Bike Week in Daytona Be Safe and Enjoy The Week

Preparing for Bike Week in Daytona? Know Florida's Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Every year, hundreds of thousands of motorcycle aficionados plan to head down to Daytona Beach for the legendary Daytona bike week . Every year, several people do not make it back alive. Florida has one of the highest numbers of fatal motorcycle accidents in the nation. Florida law requires certain riders to wear a helmet, but not all. Choosing not to wear appropriate head covering can not only endanger the rider’s life, but it can significantly impair their chances of recovering damages when a mishap does occur.

Florida’s Helmet Law

Even during bike week in Daytona,Florida requires certain riders to wear head protection. Under Florida Statute 316.211, riders under the age of 16 must always wear a helmet and eye protection when riding a motorcycle. Riders aged 16 to 20 need not wear one when operating a motorcycle which is equipped with an engine displacing less than 50 cubic centimeters, producing two or fewer horsepower, and is incapable of propelling the bike to a speed in excess of 30 miles per hour. If the motorcycle does not meet those qualifications, riders aged 16 to 20 must wear head and eye protection.

Under the same section, riders aged 21 and older may choose not to wear a helmet if they are covered by a specific type of insurance policy. The coverage has to provide them with $10,000 or more in medical benefits in the event that they are injured while riding a motorcycle. Riders over the age of 21 who do not carry qualifying insurance policies must wear a helmet. In all cases, the helmet must meet the U.S. D.O.T.’s Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218. The helmet must be securely fastened on the rider’s head.

Helmets and Insurance Claims

Not wearing a helmet during bike week in Daytona can greatly increase the damages arising from an accident. As a result, some insurers are reluctant to cover motorcyclists and other persons engaged in high-risk activities. Many policies will contain exclusions for these activities. Some policies will permit their policyholders to engage in activities such as motorcycling, but will require policyholders to wear appropriate safety equipment in order to be eligible for benefits. Some policies will include no exclusions pertaining to motorcycling and will provide coverage regardless of whether a helmet was present.

Whether or not a helmet will complicate an insurance claim will depend upon the exclusions contained within the rider’s insurance policy. Each insurer is different and different policies with the same insurer may include different exclusions. It is common for insurers to require their policyholders to wear helmets, but not every insurer will require it and some insurers will deny coverage in the event of any motorcycle accident. It simply depends upon the applicable policy.

Helmets and Legal Civil Claims

In the event that the motorcycle rider or someone acting on his behalf files a civil action against a third party for negligence, the issue will arise as to what caused the accident. The absence of a motorcycle helmet and appropriate eye protection can cause debris and insects to enter ocular and nasal cavities, providing an unnecessary distraction and leading to an avoidable collision. This can make a motorcyclist at least partially responsible for the collision and will often result in allegations of comparative negligence against the original plaintiff.

If wearing a helmet during bike week in Daytona, could have provided the plaintiff with the last clear chance to avoid a collision, the plaintiff’s recovery may be jeopardized. In situations such as these, consult with Tampa motorcycle accident lawyerswho have the expertise to understand your case and represent your interests.

One major issue that will arise is whether the motorcyclist’s damages should be reduced by virtue of his refusal to wear a helmet. In recent years, courts have authorized what is colloquially referred to as a “seat belt defense,” which is a defense that has arisen in automobile cases involving plaintiffs who were not wearing seatbelts. In such cases, courts often hold that the defendant may raise the fact that the plaintiff chose to not wear a seat belt as a defense. Florida courts have recognized this principle since Insurance Co. of North America v. Pasakarnis, 451 So. 2d 447 (Fla. 1984).

Since that case, states have split on the issue of whether evidence that a motorcycle rider was not wearing a helmet may be introduced and considered when calculating damages. Courts in Hawaii have ruled that such evidence could not be introduced while courts in Arizona have ruled that motorcycle riders who choose to not wear helmets must bear the consequences of their decisions. Florida courts have not reached such a unanimous conclusion at this time. However, it is worth noting that Arizona, like Florida, generally does not require helmets for adult riders.

The exact effect of a helmet will vary from case to case, policy to policy, and court to court. For responsible riders, the issue will be a moot point. They will wear a helmet in addition to other gear regardless of any laws that do or do not require it. In spite of all best preparations, accidents do happen. Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers can help their clients recover costs for bike repair or replacement, medical bills, and lost wages.

Not wearing a helmet in Florida may reduce your damages and make it harder to prove that the other party was at fault for a collision; it may also cause you to suffer a fatal injury in a low-speed collision. When planning a trip for bike week in Daytona this year or the next, bring your helmet and wear it properly.

Thank you Teresa for sharing this much needed information about bike week in Daytona We want all of our readers to enjoy this great week and want them to return home safely.


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