You must have a valid motorcycle license to operate a motorcycle in Destin, Florida. If you do not have the proper license or endorsement to ride a motorcycle, the police can issue a citation.
More importantly, riding without a motorcycle license can put your life in danger. Unlicensed riders often lack the training and experience to ride safely. As a result, you have a higher risk of a motorcycle accident if you have not fulfilled the requirements for a motorcycle license.
Here are the motorcycle licensing requirements in Florida and how riding without a license can affect your rights after a motorcycle crash.
How Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Destin
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys is one of the oldest law firms in northwest Florida. The firm was founded in 1990, and over the past 32 years, it has recovered millions of dollars in injury compensation for its clients.
The Destin motorcycle accident attorneys at Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys have over 60 years of combined experience. Some case outcomes obtained by the firm include:
- $950,000 car accident settlement for three injured family members
- $750,000 car accident settlement for an injured lawyer
- $375,000 motorcycle accident settlement for a rider injured by a semi-truck driver
The firm can do the following in service of your case, just to name a few examples:
- Conduct an in-depth internal investigation into your case to gather evidence in support of your claim and assess all of your damages
- Hire experts to strengthen your compensation claim and testify if your case makes it to trial
- Negotiate a fair settlement, and bring your case to court if the other side doesn’t negotiate in good faith
A motorcycle accident can leave you with permanent disabilities even when you wear a helmet. Contact Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys for a free consultation to discuss the compensation you can seek for your motorcycle accident injuries.
How Common Are Motorcycle Licensing Requirements?
Every state requires motorcycle operators to have a motorcycle license or endorsement. These licenses require motorcyclists to satisfy certain requirements that only apply to motorcyclists, including:
- Written knowledge tests
- Skills tests
Unlicensed riding poses a significant safety risk. Unlicensed motorcyclists make up about 20% of riders but 36% of motorcycle fatalities. This means they die at almost twice the rate of licensed riders.
Across Florida, the police issued 879 traffic citations to motorcyclists who did not have a motorcycle license or endorsement, according to Florida’s Annual Uniform Traffic Citation Report. But the problem was much smaller in Destin. There, the police only cited two motorcyclists for riding without a motorcycle license or endorsement.
Overview of Motorcycle Licensing Requirements in Florida
Riding motorcycles requires more skill and training than driving cars. Motorcycles accelerate faster because they have more power for their weight. Motorcyclists must also maintain their balance while maneuvering to avoid laying the motorcycle down.
Most importantly, motorcycles cannot protect riders in a crash as automobiles do. As a result, motorcyclists can suffer severe abrasions and lacerations in even a minor accident. In a severe accident, a motorcyclist can get ejected from the motorcycle and risk catastrophic head, neck, and back injuries.
Florida’s licensing system seeks to train motorcyclists to avoid crashes and maneuver safely in emergencies. As a result, Florida requires all motorcycle riders to meet certain qualifications to receive a motorcycle operator’s license. The qualifications vary depending on your age and driver’s license status.
Riders With a Motorcycle License from Another State
Motorcyclists from every state except Alabama can surrender their out-of-state motorcycle license and receive a Florida motorcycle license upon moving to the state. If you come from Alabama, you must pass the basic rider course (BRC) from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to receive a Florida motorcycle license.
Riders With a Driver’s License
If you are over 18 and have a driver’s license, you must pass the BRC or another approved motorcycle safety course before applying for a motorcycle license. The BRC typically includes eight to ten hours of classroom instruction and ten hours of hands-on skills practice.
Riders Over 18 Without a Driver’s License
Riders who do not have a driver’s license and are over 18 must pass:
- The BRC
- The written driver’s license test
After completing these requirements, you will receive a “motorcycle only” license.
Riders Between 16 and 18 Without a Driver’s License
If you are between 16 and 18, you must apply for and receive a learner’s license. You must have your learner’s license for a full year with no traffic convictions before applying for a motorcycle license.
You must also pass the BRC and the written driver’s license test. Since you only have a learner’s license, you will receive a “motorcycle only” license until you receive your driver’s license.
Liability for Unlicensed Riding in Florida
Florida’s no-fault insurance does not apply to motorcycles. Instead, you will file a claim against the at-fault driver if you get injured in a motorcycle crash.
Under the fault-based system, a claims adjuster or jury will examine each person’s role in the accident. If you bear some fault for your injury, you cannot recover full compensation.
For example, suppose that you rode without a motorcycle license and the claims adjuster put 20% of the blame on you for your injuries. You can only get compensation for 80% of your losses.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Destin Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
You can get injured in a motorcycle accident regardless of whether you are licensed. To discuss the compensation you can seek for your motorcycle accident injuries, contact our law firm Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys at (850) 842-2573 for a free consultation.