet are at a much higher risk of suffering a severe injury or dying in a crash. If every rider wore a motorcycle helmet in Florida, that might not prevent the thousands of accidents that occur in our state – but it could save lots of lives.
If you have suffered a severe injury in a motorcycle wreck that wasn’t your fault, the attorneys with the Jones Law Group may be able to help you obtain maximum compensation. We have a lot of experience in this area of the law, and we’ll work to get you what you deserve – even if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time. Just contact us online for a free evaluation of your case, or give us a call at (727) 571-1333.
The following is a look at why every rider should wear a motorcycle helmet in Florida, even if the law doesn’t force the vast majority of them to do so.
Florida Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Yes, the law in Florida states that if you’re 20 or younger, you have to not only wear a helmet but you also have to carry insurance on your bike. But if you’re 21 or older, and you have a motorcycle license, you don’t have to wear a motorcycle helmet in Florida – as long as you have the required insurance. If you decide to wear a helmet, then you don’t have to carry insurance. The rule applies to riders as well as their passengers.
Motorcycle Helmet Statistics
Florida isn’t a lot different from most other states when it comes to mandatory helmet use. In fact, only 19 states require all riders to have the proper headgear when operating or riding on a motorcycle.
Thankfully, however, the lion’s share of riders choose to wear a helmet, whether they have to or not. It’s estimated that 70% of motorcyclists wore a helmet in 2020. It’s a good thing they did since studies show people are much more likely to survive a crash if they’re wearing the proper head protection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1,872 motorcyclists were saved in 2017 because they wore a helmet – the CDC also estimates that another 749 people could have been saved if they had worn head protection. In addition, research indicates that helmets reduce the risk of a head injury by nearly 70%.
Types of Injuries Caused by Motorcycles
Motorcyclists are the most vulnerable people on the road, of course. They’re not protected by the frame of a vehicle, which can dissipate the forces produced by a crash. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that nearly 80% of all motorcycle accidents lead to either a severe injury or death.
One of the worst types of injuries a victim can suffer when their bike is involved in a collision is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI can be so devastating that victims can no longer take care of themselves. They can’t even take a shower or bath on their own, much less even attempt to make their own meals. Even in cases of a so-called “moderate” TBI, a victim can experience profound behavioral changes. Victims can also suffer concussions, which, even though they typically don’t lead to permanent disability, can often result in months – or even years – of pain and misery.
And How a Helmet Can Protect You
Just about every list of motorcycle safety tips you’ll find on the internet will mention helmets at or near the top. But how, exactly, will wearing a motorcycle helmet in Florida help you avoid suffering a severe TBI or concussion?
High-quality motorcycle helmets have a hard shell that surrounds a thick layer of foam. These materials are designed to spread out the force of an impact, reducing the impact that affects the skull. But the outside of the helmet provides an additional benefit, one that most people don’t realize. The smooth surface helps keep the head skidding across a hard surface, such as a highway. This prevents jerking of the neck, which could lead to a potentially devastating spinal cord injury.
However, a helmet isn’t some sort of magic device that will keep a rider from suffering a head injury. But it can protect against a severe, debilitating TBI or concussion. A helmet could make the difference between being able to ride again and having to give up motorcycles for good. It could also make the difference between life and death.
Am I at Fault for Not Wearing a Helmet?
Not at all. While it’s never advisable to get on a bike without head protection, not using a helmet will have no bearing on who’s to blame for an accident. You can still pursue compensation, even if you chose to go helmetless.
Will I Receive Less Compensation if I Didn’t Wear a Helmet?
However, not wearing a helmet could have a significant impact on the amount of compensation you may be able to receive.
If you didn’t have a helmet or other protective gear, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will use that against you. It will argue that you wouldn’t have been injured as badly – or possibly not even injured at all. Unfortunately, that argument will be a strong one. That could result in your compensation being lowered substantially.
How Can a Talented Motorcycle Attorney Help Me?
The skilled attorneys with the Jones Law Group hope that you’ll always wear a motorcycle helmet in Florida, along with all other recommended safety equipment. But even if you weren’t, and you were hurt in an accident, we have the experience necessary to help. We can help you obtain the money you need to cover your lost wages, medical bills, and other accident-related expenses.