There is no denying the thrill of riding a motorcycle in Florida without a helmet. Riding down A1A in Daytona Beach and Ormond, following the coastline with the sun in your face and wind in your hair can be pure joy for a motorcycle enthusiast. As a former Harley rider, I can personally attest to the fun of riding motorcycles around Daytona, especially during Bike Week. However, statistics have shown that riding without a helmet can come with a hefty price.

In 1967, the Federal Government had declared that it would not offer funding to states that did not have a law regarding the use of motorcycle helmets. As a result, by the mid-70's, all but a few states had implemented compulsory helmet use for bikers.

In 2000, Governor Jeb Bush repealed Florida's helmet law which now allows anyone 21 and over to ride without a helmet as long as that person has an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred while operating a motorcycle. In the years since this change, fatalities involving riders without helmets have increased significantly. Studies have shown that hospital admissions for head injuries as a result of motorcycle injuries rose 82% while the average medical cost for treatment of head injuries almost doubled.

It is important to note that there are still many motorcycle fatalities throughout Florida, even for those who are wearing helmets. The Bike Week festivities in Daytona Beach this year saw several fatal motorcycle accidents, both with and without helmets. However, the death ratio for those who are not wearing helmets is 10 times that of those wearing protective head gear. That being said, Johnson & Gilbert does not advocate whether one should wear a helmet or not. The current law allows anyone 21 and over the right to make that choice. What we do advocate is riding safely. Always keep an eye out for road hazards e.g.: debris, potholes and railroad tracks. Drive defensively. Motorcycles are easily lost in other drivers' blind spots.

There are many beautiful areas to ride motorcycles around Daytona, Ormond and Flagler Beach. By obeying traffic laws and keeping a watchful eye on your surroundings, you may help avoid a potentially deadly accident. If you, or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident and would like more information about your rights, please contact Johnson & Gilbert at 1-800-556-8890 for a free consultation.