So, you've just got a bike and maybe you've got fantasies of riding around Miami in a cool jacket and a blazing helmet, among the freedom of the road and the places it'll lead you.
Well, hold your horsepower just a minute and listen: before you set out on the sunny roads of the tropics, you should first get your Florida motorcycle registration and license in order. To that order, here are a few things you should do before revving up that monster of yours.
Motorcycle Registration in Florida
A motorcycle needs to be registered just like a car for it to be driven legally in Florida. This process will depend on how you acquired the bike, whether it was from a dealer, a private seller, or if you arrived with it from another state. For the latter, you'll have 10 days to register your motorcycle with the DHSMV and complete a vehicle identification number inspection, also known as a VIN.
This inspection can be done by a police officer, a car dealer, or a certified DMV inspector. Once this is done, you can go to your local tax collector's office with your license and out of state documents as well as the necessary form and payments to complete your registrations.
If you bought it from a dealer, he will have 30 days to handle the process for you, after which the DHSMV will send you both title and registration documents by mail. Even though the dealer handles the registration, its payment comes from your pocket and should be accorded when you buy the vehicle.
If you bought the bike from a private seller, the registration process falls upon you. You'll need to keep a bill of sale handy as you'll need it as well as the original title and the necessary forms for the ordeal.
After your registration is complete, it will expire every year on the month the bike was registered, after which a renewal will be needed.
Both handling and renewing a registration can be a bit tedious and go over your head, and because of this, you may innocently forget to do it. When this happens, you're prone to receive hefty fines that would ruin both your day and the joy of riding, as your license could be suspended.
To avoid having this burden in both your riding spirit and your memory, our registration and tag services include easy and quick alternatives to this whole ordeal, saving you both time and preoccupations.
Motorcycle License and Endorsement
There are two types of motorcycle licenses to be had in the Sunshine State. One is the "Motorcycle Only" license, which, as the name implies, entitles you to drive motorcycles and only motorcycles. If you're between 16 and 18 years old, you'll need to be a have had a Class E Learner's License for at least a year if you want to apply for it.
Although you could get a Motorcycle Only license fairly easily, the most common and practical motorcycle license is a Motorcycle endorsement as part of your already existing Florida Class E driver's license. This endorsement will be valid for as long as the driver's license is valid itself.
For both types of licensing, you'll need to complete the MSF Basic Rider Course and deliver your identification documents, as well as paying the necessary fees.
If you just arrived in Florida and already carry an out-of-state license with you, you won't need to apply for a license, but you will be required to register your bike.
Florida License Plates for Motorcycles
After registration is complete, you'll want to get a license plate for your motorcycle. These are just like the ones for cars, albeit smaller. Your plate should always have a sticker that indicates a valid registration. These stickers must be replaced as the registration is renewed, and we would be remiss not to remind you that the absence of an up-to-date registration sticker can lead to a very steep fine and suspension of your license.
If by any chance your license plate is lost or damaged, you'll need to request a replacement at the DMV or a local tag agency. Send us your motorcycle registration certificate, a complete application for replacement of license plate, and the money to cover the fees with you and you should be fine.
If your plate was stolen, however, you should instead report it immediately to the local police department and then apply for a replacement at your local plate agency with information from the police report in your application. This way, all fees for replacing your plates and decals will be waived.
Even though Florida is a "no-fault" state that requires personal injury protection coverage for anyone driving a vehicle, these laws do not apply to motorcycle drivers. If you're driving a motorcycle without insurance and an accident happens, you will be able to pursue compensations from other drivers' insurance for medical bills, damages, and other causes.
However, without insurance, you are also liable to be charged with an accident and become financially responsible for body injuries and property damage. This becomes a no-win scenario since you could have your license and registration suspended, be required to purchase damage liability coverage for some years and even have a civil judgment against you.
Because of all this, it is highly recommended that you get an insurance for both personal and any accident liabilities. Even if you come out of an accident without a scratch, it could mean financial ruin for you, so get insurance and rest easy.
Driving safely should definitely be one of your top priorities, though.
After all these things are taken care of, you should be all set to drive your motorcycle without worrying about anything else but the road. This process may seem complicated, but if you prepare yourself and plan accordingly things should go smoothly and you'll be cruising on the roads of the Sunshine State in no time. Ride free, ride safely and be on your way!
Do you need to get your motorcycle registered in Florida? Contact Auto Tags of Florida at (954)848-4808 to as soon as possible to get same-day registration!