Monday, May 28, 2012
Help Me Howard: Motorcycle License
Did you know that you have to have a specific license to ride a motorcycle in Florida? So can a shop rent you a motorcycle for an hour or two without the license? Its why one man called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser for an answer.
Dwight Forde: "You have to promote yourself. You have to put yourself out there."
Dwight rented a three wheeled motorcycle to ride around and see South Florida, while at the same time promoting his D.J. business.
Dwight Forde: "Oh my God, that guy had the three wheel bike and he's a D.J., so it will bring me customers from all over."
Everything was great. A friend video taped Dwight to be used to promote his business. First riding around Miami Beach, then they headed over to Miami and saw what you don't want to see...flashing blue lights.
Dwight Forde: "I got pulled over and basically they said 'Get off the bike.' They handcuffed me and it was like you got a busted tail light."
The officer then asked for something Dwight had never heard of.
Dwight Forde: "Where's your endorsement?"
Dwight didn't know it but to legally ride a motorcycle in Florida you have to pass a basic rider course and get an endorsement attached to your license, which Dwight says the rental business never mentioned.
Dwight Forde: "I didn't even know because they never told me I needed an endorsement for it, and they seen my license here because they do have a copy of it."
Dwight explained to the officer that he had no idea you had to have a special license. That didn't sway the officer and so, as part of his tour of South Florida, Dwight got to visit a jail cell.
Dwight Forde: "Never been incarcerated here and I was locked up for 19 hours."
It cost Dwight $630 to bail out. Throw in 1$79 for the tickets. Then the motorcycle shop charged his credit card $100 to get the bike from the towing company and $538 claiming he broke the clutch, meaning it cost dwight $1,447 to ride the motorcycle.
Dwight Forde: "They are responsible because if you own a business you shouldn't allow people to use it if they don't have the requirements."
Dwight asked the motorcycle company to re-imburse him the $1,447. They said no. So Howard, he was allowed to rent a motorcycle without the license the law requires. So who's at fault here?
Howard Finkelstein: "It's the shops fault. Florida law requires that you have a motorcycle endorsement on your license. And the shop cannot take your word for it. By law they have to inspect your drivers license to be sure you. Also if they rent a motorcycle to someone who is not approved, it's a crime and they can go to jail."
The motorcycle shop, Z Exotic Motors and Scooter Rental referred us to their attorney's office who sent a statement saying: "Dwight Forde managed to misrepresent to our client that he possessed a motorcycle license."
Howard says actually the law requires the shop to check the license.
The attorney's office for the motorcycle's shop added: "in no way will our client reimburse Forde or be held responsible for his actions." And Howard says they may not have to pay.
Howard Finkelstein: "This is where the law gets murky. There are no cases on this in Florida. I think a court would demand the motorcycle shop reimburse Dwight for all the money he had to spend, but until a Judge rules, we cannot be sure."
Howard says Dwight could ask the police to file charges against the shop for renting him a motorcycle without the proper license. But no matter what he does, this is not how he planned to draw attention to his D.J. business.
Dwight Forde: "I'm upset of how I moved here and started off. It's not the right foot to start off."
Patrick Fraser: "How can a shop in South Florida rent a motorcycle to a tourist? If they come from a state that requires a special license to ride a motorcycle they have to have it. If their state doesn't require a special license, Howard says Florida law does not give the answer. So yes, no and maybe. Isn't the law great."
Feel like you're rented problem that riding you crazy? Scoot over to us. Howard has a license to practice law. Although his family will tell you there's nothing special about it.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com