Motorcycle Licensing Requirements To Ride in Tampa, FL
Florida has over 660,000 registered motorcycles. In 2023, the state had over 1.4 million active motorcycle licenses and endorsements. Hillsborough County alone has over 75,000 licensed operators. Unfortunately, Tampa is also one of the most dangerous cities for motorcyclists, with the sixth-highest motorcycle fatality rate in the country.
After a motorcycle accident, your licensing status could affect your personal injury claim. Our Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers attorneys can determine if the at-fault driver can shift the blame to you based on whether you met the motorcycle licensing requirements to ride in Tampa, FL.
How Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Tampa, FL
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers was founded in 1996 to protect the rights of injured people in Tampa, Florida. Our attorneys have recovered over $120 million for clients hurt by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions.
After you suffer an injury, our Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers can provide:
- A free case evaluation to help you understand your rights under Florida law
- Personalized attention as we prepare your insurance claim and negotiate a settlement
- Over 50 years of courtroom experience to litigate your claim if the insurer does not settle
Injuries from a Tampa motorcycle crash can disable or even kill accident victims. Contact Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss the compensation you can seek for the effects of these injuries.
Does Motorcycle Licensing Affect Crash Risk?
Statistics show a correlation between motorcycle licensing and fatal motorcycle crashes. According to one study, unlicensed motorcyclists account for roughly 20% of motorcycle riders but represent about 40% of motorcycle crash fatalities. In other words, unlicensed riders have roughly double the risk of getting into a fatal crash as licensed riders.
Correlation does not necessarily prove causation. Having a motorcycle license does not necessarily make you a better operator. However, the requirements applicants must meet to obtain a motorcycle license can give them the knowledge, skills, and experience they need to become safe riders.
As a result, every state, including Florida, requires motorcycle operators to have a special license. Equally importantly, 49 out of 50 states require applicants to pass a safety course or road test to earn this license. This requirement ensures all licensed riders either learn or practice safe riding before receiving their licenses.
Florida’s Motorcycle License Requirements
Florida has three sets of requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license. Your requirements depend on your age and driver’s license status.
If you have a valid out-of-state motorcycle license, you can exchange it for a Florida license after moving to the state. The Florida license will allow you to operate a two or three-wheel motorcycle with an engine capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or more.
The only exception is if you have an Alabama license. Unlike the other 49 states, Alabama does not require license holders to pass a safety course or road test. Instead, applicants in Alabama are only required to pass a written knowledge test to receive a license.
New Florida residents with Alabama motorcycle licenses must either prove they passed a motorcycle safety course in Alabama or take a Florida safety course. Once they provide a certificate of completion to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), the state will provide the license.
Motorcycle Riders 18 Years or Older
Drivers 18 or older can get a motorcycle license by taking a safety course approved by FLHSMV. The course curriculum comes from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic RiderCourse (BRC).
This course takes 15 hours. It is usually spread over three days and includes five hours of classroom instruction and ten hours of hands-on instruction.
The course covers many topics, including:
- Inspecting your motorcycle
- Starting and stopping
- Shifting gears
- Negotiating curves and turns
- Emergency braking and maneuvering
At the end of the classroom segment, you will take a written exam. After the hands-on segment, you must complete a driving test. If you pass both exams, you will receive a certificate of completion. You will take the certificate and proof of your Florida residency to the FLHSMV. Upon payment of a fee, you will receive a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
Motorcycle Riders Under Age 18
Teens under 16 cannot operate a motorcycle legally in Florida.
To get a motorcycle license before your 18th birthday, you must fulfill the same requirements as adult applicants, along with two additional requirements:
- You must hold a learner’s license for at least one year with no violations
- You must pass the written driver’s license exam
Once they receive their licenses, young riders should also remember they must wear a helmet under Florida law.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries since riders have little protection in a collision. Contact our team at (813) 686-7588 for a free consultation to discuss your motorcycle accident and the compensation you can pursue.