Helmet Laws in Tampa, FL
Like 46 other states, Florida has a law requiring at least some motorcyclists to wear helmets. Only three states allow all operators and passengers, including children, to ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Florida’s law was designed to cover the riders most vulnerable to injuries and the expenses associated with them.
After a motorcycle accident, your compliance with helmet laws in Tampa, FL, could become relevant to your personal injury claim. An attorney from Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers will fight to protect your rights and secure fair compensation for the injuries you suffered.
How Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Tampa, FL
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers has been helping victims of traumatic accidents and other incidents in Tampa, Florida, since 1996. Our Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers have recovered over $120 million in compensation for the firm’s injured clients.
If you suffer a motorcycle crash injury, our attorneys can provide:
- A free consultation to evaluate the strength and value of your claim
- Skilled negotiators to fight for a fair settlement of your insurance claim
- Award-winning litigators to present your case to a jury if your case does not settle
Motorcycle accidents can cause head, face, and neck injuries even when you wear a helmet. Contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to learn how we can pursue financial compensation for the motorcycle crash injuries you suffered.
Do Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives?
Motorcycle helmets have two operative parts. The hard outer shell protects your head from direct impacts, scrapes, and lacerations. The inner lining separates your head from the outer shell, cushioning your skull from the impact. More importantly, the lining spreads the force over a large area of your head. The distributed force is less likely to injure you.
The vast majority of states have helmet laws because helmets work. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), helmets reduce your risk of a head injury by up to 69%. This harm reduction saves lives. Your brain controls your entire body, so if you suffer a brain injury, you can experience physical and cognitive symptoms that can disable or kill you.
To put this improvement in outcomes into perspective, the CDC states that motorcycle operators who wear helmets reduce their odds of dying in a motorcycle crash by up to 37%. Helmets reduce deaths by up to 41% for passengers.
Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law
Universal helmet laws are a fairly recent innovation. No state had a motorcycle helmet law in 1966. That year, Congress passed a budget that allowed the U.S. Department of Transportation to withhold part of a state’s highway funds if it failed to pass a universal helmet law.
This mandate was amazingly effective. By 1975, every state except California, Illinois, and New Hampshire had a universal helmet law.
Florida was among the first states to pass a law that required all motorcycle riders to wear helmets in 1967. This version of the law remained substantially intact until 2000, when it was modified to its current form.
The Current Motorcycle Helmet Law in Florida
When Florida modified its helmet law in 2000, it switched to an age-based requirement.
Under the current law, all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear a helmet except those who:
- Are over 21 years old; and
- Have at least $10,000 in health insurance to pay for injuries
In other words, all riders 21 and younger must wear a helmet. Uninsured riders over 21 must also wear a helmet. Only riders over 21 with health insurance can choose not to wear helmets.
Despite the universal-sounding nature of the law, the exceptions render the rule unenforceable. Police officers cannot identify a rider’s age or health insurance status without stopping the motorcycle. These stops waste time when they only verify the rider complied with the law.
As a result, the helmet law goes largely unenforced. For example, according to the Annual Uniform Traffic Citation Report, the Tampa Police Department only issued eight citations for riding without a helmet in 2022. Judges dismissed four of the eight citations.
The Risks of Riding Without a Motorcycle Helmet
If you violate Florida’s helmet law, you can receive a ticket. Florida law punishes helmet violations with a $30 fine and zero points on your driving record.
More importantly, Florida’s no-fault insurance system does not cover motorcyclists. As a result, a motorcycle rider or passenger can get compensation by pursuing a claim against the at-fault driver.
If you ride without a helmet, the driver will try to shift the blame for your injuries to you. Specifically, under Florida’s comparative negligence statute, the driver can reduce their liability by pointing out that they were also negligent by not wearing a helmet. For example, if you bear 35% of the fault, the driver only pays 65% of your losses.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With Our Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycle accident injuries can cause pain and disabilities that interfere with your ability to work or care for yourself. Contact our team at Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (813) 686-7588 for a free consultation to discuss the losses you suffered due to your motorcycle crash and the compensation you can seek for them.