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State Motorcycle Laws

Ocala Attorneys Committed to Helping Motor Vehicle Collision Victims

Each state has its own statutes regulating motorcycle riding. Florida's roads can be very dangerous for motorcyclists. Failure to abide by the Florida Statutes may contribute to an accident with serious injuries. However, many crashes are caused simply by the negligence of drivers who ignore riders or refuse to treat them with the appropriate caution. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in the Ocala area, you can consult the lawyers at the Dean Law Firm. We can evaluate whether you may have a claim for compensation against a careless motorist.

State Motorcycle Laws in Florida

Florida follows the rule of comparative negligence. Under this rule, if a victim is partially to blame for an accident in which he or she is hurt, the recovery of damages will be reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault. Unless the plaintiff is 100% responsible for the accident, however, his or her negligence will not bar the plaintiff from recovering economic and non-economic damages. These often include lost wages, lost earning capacity, expenses related to past and future medical treatment, and pain and suffering.

Some state motorcycle laws that might cause a defendant to raise a comparative negligence argument include the lane-splitting law and the law related to how many motorcycles may ride abreast of each other. Under Florida Statutes 316.209(2) and (3), lane splitting is prohibited. This means that a motorcycle cannot be operated between lanes of traffic or adjacent lines of vehicles.

Under Florida Statutes 316.209(1) and (4), motorcyclists cannot operate more than two abreast in a single lane of traffic. However all motorcyclists are entitled to full use of the lane, and a driver cannot drive such that a motorcyclist is deprived of using a lane in full. This means, for example, that if there are three motorcyclists in a lane and they crash because another driver cuts them off, resulting in injuries to all of them, the rule of comparative negligence may apply to reduce their recovery but likely would not eliminate it.

Under Florida Statutes 316.405, a motorcyclist on a public road or highway must have the headlights of the motorcycle turned on. However, failure to comply with this rule during daylight hours is not admissible as evidence of negligence, unless the law otherwise requires the use of headlights. For example, if visibility is reduced because of rain or smog, a motorcyclist must use lights. If a motorcyclist fails to turn on his or her lights in the rain and is hit by a truck, his or her recovery may be reduced. However, the failure will only go towards the question of the motorcyclist's negligence. It does not create a presumption of negligence under the doctrine of negligence per se.

Protect Your Rights after a Motorcycle Accident by Enlisting an Ocala Lawyer

If you are a motorcyclist involved in an accident, your injuries may be significant, including broken bones, brain damage, disfigurement, internal bleeding, and more. To alleviate the financial burden associated with your treatment, it may be necessary to bring a lawsuit against the driver responsible for causing your harm. The injury attorneys at the Dean Law Firm in Ocala respect motorcycle culture and take the rights of our clients seriously. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling us at 352-387-8700 or completing our online form. We serve injured individuals in Crystal River and other communities throughout Lake, Marion, Sumter, Levy, and Citrus Counties.