With its beautiful weather and scenic drives, Florida is a great place to ride a bicycle. It’s also a dangerous place. In fact, Pinellas County has been named one of the most dangerous places to ride a bicycle in America. Helmets can go a long way toward protecting a bicyclist in the event of an accident. Studies have shown that helmet use can result in a 69% reduction in head injuries. Yet many cyclists don’t wear helmets, and Florida has some specific rules regarding helmet use.
Florida law requires that bicycle helmets be used by children. A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years old must wear a properly fitted helmet that is fastened securely by a strap and meets federal safety standards. The term “passenger” includes any child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer that is attached to a bicycle. Florida has no requirement that individuals age 16 and older wear helmets. So, while wearing a bicycle helmet is a wise and important thing to do, failing to do so is not against the law in Florida.
Is Not Wearing a Helmet Considered Negligence?
Because we all know the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet to reduce injury, it may seem that failing to wear one would be considered negligence. However, under Florida law, 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 bike without a helmet, cannot be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. This means that if you are involved in an accident and you were not wearing your helmet, that fact will not affect any compensation for your injuries to which you may be entitled.
Regardless of what the law says, it is still important for children and adults to wear helmets when riding bicycles. Bicycle accidents can result in serious, life-altering traumatic brain injury. This risk is greatly increased if a bicycle helmet is not worn. While bicycle helmets may be uncomfortable and unattractive to some, it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe.
Contact a Tampa Bay Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you or your child has been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience representing the victims of bicycle accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.