Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of serious head injury by about 50%. Every year, helmet wearing prevents hundreds of bicyclist deaths. Wearing a helmet is the best way to protect yourself from potential injuries while biking in Fort Lauderdale. Riders over the age of 16, however, do not legally have to wear helmets in the state of Florida. Learning the municipal laws in your city can help you stay on the right side of the law.
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Most states – Florida included – do not have universal laws requiring all bicyclists to wear helmets. Instead, Florida has a law that only requires riders under the age of 16 to wear them. Bikers 16 and older are free to ride without helmets, unless their cities passed specific laws stating otherwise. In Fort Lauderdale, no such law exists. Only minors legally have to wear helmets when riding bicycles in the city.
Do I Need a Helmet on an Electric Bike?
Electric bicycles have grown more popular in recent years. To lawfully use an electric bicycle in the state of Florida, the rider must be older than 16. However, riders do not need to wear helmets to operate electric bikes. It is also not necessary to wear a helmet while riding on a scooter or moped, unless you are a minor under the age of 16. You can even operate a motorcycle without wearing a helmet in the state of Florida, as long as you are over 21 and have at least $10,000 in personal injury protection motorcycle insurance.
Could Not Wearing a Helmet Affect an Injury Claim?
Since wearing a helmet while biking is not a legal requirement in Florida over the age of 16, it is uncommon for this to serve as a plausible defense in an injury claim. Florida Statutes Section 316.2065(18) specifically states that the failure to wear a helmet, or the failure of a parent to make a child wear a helmet, may not serve as evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. Thus, bicyclists have specific protections against this defense
The courts in Florida will not base a personal injury decision on whether or not the bicyclist was wearing a helmet. It may be different, however, if you are in a state that does require helmets. If the bicyclist broke the law by failing to wear a helmet, this could be a potential defense to an injury claim. The defense could argue that by breaking the law, the bicyclist placed him or herself in a position to suffer the injuries in question.
If you were over the age of 16 and not wearing a helmet during your bicycle accident, the defense cannot use this fact against you – even if you are pursuing damages for a head or brain injury. Since you did not break the law, you were not negligent in deciding to go helmetless. Florida is, however, a pure comparative negligence state. The defendant may try to argue your comparative fault for other reasons, such as an alleged broken roadway rule on your part. For this reason, it is important to hire an attorney to help you with your claim.
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Lack of helmet wearing may come up during your bicycle accident claim if you are seeking compensation for injuries to the head, face, or brain. Hiring a lawyer can help you combat this defense and maximize your financial compensation. Your attorney can help convince the courts that this defense does not apply since you did not break any laws by failing to wear a bicycle helmet. Your lawyer can then argue for the best possible outcome based on the facts of the case.
If you were recently involved in a bicycle accident in Fort Lauderdale, call our attorneys at Kelley | Uustal for a free consultation. We can investigate your case and help you understand your rights.