Unfortunately, there are a lot of motorcycle accidents in Florida today. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were over 9,100 of them reported in a recent year. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to develop a personal injury than those who are traveling in a passenger vehicle. One study says the most common accident for motorcyclists is a traumatic brain injury, especially among those who were less likely to wear a helmet.
Florida Motorcycle Passenger Laws
When you look at Florida motorcycle laws you’ll see that the majority of them address the operator. However, there are some laws that pertain to the passenger. For instance, a passenger can’t ride on a motorcycle that isn’t designed for two people to ride. Some of the other laws that passengers must follow include:
- Anyone over the age of 21 isn’t required to wear a motorcycle helmet as long as the driver has an insurance policy that covers $10,000 in the event a personal injury occurs. However, you should know that if you do get into a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet the defense will probably use this against you.
- Children who ride on a motorcycle must wear a helmet.
- Two-passenger motorcycles should have footrests for the passenger. The passenger should be able to reach these footrests with their feet so they won’t create a balance issue for the driver.
- While it isn’t against the law for a passenger to ride on a motorcycle while intoxicated it isn’t advisable. If you get into a motorcycle accident the defense may try to say that the intoxicated passenger contributed to the crash or caused a personal injury to themselves especially if it’s proven that the driver wasn’t able to pay attention or they themselves weren’t holding on at the time of the motorcycle accident.
Liability for Florida Motorcycle Passenger Injuries
While every personal injury resulting from getting into an accident while riding a motorcycle is different most lawyers will explore the same avenues of liability.
The owner and operator of both the motorcycle and the vehicle that it got into the accident with will be investigated. In this case, you may find that the other driver was at fault. There are many instances in which it can’t be determined for certain who caused the personal injury so both the motorcyclist and the driver of the passenger vehicle will be listed as the defendants.
It’s possible that the motorcycle or any protective gear being worn at the time the personal injury occurred was defective. Whether any of these things caused the operator to lose control of the motorcycle or made the motorcycle accident worse will be taken into consideration. Typically this will include looking at things like brake failure, fuel system malfunctions, defective tires, dangerous design issues, or any other type of malfunction.
The Involvement of Alcohol
If anyone who’s involved in the accident was drinking, it’s possible that the establishment that served them the alcohol could get into trouble. This is especially true if anyone was under 21 or known to be an alcoholic. Such instances would fall under Florida’s dram shop law, F.S. 768.125.
Typically motorcycle passenger injuries in Florida aren’t found to be the result of the passenger’s actions. There are many things that do need to be sorted out though. Fortunately, if you get into a motorcycle accident the Blenner Law Group is there to help. They’ll get you the answers you need regarding your legal options so contact them today.
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