Blog by Raymond Lopez
Who gives their bike to a friend for a ride? Yes or not?
Raymond Lopez
Raymond Lopez
18 Mar 2021

Who gives their bike to a friend for a ride? Yes or not?

I had an interesting conversation with some gentlemen at Biketoberfest about loaning vehicles of any kind (including motorcycles) to people.
Here’s my free legal advice: It’s a bad idea and I advise against it. I also advise against co-signing for loans on vehicles for other people.
The primary reason is that Florida follows the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine. Motor vehicles—including some golf carts—are dangerous instrumentalities. You’re responsible for anything someone does who’s riding your motorcycle or driving your car.
“So what,” you say. “What’s the big deal?”
Well, for starters, if someone operating your vehicle crashes, then your insurance rates will probably go up. But if you don’t have bodily injury liability and property damage coverage on your vehicle’s insurance policy, then the State of Florida can and often does suspend your license and the license of whomever is operating your motor vehicle until you pay what is usually tens of thousands of dollars in damages (or get a signed release).
You’ll also have to get an expensive SR-22.
Don’t think that Florida doesn’t require bikers to carry liability insurance. That’s not true. Florida doesn’t require you to present proof of insurance to title, register, or ride your motorcycle, but if you crash, then you have violated Florida’s Financial Responsibility law.
Florida’s Financial Responsibility law requires that owners and operators of any motor vehicle on public roads carry $10,000 of bodily injury liability and $10,000 of property damage coverages. I’ve included a link to the statute below. See subsection (7). That includes bikers. There are absolutely no exceptions to this statute.
How bad can it get for you if someone crashes your motorcycle or car?
I’ve had many people contact me over the years because the State suspended their driver licenses because they or someone to whom they loan their motorcycles to got into a crash. The crash doesn’t always have one that the person caused either.
Here are three of the cases that I’ve seen in the last year:
1. Biker borrows his son’s motorcycle and crashes due to another vehicle blinding the biker with high beams as the biker was going through a curve. The only things damaged were the bike and some grass. The State suspended the rider and his son’s licenses until they obtained SR-22s. There was no damage to anyone else’s property, so father and son didn’t have to pay back any damages.
2. The second biker wasn’t so lucky. He was rear-ended on the Florida Turnpike and did nothing wrong, but the State suspended his license until he gets an SR-22 and repays the driver who rear-ended him $30,000.
3. Another person co-signed a loan for a motorcycle for her boyfriend. He wrecked it, and the State suspended her license because the boyfriend failed to purchase liability coverage.
I don’t loan my vehicles to anyone. It’s simply not worth the risk of my insurance rates going up (I carry a $1,000,000 liability policy so my license would be safe if I did).
Here’s the takeaway:
1. Don’t loan your vehicles to anyone. You’re responsible for any damages they cause.
2. Don’t co-sign for a loan on another person’s car or motorcycle unless you want to bet your license and finances that they’ll never be in a crash. You’re financially married to that person if you do.
3. Everyone must carry the minimum amounts of liability coverage to comply with Florida’s Financial Responsibility statute. It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is financed or not, if you were wearing a helmet, or if the age of the person riding the motorcycle. Forget what others try to tell you about that issue. It doesn’t matter—they’re wrong.
I hope you’ve found this post informative.
PS: Please don’t contact me if the State suspends your license. I’m not that kind of lawyer, and I cannot help you get back your license.

3 1.6K
  • Danny 4D's 18 Mar 2021
    not me !
  • mark 19 Mar 2021
    reading this makes me thankful for living in NZ.
  • Matt Carroll 19 Mar 2021
    we often swap bikes between friends, the French insurance system allows this, as for damages, the phrase "you bend it, you mend it" springs to mind.
    shit happens, it's only nuts and bolts, a smashed up bike is just the next project. 👍
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