Florida is one of a few states with partial motorcycle helmet laws. As of 2000, the state law only requires younger riders to wear helmets. Riders over the age of 21 can choose not to wear a helmet as long as they carry a minimum of $10,000 in medical coverage on their auto plan. According to information published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the helmet law could reduce safety in the state.
The CDC reports that deaths of motorcycle riders associated with accidents increased 55 percent after the law changed. And even while the helmet law still applies to younger riders, there was an impact on deaths in that age group too. Following the law change, deaths of those under age 21 who were not wearing a helmet when they had a motorcycle accident increased 188 percent.
Hospitalizations increased 40 percent, and costs were generally above the $10,000 mark. In fact, the CDC reports that 75 percent of individuals who were hospitalized following motorcycle accidents incurred costs over $10,000. Approximately $8 million of total costs associated with motorcycle accidents was classified as self-pay, which means the financial burden of those accidents fell on the riders. Many more millions were billed to insurance company, public payers and charities, according to the CDC.
In Florida, the choice to ride with or without a helmet is personal for most adult riders. Evidence does suggest you might be safer with a helmet, but it’s also true that accidents and injuries can and will occur regardless of whether or not you are wearing a helmet. Because motorcycle accidents can be expensive, it’s important to understand how to get help with legal rights and liability claims if you are in an accident caused by someone else.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Motorcycle Safety Guide: Florida Case Study,” accessed Nov. 20, 2015