DONE - Chapter 8. Major Traffic Laws - Part 4

Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course: Chapter 8. Major Traffic Laws - Part Two

This chapter covers the following topics

8.4. Basic Driving Laws: Motorcycles and Bicycles

Section 8.4. Basic Driving Laws: Motorcycles and Bicycles


Before you can operate a motorcycle you must have a valid motorcycle license (or an endorsement for motorcycles on your driver's license). If you are applying for a Motorcycle Only License, based on your age, the following criteria must be met:

If under 18 years old:
  • Must hold a Learner's License at least 12 months or until the 18th birthday prior to the issuance of a Class E Motorcycle Only license.
  • Must have NO moving traffic violation convictions 12 months from the issue date of the learner's license.
  • Must provide completion of an approved motorcycle safety course.

If over 18 years old:
  • Pass the vision, road sign and road rule examinations or hold a current Learner's License.
  • Must provide completion of an approved motorcycle safety course. Or
  • Provide an out-of-state motorcycle only license (except Alabama).

If you are seeking a motorcycle endorsement on your current Florida License:
  • Must hold a Class E license or higher or meet the requirements for a Class E license.
  • Must complete a motorcycle safety course, Basic Rider Course (BRC) Or
  • Provide an out-of-state license with a motorcycle endorsement (except Alabama).

Motorcycles are not as visible as passenger vehicles are, so you must take special care to share the road with motorcyclists. When traveling the roadway, be sure to search and scan three times before changing lanes or turning into an intersection to eliminate the blind spots and overcome visual impairments that can hinder a motorcyclist's view.

Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. The first and most obvious reason is that if you get hit, or hit something on your motorcycle, there is nothing shielding your body from the roadway.

NHTSA's 2006 statistics show that motorcyclists were 35 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and eight times as likely to be injured. In 2007, there were 5,154 motorcycle fatalities. An additional 103,000 motorcycle occupants were injured.

In 2007, there were 2,332 two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle. In 40 percent (939) of these crashes the other vehicle was turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking the vehicle. Both vehicles were going straight in 632 crashes (27%).


When following a motorcycle, remember that motorcycles have the ability to stop quicker than other vehicles in an emergency. That means that following them too closely endangers both your life and that of the motorcyclist. Always maintain a four second following distance behind a motorcycle and increase the following distance to six seconds for bad weather.

In Florida, Motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes

In 2008, 502 motorcyclists died in Florida - an increase from the number killed in 2004.

In 2008 in Florida, the Highway Patrol reports that 17.8% of all traffic fatalities were motorcycle drivers and their passengers. That same year, 502 motorcyclists were killed and 8,519 injured. There were 9,618 motorcycle crashes in Florida in 2008, according to

2008 - 502 motorcyclists were killed, and 8,519 were injured in 9,618 crashes.
2007 - 517 motorcyclists were killed, and 8,186 were injured in 9,205 crashes.
2006 - 521 motorcyclists were killed, and 8,186 were injured in 7,934 crashes.
2005 - 441 motorcyclists were killed, and 8,186 were injured in 7,282 crashes.
2004 - 388 motorcyclists were killed, and 8,186 were injured in 6,558 crashes.
2003 - 339 motorcyclists were killed, and 8,186 were injured in 5,973 crashes.
2002 - 274 motorcyclists were killed, and 8,186 were injured in 5,384 crashes.


Bicycles-People driving mopeds or bicycles on the roadway have the same rights and duties as motor vehicle drivers. They must obey all traffic controls and signals and may be ticketed for traffic violations. But while they may have the same responsibilities as motorists, a bicycle is different than a motor vehicle. Like motorcycles, they offer no protection to the rider in a collision, and they can easily be hidden from a driver's sight by other vehicles or caught in a driver's blind spot. You should always be aware of the possibility that a bicyclist is nearby, hidden from your view.

If you're sharing the road with a bicycle, there are many things you can do to minimize the risks. First, make the bicyclist aware of your intentions. Signal well ahead of time if you are planning to stop, make a turn, or change lanes. If you're driving behind a cyclist, increase your following distance and give them space to maneuver. Do not try to pass a cyclist until you have plenty of room to do so. Anticipate potential problems for the cyclist on the roadway ahead - puddles, potholes, or wet or rough surfaces that could cause them to veer dangerously or go into a skid. Keep in mind some bicyclists may ignore their responsibility to obey all traffic laws. They can behave unpredictably, and you must be prepared for their sudden maneuvers or inattention to traffic signals.

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