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Policy Positions

Policy Positions

Ride Smart Florida supports policies that improve motorcyclist safety in Florida. Our policy positions on motorcyclist safety and other issues direct our public policy advocacy efforts. Read more about our positions:

Florida Motorcycle Insurance Statute

Model Language

316.211 Equipment for motorcycle and moped riders. —

(1) A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt this standard by agency rule.

(2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department.

(3)(a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.

(b) 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.

(4) A person under 16 years of age may not operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation.

(5) The department shall make available a list of protective headgear approved in this section, and the list shall be provided on request.

(6) Each motorcycle registered to a person under 21 years of age must display a license plate that is unique in design and color.

(7) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

The current legislation requiring motorcyclists to carry $10,000 in medical benefits to ride with a helmet is economically insufficient to cover to cost of injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash. The ambiguous language of the current statute, combined with the inadequate coverage amount, means that many riders today are financially deficient.

Note: New language is underlined and deleted language is shown by a strikethrough.

316.211 Equipment for motorcycle and moped riders. —

(1) A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt this standard by agency rule.

(2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department.

(3)(a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab. or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.

(b) 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 $20,000 in benefits medical payments on his or her motorcycle insurance for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.  Proof of such insurance must be carried at all times while operating on a public roadway and must be exhibited on demand by law enforcement.

(4) A person under 16 years of age may not operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation.

(5) The department shall make available a list of protective headgear approved in this section, and the list shall be provided on request.

(6) Each motorcycle registered to a person under 21 years of age must display a license plate that is unique in design and color.

(7) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

In 2000, Florida amended its motorcycle helmet law to allow operators to ride without a helmet if they were 21 or older and carried at least $10,000 in “medical benefits.” The definition of “medical benefits” is unclear, making it difficult for law enforcement to determine if a rider has adequate coverage, as intended by the statute. Moreover, over twenty years after the statute amendment, the requirement of $10,000 in coverage is economically insufficient (Ulmer & Northrup, 2005). The ambiguous language of the current statute, combined with the inadequate coverage amount, means that many riders who are involved in crashes are financially deficient, resulting in medical providers and taxpayers absorbing the costs associated with motorcycle crashes.

Motorcycle riders who choose to ride without a helmet should have more financial responsibility. The section of the statute that says, “medical benefits” should be rewritten to read “medical payments on his or her motorcycle insurance.” This would allow law enforcement to confirm adequate coverage by checking a rider’s motorcycle insurance ID card.

Additionally, the required medical coverage amount should be increased to $20,000 to account for current costs. The same as has been done by other states with optional helmet laws, such as Michigan. We also propose amending the current statute by removing Section 316.211(3)(a), which excludes users of mopeds and scooters under 50cc from helmet requirements. This change will ensure that moped and scooter users have the same rights and protections as motorcyclists, and it will comport with the definition changes we submit through other legislative proposals this year.


Source: Ulmer, R. G., Northrup, V. S., & Preusser Research Group. (2005). Evaluation of the repeal of the all-rider motorcycle helmet law in Florida (No. DOT HS 809 849). United States. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Children Motorcycle Passenger Protection

Model Language

316.2095 Footrests, handholds, and handlebars. —

(1) Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passenger.

(2) No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars or with handgrips that are higher than the top of the shoulders of the person operating the motorcycle while properly seated upon the motorcycle.

(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

Existing language in section 316.2095 limits the ability to enforce the safety and security of child motorcycle passengers by neglecting to specify that passengers must be able to reach and firmly place their feet upon the required passenger footrests. As there is no other Florida Statute which specifies protection requirements for children motorcycle passengers, this gap in legislation allows for children of any age to ride as a motorcycle passenger in an unsafe manner. If the goal of 316.2095(1) is to ensure motorcycles with passengers are properly equipped with footrests for passenger stability, then language must be added to ensure passengers are able to utilize the footrests, with exceptions for adults with physical disabilities.

Note: New language is underlined and deleted language is shown by a strikethrough.

316.2095 Footrests, handholds, and handlebars. —

(1) Any motorcycle carrying a passenger, other than in a sidecar or enclosed cab, shall be equipped with footrests for such passenger.  Any passenger must be able to reach and firmly seat their feet upon such footrests.  An adult passenger with a physical disability preventing such use is exempt from this provision.

(2) No person shall operate any motorcycle with handlebars or with handgrips that are higher than the top of the shoulders of the person operating the motorcycle while properly seated upon the motorcycle.

(3) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318. 

From 2011 to 2020, 217 children aged 10 or younger were injured or killed as passengers in motorcycle crashes in Florida. Although children five years of age or younger are required to use approved child restraint devices in passenger vehicles in Florida (F.S. 316.613), there is no child motorcycle passenger protection law.

In 2020, motorcyclist fatalities occurred 28 times more frequently at the national level than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes per vehicle mile traveled (NHTSA, 2022). Motorcycle safety laws in many other states (such as Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Texas, and Washington) specify a minimum age or secure seating requirements for young motorcycle passengers.

Florida Statute 316.2095 should specify that no passenger may ride on a motorcycle or moped traveling on Florida public roadways, unless that passenger can firmly and securely place both feet on the passenger foot pegs, with exceptions for adults with disabilities.


Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2022, May). Motorcycles: 2020 data (Traffic Safety Facts. Report No. DOT HS 813 306). National Center for Statistics and Analysis.


Download Printable PDF:

Update to Florida Motorcycle Insurance Statute

Children Motorcycle Passenger Protection