Would you drive with a person who did not have a driver’s license? The answer most people would give is no, yet a disturbingly large number of motorcycle riders feel it is OK to ride without a motorcycle license. Being properly licensed and endorsed is required by law and is one of the first steps to becoming a safe rider. Just having a driver’s license does not mean you are legal to ride a motorcycle and it does not mean the individual understands the different handling features of a motorcycle. Florida requires all two- and three-wheeled motor vehicle operators to obtain a license and endorsement to operate the vehicles. After July 1, 2008 new motorcyclists, no matter their age, must take and pass the Basic RiderCourse (or equivalent) through the Florida Rider Training Program before they can have the motorcycle endorsement added to their license.
Laws, Licensing, and Registrations
If you wish to operate any two or three wheel motorcycle, whose engine is more than 50 cc, you are required to have a motorcycle endorsement on your driver license or a motorcycle-only license. One goal of the Motorcycle Safety Program is to ensure persons operating a motorcycle on public roadways are properly licensed and hold an endorsement specifically authorizing motorcycle operation.
Education and Training
The Florida Motorcycle Safety Strategic Plan (MSSP), has established goals which are ultimately focused on achieving a reduction in the number of motorcycle fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes. To achieve these goals it is necessary to promote adequate rider training and preparation to new and experienced motorcycle riders by qualified RiderCoaches at state-approved training centers.
Safe Motorcycle And Rider Techniques. also known as SMART Courses, are offered at various locations around the state. These courses help students demonstrate safe motorcycle riding techniques by negotiating commonly found street riding situations in a controlled and skill oriented manner. SMART Courses are fun and very informative, and are offered in Osceola, Gainesville, and Jacksonville. The instructors challenge you where they know they can and help you where they see it’s needed. Check each area location’s Web site for the schedule of classes and for more information.
Additionally, Florida State University Police Department has a program to improve motorcyclist safety. The FSUPD Motorsports Team mission is to forward the message of traffic safety awareness through the use of motorsports events, and to educate the motoring public of safe, legal venues to pursue their desire to compete. Check out: https://police.fsu.edu/Prevention/Motorsports for more information.
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements
In the state of Florida, motorcycles are not required to be insured in order to purchase a tag. However, if a motorcycle is involved in a crash where the owner is cited for a moving violation and there is an indication of an injury to themselves or others, or at least $500 in damages, the owner’s driving privilege and registration could be suspended unless he/she can provide proof of full liability insurance (10/20/10) on the date of the crash. If proof of insurance can’t be provided, the at fault party will be required to purchase liability insurance in the form of an SR-22 insurance certificate. This certificate of insurance will need to be maintained for a period of three years from the original suspension date.
Additionally, the at fault party may have a judgment placed against them. A final judgment occurs when an at fault party is sued in a civil court for damages caused in a motor vehicle crash and has not satisfied property damage and or bodily injury requirements. When a final judgment is submitted to the Bureau of Financial Responsibility, a suspension for a final judgment is generated. The at fault party remains suspended until the judgment is satisfied, or until they can obtain a letter of consent. So, in the most simplest of terms, Get Insured!
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Web site has information on obtaining a Florida motorcycle endorsement or registering a motorcycle. The DHSMV Web site also has tips for riders and motorists, and fact sheets on licensing and endorsement, conspicuity, fatality and injury statistics, and apparel safety tips.