The motorcycle helmet law in Florida is stirring debate again after a lawyer who fought it died in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet. Motorcycle attorney Ron Smith was a member of motorcyclist’s rights groups and worked to defend bikers charged with violating motorcycle equipment laws.
He lobbied against Florida’s helmet law until it was repealed in 2000. The law now says that riders over 21 do not have to wear a helmet, but if you do so, you must have a $10,000 medical insurance policy to cover any injuries sustained in a crash.
Smith’s girlfriend, riding with him without a helmet, was also killed in the crash. “It’s entirely possible that if they were wearing a helmet they might have survived, but again, we can’t say for sure,” said Eric Teoh of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “It certainly would have improved their odds.”
Expanding the Helmet Law in Florida
According to Florida Statute 316.211(3b), all riders under the age of 21 must wear a helmet at all times when operating or riding on a motorcycle. “Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.”
Ride Smart Florida, a motorcycle safety group, recommends that riders wear helmets. The group says that the $10,000 requirement for medical insurance is not enough to cover medical expenses. Ride Smart supports legislation to require medical coverage to be part of the motorcycle rider insurance and that the minimum be increased to $20,000, and the group would expand the law to include scooters and mopeds.
Accident Injuries and the Helmet Law in Florida
The helmet law in Florida is meant to give riders the freedom to choose. But a biker’s safety can be dependent on the actions of others. Car and truck drivers often do not pay enough attention to the presence of motorcyclists and frequently violate their right of way. The motorcycle accident attorneys at the Martinez Manglardi Orlando personal injury law firm know negligence and liability law specific to motorcycle accidents. Regardless of the helmet law in Florida, riders injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault are entitled to compensation. For a free consultation, call 866-730-3508. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida.