Florida does not have a mandatory helmet law for bicyclists who are 16 years or older. However, anyone who is younger than 16 years old and riding a bicycle is required by state law to wear a helmet that is properly fitted and securely fastened. It is generally recommended that people of all ages wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
Why require children to wear bicycle helmets? The reason Florida children are required to wear helmets when riding a bicycle is the same reason adults are advised to wear helmets: safety. Multiple studies have proven that helmets save lives. Why take a risk with one so important to you?
Bicycle Helmets and Personal Injury Claims
If you or your child were injured in a bicycle accident, even if you weren’t wearing a helmet, you may have the right to recover compensation for your injuries. In other words, if your child is struck by a car and not wearing a helmet but the driver who struck your child is determined to be at fault, they will still be held liable for your child's injuries.
In many states, and for a time in Florida, someone's decision to forego wearing a helmet while riding a bike could be used to reduce the value of their injury claim. The argument was that by not wearing a helmet, the victim is contributing to his or her injuries. It is similar to the rule that allows people injured in car collisions to be held responsible for a portion of their injuries for not wearing a seatbelt.
Fortunately, that ship has sailed. Florida Statutes section 316.2065(18) explicitly states, "the failure of a person to wear a bicycle helmet or the failure of a parent or guardian to prevent a child from riding a bicycle without a bicycle helmet may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence." The statutes forbid any consideration of fault for not wearing a bike helmet.
Interestingly, in cases involving motorcycle riders, Florida law still allows for an apportionment of fault for choosing not to wear a helmet. This is often referred to as the “helmet defense” and can be a crucial factor in cases involving traumatic brain injuries.
Have You Been Injured In A Bicycle Accident?
If you've been hurt in a Florida bicycle accident you should speak with an experienced bicycle injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.