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.
Recovering from your injuries after a bicycle accident should be your main priority, not dealing with insurance adjusters and complicated legal paperwork. Before accepting a settlement offer, contact us online or call us directly at 727-446-0840 to set up a complimentary case review with one of our attorneys.