Florida Motorcycle Helmet Law
Florida Statutes Annotated Title XXIII
Motor Vehicles Chapter 316
State Uniform Traffic Control
Section 1. Subsection (3) of section 316.211, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
316.211. Equipment for motorcycle and moped riders
(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 (l), 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) No person under 16 years of age shall operate or ride upon a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with standards established by the department.
Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2000.
HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
Laws 1985, c. 85-329, s 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1985, added former subsec. (5) and rewrote former subsec. (4) [now subsec. (5)] which formerly provided:”The department is authorized to approve or disapprove protective headgear and eye-protective devices required herein and to issue and enforce regulations establishing standards and specifications for the approval thereof. The department shall publish lists of all protective headgear and eye-protective devices by name and type which have been approved by it.”
NOTES OF DECISIONS
1. ValidityThis section requiring motorcycle riders to wear protective headgear did not violate constitutional right to privacy or rights characterized by motorcycle operator as rights “to be let alone” by government and to be free from “paternalistic” legislation; this section constituted valid exercise of state’s police powers to prevent unnecessary injury to riders themselves and to prevent public from having to bear costs of such injury, and there was no broad legal or constitutional right to be let alone. Picou v. Gillum, C.A.11 (Fla.) 1989, 874 F.2d 1519, certiorari denied 110 S.Ct. 283, 493 U.S. 920, 107 L.Ed.2d 263.
Considering fact that a flying object could easily strike a bareheaded cyclist and cause him to lose control of his vehicle, as well as fact that wind or an insect flying into cyclist’s eyes could create a hazard to others on highway, this section requiring motorcyclists to wear both crash helmets and safety goggles is in the interests of health, safety and welfare of the public and constitutes a reasonable exercise of state’s police power. Bogue v. Faircloth, D.C.Fla.1970, 316 F.Supp. 486, appeal dismissed 441 F.2d 623.
This section requiring the operator of a motorcycle to wear protective headgear has a rational and valid purpose and is not subject to attacks of vagueness and unconstitutional delegation. Hamm v. State, 387 So.2d 946 (1980).
This section providing that no person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the department and unless he is wearing an eye protective device of type approved by the department contains no fatal ambiguity as to the type of protective headgear required to be worn. Cesin v. State, 288 So.2d 473 (1974).
Portion of former s 317.981 (see, now, this section) prescribing protective headgear for motorcyclists wherein specific standards for protective equipment were left to department of public safety did not constitute an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power, nor was it void for vagueness. State v. Eitel, 227 So.2d 489 (1969).
Motorcyclists do not have a constitutional right to ride the highways without wearing headgear prescribed by legislature for their protection. State v. Eitel, 227 So.2d 489 (1969).
2. Protective headgear requirement
Evidence, which indicated that motorcycle passenger wore helmet at time of accident and that helmet flew off at point of impact, was insufficient to establish comparative negligence based on alleged violation of statute requiring persons riding motorcycle to wear protective headgear securely fastened. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Vosburgh, App. 4 Dist., 480 So.2d 140 (1985).
In negligence action arising out of motorcycle accident, trial court did not err in precluding defendants from introducing evidence and later arguing to jury that plaintiffs’ decedent was guilty of comparative negligence by failing to wear protective headgear at time of accident in violation of statute, since no evidence was adduced that the violation of the statute was the proximate cause of head injuries sustained by decedent. Rex Utilities, Inc. v. Gaddy, App. 3 Dist., 413 So.2d 1232 (1982), review denied 422 So.2d 843.
3. Municipal regulation
Municipalities are not authorized by law to require that motor-propelled bicycles or moped operators and riders wear protective headgear and eye- protective devices while operating or riding such bicycle/mopeds within the city limits which would otherwise be required by law for motorcycle operators and riders. Op.Atty.Gen., 077-84, Aug. 22, 1977.
The fine for not wearing a helmet is $35.00
CR03 (5) The department is authorized to approve protective headgear made to specifications drawn and devised by, or approved by, the American National Standards Institute, the United States Department of Transportation, the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission, the United States Department of Defense, or any other entity which can provide equally effective equipment specifications. The department shall publish lists of protective equipment, and such lists shall be made available by request to all users of such equipment.
HB 0117– 6/16/00 – Governor Bush Signed HB1911 into law at 3:30 today. It goes into effect July 1, 2000. A person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing a helmet if they are 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.
May 3, 2000– HB 117 passed all legislature hurdles and is on the Governor’s desk for signature. It’s attached to Bill 1911, which is reportedly a “must sign bill”.
May 1, 2000 – HOUSE Read 3rd time; PASSED: YEAS 71, NAYS 43
May 1, 2000 – SENATE In Messages
- Apr 30, 1999 – SB 0958 & HB 0457 – 21 with Medical. Both died on Calendar
- Apr 26, 1999 – SB 0958 & HB 0457 – have passed all committees and are waiting for action in the full Senate & full House. A $10,000 Medical Payment Policy Amendment was added.
- Feb 4, 1999 – SB 0958 & HB 0457 – filed in Senate and House.
- Florida SB224 – 3/23/98 – S Comm. Action: Unfavorable by Banking and Insurance, laid on Table -SJ 00304 – Helmet modification bill over 21 with medical insurance.
- Unconstitutional in Florida – May 16th, Pinellas Court dismiss 2nd helmetless ticket!
On May 8th, 1996, a Florida Court Overturned their 30 year old Helmet Law. The Court ruled the law unconstitutional! Here’s the blow by blow account:
- Unconstitutional in Florida – Florida vs. Raynal, December 8, 1995, Florida Court finds Helmet law “overly vague” and dismisses case.
- Florida Sheriff Memo – December 27, 1995, Florida memo tells deputies to coninue enforcing the helmet law anyway!
- State of Florida vs. Landry – May 8th, 1996, Frank Landry got a ticket after the December 8th decision and fights the ticket on vagness as established in the Raynal Court. Florida’s helmet law is dying!
- Florida Attorney Ron Smith Letter – May 10, 1996, to the Florida Sheriff’s Office in response to the May 8th decision and the Sheriff’s memo of December 27th.
- No List? No Law! – Florida Analysis by Tony “Pan” Sanfelipo