As a Florida motorcycle crash injury lawyer, I was saddened by the death of Dana St. John, a North Fort Myers, Florida man who died riding home on his brand new Yamaha. According to the “Miami Herald,” he had purchased the bike earlier in the day but had absolutely no experience riding a motorcycle, was not wearing a motorcycle helmet and crashed the bike near his own front door. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles there were 8,577 motorcycle crashes in 2010 with 2700 resulting in either an incapacitating injury or fatality.
The State of Florida’s motorcycle law requires that all new motorcyclists take and pass The Basic Rider Course through Florida’s Rider Training Program before they can obtain a motorcycle license or have a motorcycle endorsement added to a valid Florida driver’s license.
Florida has two kinds of motorcycle licenses. An Endorsement License applies to those that already have a valid Florida driver’s license. A Motorcycle Only License is for those 16 years or older that have held either a learners permit for at least one year without a traffic ticket conviction or are over 18 years old and have passed the standard class E operates licenses and completed the Basic Riders Course developed and sponsored by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Fortunately, Since 2008, Florida has discontinued the temporary instruction permits.
Florida’s Rider Training Program Courses use the 15 hour Motorcycle Safety Foundations curriculum and provides a fun introduction to basic safe and responsible motorcycling on both the streets and highways of Florida. The Basic Rider Course (BRC) is a one day course and an excellent way for an entry level rider to develop both the physical skills to control, turn and stop a motorcycle. As a Miami motorcycle injury lawyer I personally took the course many years ago and found it to be an essential starting point for a novice. Sadly, Mr. St. John never had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of motorcycle safety that would have probably saved his life.
Florida’s helmet law allows motorcycle riders over 21 year of age and covered by at least $10,000 in medical payments to ride without a helmet. Our Key West motorcycle injury attorneys feel that this is a stupid and dangerous law. We believe that Florida’s roads are just too dangerous to traverse without the added protection of a helmet and we strongly recommend that anyone considering purchasing a motorcycle for the first time; attend and pass a Florida Motorcycle Safety Course before leaving the showroom.