The Sunshine State gives motorcyclists plenty of wonderful scenery for riding, but there are specific laws any individual should be aware of if they want to operate these vehicles. We want to discuss laws related to motorcycle licensing, helmets, lane splitting, and rules for passengers because we believe all motorists should be informed about the main requirements related to these vehicles.
Motorcycle Licensing in Florida
Information available from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that anyone wishing to operate a two or three-wheel motorcycle in Florida with an engine size more than 50CC is required to have a motorcycle endorsement on their license or hold a license classified as “Motorcycle Only.” Anyone operating a motorcycle without the proper endorsement or license will violate the law in Florida.
Individuals who are at least 16 years of age and have a valid driver’s license must complete and pass the Basic Rider Course hosted by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in order to have the motorcycle endorsement added to their license. Individuals coming from another state who already have a motorcycle endorsement from that state will receive reciprocity with a Florida motorcycle endorsement (this does not apply to Alabama motorcycle license holders).
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Florida
Individuals who wish to operate a motorcycle legally in Florida must have insurance on the motorcycle. Under current state law, individuals must have:
- $10,000 in bodily injury per person and $20,000 per accident
- $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident
Motorcycle Helmets in Florida
Any motorcycle driver or passenger younger than 21 years of age must wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet when operating the motorcycle. Individuals who are 21 years of age or older do not have to wear a helmet, but the use of a helmet is still strongly encouraged. Additionally, if an individual opts not to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle, they must have insurance with at least $10,000 worth of medical benefits coverage to pay for medical treatment if injuries are sustained in a crash. This $10,000 is in addition to the required insurance coverage mentioned in the previous section.
Lane Splitting in Florida
Lane splitting is the practice of a motorcycle riding between two occupied lanes of traffic going in the same direction, essentially using the center line between the two lanes as their own lane. State law allows motorcycles to operate fully in any lane just like other vehicles, but the law also prohibits motorcycles from overtaking others or passing between others down the center lane of traffic. Lane splitting is illegal in Florida.
Motorcycle Passenger Rules in Florida
Motorcycles can only carry passengers if they are equipped with a seat designed for a passenger to sit on. Individuals who do have a passenger must have footrests installed for that passenger to use. The helmet rules apply to any passengers under the age of 21.
It is mandatory for motorcyclists to operate their vehicles with their headlights on. These lights are supposed to turn on automatically when the motorcycle engine starts and remain visible while in operation.