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Lights On! (and Other Florida Motorcycle Light Requirements)

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One of the key factors informing the high rate of motorcycle accidents, according to a 2015 study published in the Bulletin of Emergency and Trauma, is the lack of visibility of motorcycles by other road travelers. According to this study, the lack of visibility is a particularly important consideration during daylight hours.  One conclusion that the study’s authors reached, based on evidence including field tests and lab studies, is that visibility can be improved, and accidents therefore decreased, by the use of daytime running lights.

The USDOT’s NHTSA also recommends that motorcyclists make themselves as visible as possible. In order to do so, the NHTSA recommends that motorcyclists  check and confirm that their headlights and signal indicators are working properly before every ride. Florida state law echoes this recommendation. In fact, under Florida law, there are specific lighting requirements for motorcyclists driving on Florida’s roads.

Lights On, Even in Daylight

First of all, Florida motorcyclists are always obligated to follow the same rules of the road as all drivers. This general rule applies to any and all laws regulating the use of headlights at night.

For daytime driving, however, there are specific rules that apply to motorcycles. Basically, for motorcycle driving during the daytime, headlights must be switched on at all times.

The specific provision of Florida law that pertains to daytime headlight use is Florida Stat 316.405. This law expressly requires that anyone driving a motorcycle on a public street or roadway have the motorcycle’s headlights turned on. The law allows for the driver to control or modulate the intensity of the headlight upper and lower beams in accordance with federal motor vehicle standards.

Importantly, Florida Stat. 316.405 also provides that a motorcycle rider’s failure to comply with this law during daylight hours (specifically from sunrise to sunset) is not admissible as evidence of negligence in a civil action, unless another law requires compliance, and that failure to comply with the lights on rule is not evidence of negligence per se in any civil action. However, the failure to comply can be considered on the issue of negligence if the violation is a proximate cause of the crash. If you are involved in a crash with a motorcycle in St. Lucie and Martin County and have questions about how these negligence rules may apply, contact an experienced local motorcycle accident lawyer.

A violation of the headlights on law is a noncriminal traffic infraction, and is treated as a moving violation.

Other Florida Motorcycle Lighting Requirements

As for the specific requirements of the headlights, Florida Stat. 316.400 requires:

  • every motorcycle to have at least one but not more than two headlamps
  • that he headlight height be not more than 54 inches and not less than 24 inches

Florida state law also has specific requirements for taillamps (Fla. Stat. 316.410) and reflectors (Fla Stat. 316.415).

Florida has many laws that are aimed to help promote road safety for drivers of all vehicles. If you sustain an injury in a road accident and would like to know more about your potential claim, or would like to know more about the road safety laws, contact a Fort Pierce motorcycle accident attorney serving St. Lucie & Martin County at Sholtes Law, PLLC.

 

Resource:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771245/

https://www.saintlucielawyer.com/contributing-factors-of-motorcycle-accidents-in-fort-pierce/

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