Tampa, Florida Motorcyclists_ Understanding Your Road Rights

Florida residents and tourists alike enjoy riding their motorcycles in the Tampa metropolitan area, whether to see the sights of the city or explore the beautiful offerings of the Gulf Coast. However, motorcyclists must always remain alert to potential hazards. The area is rife with inattentive drivers, and the smaller size of motorcycles makes them susceptible to crashes. Because riders lack the protection of passenger car occupants, even relatively low-speed accidents can cause catastrophic and even life-threatening injuries.

Understanding Florida motorcycle laws can help all riders stay safe on the road. It can also help you recognize your rights if you are involved in a collision due to another party’s negligence. The team at Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers has put together this Florida motorcycle traffic law guide to help protect you.

What Rights Do Motorcyclists Have on Florida Roads and Highways?

Motorcyclists in Florida have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle operators. This means they must follow all applicable traffic laws, such as speed limits, stop signs, and right-of-way rules.

At the same time, motorcyclists are entitled to the full use of their lane and do not have to ride on the shoulder or closer to the edge than they feel safe doing. Car and truck drivers are required to treat motorcycles like any other vehicle on the road. Motorists must check their blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging.

Drivers frequently fail to exercise proper caution around motorcycles. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include drivers failing to yield the right-of-way, following too closely, or not checking carefully before turning left in front of an oncoming motorcycle.

If a motorcyclist is involved in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, they have the right to seek compensation for their injuries and other losses. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help protect legal rights for motorcyclists and pursue the financial recovery they deserve.

What Laws Should Motorcyclists Know About?

All motorcyclists in Florida should be aware of the following laws:

Motorcycle Endorsement 

Anyone who wishes to ride a motorcycle with an engine capacity of 50cc or greater must obtain a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. If you are 16 years or older with a valid driver’s licence, you must first pass a state-approved Basic Rider Course (BRC). You must then obtain a motorcycle endorsement within one year. If you do not have a driver’s license, you must complete the motorcycle knowledge test and the BRC to obtain a motorcycle license. 


Helmet laws vary from state to state. Florida requires all riders and passengers under 21 to wear a DOT-approved crash helmet. Riders and passengers who are 21 and older can choose not to wear a helmet if they have medical benefits insurance coverage of at least $10,000. However, it is highly recommended that all riders wear a helmet. The CDC reports that a helmet can reduce the incidence of head injury by 69 percent. 


All riders, regardless of age, must wear protective eyewear, such as goggles.

Lane Splitting 

Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist rides between two lanes of traffic. This practice is illegal in the state of Florida. However, two riders may legally operate their motorcycles side-by-side in a single lane.


Motorcyclists have a legal obligation to avoid maneuvers that would endanger other road users. This includes stunts such as wheelies. 


If a motorcyclist wishes to convey a passenger, their motorcycle must be equipped with a designated pillion passenger seat, as well as passenger footrests. 


Motorcyclists are prohibited from using listening devices, such as headphones, while riding. This law is designed to ensure that a motorcycle operator can hear sounds that might indicate approaching hazards. It is, however, legal for motorcyclists to wear one earpiece (such as an earbud) in one ear. This will permit the rider to hear surrounding noise with the other ear. 


Florida law requires all motorcycles to operate with headlights on at all times. Your motorcycle’s headlight must illuminate automatically the moment you start your engine. 


For a motorcycle to be street legal, it must be equipped with mirrors that permit the motorcyclist to see at least 200 feet behind them. 

What Compensation Can I Recover After a Tampa Motorcycle Accident?

Tampa, Florida Motorcyclists_ Understanding Your Road RightsEven riders who adhere to motorcycle safety and legal advice can suffer harm due to another party’s negligence. Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries for riders, who lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle. Common injuries include bone fractures, road rash, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, and internal bleeding. Treating these injuries can involve substantial medical bills, extended time off work, and significant pain and suffering.

If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses related to the accident
  • Lost income from missing work during your physical recovery
  • Projected future lost earnings if you suffered long-term impairment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional distress
  • Damaged property

The specific compensation available will depend on the details of the accident and the severity of your injuries. You will need to document your losses and expenses carefully. 

Contact an Experienced Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

Suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident can cause unimaginable disruption to your life. In addition to unbearable pain, you might be faced with overwhelming medical bills, an inability to work, and long-lasting psychological trauma. Working with an experienced Florida motorcycle accident attorney can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence.

The seasoned Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers of Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers understand how challenging motorcycle accident injuries are, and we are eager to help. We have been protecting motorcyclist rights for nearly 20 years, and we are ready to use our experience and skills to secure the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (619) 233-5020 or contact us online for a free case evaluation to learn more about what we can do for you.

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