FLORIDA’S HELMET LAW – FLORIDA STATUTE SECTION 316.211
316.211 Equipment for motorcycle and moped riders – Effective July 1, 2000
(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) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.
STUDIES AND CONCLUSION REGARDING HELMET LAW AND FATALITIES
- There is no discernible difference in motorcycle accident or fatality rates between states with mandatory helmet laws and those which allow for freedom of choice. In fact, states which support voluntary use routinely achieve accident and fatality rates equal to or better than states with mandatory helmet laws for all riders. (American Motorcycle Association, 1995)
- “It is concluded that: 1) motorcycle helmets have no significant effect on probability of fatality; and 2) past a critical impact speed, helmets increase the severity of neck injuries.” (Dr. Jonathan Goldstein, Bowdoin College)
- Helmets are minimally effective in preventing most injuries. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report to Congress, the CODES Study, 1995)
- Automobile accidents account for 45.5% of all head injured patients and are responsible for 37.1% of all fatalities involving head injury. (The Journal of Trauma, 1989)
- There are no appreciable differences found relative to fatality rate, severity of injury, hospital stay, and discharge status between motorcycle accident victims who wore helmets and those who did not. (Arizona’s Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Study, 1990)
- Helmet use is not associated with overall injury severity, discharge status, or insurance status. (University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, June, 1992)The average inpatient charge for a helmeted motorcyclist receiving a brain injury was equal to that of an unhelmeted motorcyclist receiving a brain injury. (NHTSA CODES Study, 1995)