Are Florida Motorcycle Helmet Laws Too Restrictive?
Some motorcyclists in Florida see the existing helmet laws as too restrictive because all riders under age 21 and passengers must wear approved headgear. However, riders of any age need to consider whether the transitory freedom of the wind in their hair is worth the loss of freedom and quality of life that results from severe head injuries.
Contrary to universal helmet laws that require helmet use by every motorcyclist, the Florida helmet laws permit motorcyclists age 21 and over to ride without protective headgear. The only requirement is that they must carry at least $10,000 of medical insurance that covers injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes. However, this minimum coverage may not cover even the immediate costs of treatment. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration cites studies showing that un-helmeted victims admitted to trauma centers or hospitals incur costs ranging from about $15,500 to more than $30,000 at the outset. And these figures do not include additional long-term costs of brain injuries, including expenses for the following:
- Rehabilitative and occupational therapy needed to return patients to maximum possible function
- Potentially lengthy time away from work while recovering from a long-term disability
- The permanent loss of continued earnings due to disability
- Daily in-home aide assistance and medical care, potentially for a lifetime
In spite of permissions within the law, all adult bikers in Florida should take a few moments to consider the potential consequences of leaving their helmets at home. Protective headgear may not prevent motorcycle accidents, but helmets have been shown to reduce the severity of injuries, and can save victims from permanent disability and save families from the pain of losing a loved one. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, seek the advice of a knowledgeable attorney.