When it comes to motor vehicle safety, Florida’s laws are clear. The same clarity applies to Florida’s motorcycle laws. It’s important to be as knowledgeable as possible with Florida’s state statutes on motorcycles, and what’s required of riders before the fun part–riding a new Harley–can begin.
When a beginner purchases his or her first motorcycle, they certainly cannot be considered an expert, and therefore they don’t come equipped with the same foresight that rider with decades of experience possesses. Those who have been on the road for many years understand the laws surrounding motorcycles don’t begin and end with motorcycle accidents; they include licensure and safe riding practices as well. It’s important to fully familiarize oneself with the laws in their state, and with riders who have more experience. For those who are planning to ride a motorcycle instead of drive a car most of the time, going from motor vehicle to motorcycle comes with a learning curve. The proper time and attention must be given to learning the different laws.
We strive to provide the most factual content to our readers. Within this article, The Law Resource Blog will help to guide our readers toward the path of readiness by providing exactly what new riders need to know before they hop on a Harley and hit the road for the first time. We’ll also provide well documented resources to Florida’s motorcycle-specific statutes to better acquaint our South Florida readers with what they need to know right here at home.
Floridians should focus on the road, avoid fatalities
In the case of motorcycle safety and applying the rules of the road in every day life, the best rider is a well informed, focused rider with up to date knowledge on their chosen mode of transportation. Staying focused while on the road helps protect not only the rider, but others around them. This can drastically lower the risk of a fatal collision. Motorcycle riders who stay aware of their surroundings and have a sense of the other motorists and their intentions are the motorists who are able to stop an accident in its tracks. For further reading on Defensive Driving, the Florida offers Defensive Driving courses for anyone looking to sharpen their riding skills and stay safe.
Florida Rider Training Program: What, When, and Where?
Just because a driver has a valid Florida state driver’s license, this doesn’t mean they can jump on a motorcycle and cruise. Before even the most upstanding Florida driver can take to the open road on a motorcycle, there are several required courses that need be completed successfully. These courses, in order, are as follows:
- Basic RiderCourse (BRC)
- Basic RiderCourse updated (BRCu)
- 3-Wheel Basic RiderCourse (3WBRC) or the Sidecar/Trike Education Program (S/TEP) for endorsement
These courses can be taken through various Course Providers, or Sponsors. Future riders should check with the DMV in the county they reside for the most specific course dates and times available to them. After these courses are completed to the satisfaction of the state, the results are electronically submitted to Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles for motorcycle license endorsement. This endorsement is added to a driver’s existing Florida state driver’s license and will allow them to operate both a motor vehicle or a motorcycle using the same licensure.
Motorcycle Only is an option
For teens looking for a life experience, with parents who feel they’re ready to ride, a Motorcycle Only License may be an option to consider. Parents of teens should be aware of the lengthy list of Florida’s requirements for a minor to obtain this type of licensure.
- A teenager must be at least 16 years of age and if they’re under 18 years of age, they must have held their Florida Learner License for at least one year with no traffic violations or criminal convictions on their record. This requirement is nonnegotiable and meant to keep new drivers and those around them on the road, safe.
- The same Class E operator’s driver’s license must be passed to the satisfaction of the state.
- The Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or the Basic RiderCourse update (BRCu) with an authorized sponsor must be completed.
- After the aforementioned courses are completed, proper documentation can be brought to a local driver licensure office or a tax collector office. Once proper identification is shown and any endorsement fees are paid in full, a Motorcycle Only license will be issued to the driver.
- The license will denote a “Motorcycles Only” restriction.
As of July 1, 2008, Florida no longer issues temporary permits to ride a motorcycle.
Florida’s helmet laws are lax, but not an excuse to forgo one
Several of Florida’s driving laws are lax, leaving motorists to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do! The state of Florida has some of the most lax insurance policies in the country, but that doesn’t mean motorists should forgo insurance just to save money. In the long run, it will cost far more if an accident should occur. This same responsibility to do the right thing applies to and for motorcycle riders. Proper insurance must be secured, new riders should have the required motorcycle courses under their belt––and for the mode of transportation that lacks the safety of a car, there’s an added precaution that must be heeded: helmets.
The decision to wear a helmet on a motorcycle is a matter of personal safety, not a matter of Florida’s written law. That’s due to the change in legislation as of 2000. As of 2000, the state of Florida no longer mandated that riders age 21 and over who are covered by a sufficient ($10,000+) health insurance policy (always reference the specific policy terms and conditions to be sure of coverage) have not been required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
Focus on facts, make informed decisions
When it comes to selecting a motorcycle as a mode of transportation, it’s important to focus on the facts: what are the laws? What happens if I get into an accident? What insurance is right for me? Am I familiar with the bike I chose? These questions should be answered truthfully before taking to the road. While riding a motorcycle down one of Florida’s scenic highways can seem enticing, it’s important to remember that a motorcycle is a dangerous machine when in inexperienced hands. Motorcycle accidents in Florida have skyrocketed over the last several years due to the hustle and bustle of cities like Miami where traffic stalls and everyone’s in a rush.
The best thing an excited new rider (and this applies to drivers, too!) can do for themselves is slow down, do their research, and ensure the safety of themselves and others when they finally hit the road for the first time.