There are plenty of motorcycle enthusiasts in Florida who enjoy the sensation and freedom of riding on two wheels. However, motorcycles are inherently riskier than traditional passenger vehicles, so it is important to know the state’s motorcycle laws, particularly those concerning passengers. Here, we want to discuss the most important Florida motorcycle passenger laws you need to know.
Motorcycle accidents are not uncommon
During the latest reporting year in the state, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles states that there were 9,143 total motorcycle crashes reported. Out of those incidents, there were 7,849 injuries and 631 fatalities. When we look more closely at the data, we can see that there were 25 motorcycle passengers killed and 621 motorcycle passenger injuries.
Motorcycle passenger laws you need to know
Florida law prohibits passengers from riding on motorcycles that are not designed for two people. ON a two-person motorcycle, passengers must ride on the back of the same seat that the driver is using. Or on a separate seat that is attached to the motorcycle. A second seat can be behind or beside the driver’s seat.
- Helmets. In Florida, anyone over the age of 21 is not required to wear a helmet if there is an insurance policy that covers at least $10,000. That does not mean a passenger should forego a helmet. These devices save lives.
- Footrests. In Florida, a motorcycle must have passenger footrests installed on the vehicle. The passenger should be able to reach the pegs with their feet. If they cannot do so, it could create balance difficulty for the driver of the motorcycle.
- Children. In this state, children are allowed to ride on motorcycles, and there is no age restriction. Children must abide by the same safety requirements, and they are required to wear a helmet. It is important to educate children on issues of motorcycle safety as well as the dangers of distracting a driver while riding.
- Sidecars. While most motorcycle passengers ride behind the driver and hold on for safety, there are times when a motorcycle has a sidecar for passengers to ride in. Sidecar riders should never distract a driver. If they are under 21, they must wear a helmet. When there is a sidecar, motorcycles do not have to have passenger footrests installed on the bike.
Additional safety measures
Motorcycle passengers should never distract a driver while on the roadway. While there is no rule about passengers riding while intoxicated, this should be avoided. The nature of being a motorcycle passenger means that there are safety risks. Passengers should be attentive and able to hold on for safety. A drunk passenger could easily fall off the bike or become a distraction for the driver.
While a helmet is not required for passengers, they should still wear one. A helmet is vital for protecting a passenger’s head and can prevent fatalities.
Injuries can be severe
If a motorcycle crashes, whether with another vehicle or in a single-vehicle crash, motorcycle riders and passengers have a high probability of sustaining an injury. It is not uncommon for the following injuries to occur due to a motorcycle crash:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe lacerations and road rash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Open head wounds
- Traumatic brain injuries
By following all Florida laws and taking proper precautions, motorcycle drivers and passengers can work to prevent serious injuries. Speak with our Miami motorcycle accident attorneys today at (305) 638-4143.