Jennifer Quijano was a passenger on a motorcycle on I-95 on an early November morning when the motorcycle she was riding on struck a divider, throwing her over a wall and onto the street 15 feet below. Quijano was hospitalized with critical injuries. She was not wearing a helmet.
An unprotected motorcycle crash can cause significant injury or even death due to damage to the brain. The human brain is extremely delicate. Though it has some natural protection from injury in the form of the skull and a cushion of spinal fluid that surrounds it, these natural protections are not designed to protect against the high speed, high impact collisions that are sustained on modern roads.
Because of the great danger of a head injury, helmets are essential while riding motorcycles. Helmets provide an additional level of protection that can save as many as 41% of people who would otherwise die in motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,829 motorcyclists in 2008.
Many states, including Florida, have mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle riders. Florida law requires that anyone riding a standard motorcycle wear a helmet at all times. There is, however, one major exception: If you are over twenty-one, you can ride without a helmet if you carry enough insurance to cover your medical expenses.
In other words, while the State of Florida thinks that it is a very bad idea to ride without a helmet, as long as you take responsibility to pay for your own emergency treatment when you are injured, the state won’t force you to wear a helmet if you are old enough to make your own decision.
Our advice on this issue is not to rely on loopholes. Always wear a helmet before getting on a motorcycle.