Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation for thrill seekers across the State of Florida and the United States. After all, these small, fast vehicles can allow for outrageous speed and impressive tricks. Many motorcycle enthusiasts enjoy seeing how much they can manipulate their motorcycles while driving them.
Unfortunately, many of these activities are incredibly risky. In the State of Florida, some of them are illegal as well. The act of popping a wheelie, which is when you pull up on the handlebars and balance your bike only on the rear tire, is actually against the law in Florida. Drivers who don’t know this could face steep fines even for a first-time offense.
The goal of traffic laws is to keep the public safe
Motorcycle drivers face a high mortality rate in crashes. After all, motorcycles do not provide any protection of your body from other vehicles or the road. Even people who do not die often suffer catastrophic injuries in motorcycle collisions. In order to reduce the risk to people on motorcycles, the State of Florida has laws in place that limit how you may operate a motorcycle on public roadways.
While these laws may seem oppressive and ridiculous to people who enjoy performing tricks on their bikes, it is important to understand that they are in place to protect you and everyone else on the road. Simply decrying the law is unfair will do nothing for you if you get caught popping a wheelie on your motorcycle.
The penalties for a wheelie are actually pretty steep
Despite how you may feel impressed by stunt drivers on television shows and movies who balance their bikes while driving, attempting to do the same thing on the roads in Florida could quickly result in legal issues. If a law enforcement officer sees you pop a wheelie or if traffic cameras record the action, you are likely going to face a ticket.
That ticket will result in a $1,000 fine for your first offense. If you get caught popping a wheelie a second time, the fine could increase to up to $2,500. Florida is so serious about deterring people from this practice that they actually make a third offenses a felony charge. That could mean a fine of as much as $5,000 and the loss of your license for up to 10 years.
The law in Florida requires that you keep both wheels of your motorcycle on the ground at all times unless the conditions of the road make them leave the surface temporarily. Intentionally lifting one wheel off the road is a direct violation of this law.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may have the option to defend against these tickets. That may be especially important if you are a repeat offender. Make sure that you know all of the options available to you before moving forward after receiving a citation for unsafe motorcycle driving in Florida.