Bicyclists on Florida roadways should know that Florida law considers bicycles to be vehicles. For the bicyclist, this means you are required to obey the same laws as other vehicles on the road. You have the same right to use the roadways as cars, trucks, and other vehicles, but you must also abide by the rules of the road. You may be tempted to drive through a red light when you don’t see opposing traffic, however, if you choose to do that, don’t be surprised if you get ticketed and fined for a moving violation.
Basic Bicycle Laws
Whether riding for fun, transportation, or part of your employment, if you’re on a bicycle, you need to obey all of the traffic laws. In addition to the standard rules of the road, Florida bicycle laws include the following regulations:
- You must have a regular, fixed seat for riding.
- Unless the bicycle has seats for additional riders or passengers, it can only be used for the number of persons it is designed to carry.
- One hand must always be on the handlebars when the bike is in motion.
- The bike must be able to come to a stop within 25 feet. This is based on the assumption of traveling on clean, dry, level pavement at 10 miles per hour.
Parents and guardians need to ensure that their children know and obey Florida’s bicycle laws.
Additional Provisions Under Florida Bicycle Laws
There are additional provisions under Florida’s bicycle laws that must be adhered to as well. These provisions are intended to keep bicyclists safe while on Florida roads.
- Ride as close to the right-hand curb or roadway edge as safely as possible. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when the lane is too narrow to share with cars, when making a left turn, passing, and, when necessary, to avoid hazards.
- If you are riding abreast with another person, the two of you must stay in a single lane.
- If the roadway is not designated exclusively for bicycles, riding more than two abreast is never allowed.
- Bicyclists are allowed full use of the lane from which they are turning when making a left turn.
- Always signal your turns. A left turn is signaled by extending the left arm and hand horizontally to the left side of the bike. Extend your right arm horizontally or left hand and arm up for a right turn.
- Use of headphones, earbuds, headsets, or other listening devices while riding a bike is illegal. Hearing aids are the only exception to this law.
Riding After Dark
It is very difficult to see pedestrians or bicyclists after dark if they are not wearing reflective clothing. For that reason, Florida bicycle laws regarding lighting are also in place for the safety of riders and motorists. It is necessary to have lights on the front and rear of the bicycle, as well as a red reflector on the back. The front light must project white light that can be seen from at least 500 feet away. The rear lamp and reflector must be visible from at least 600 feet away.
Even though bike riding can be an enjoyable pastime, it is important to remember that you must keep the rules of the road when riding on Florida roadways. Must you ride on the roadways? No, Florida laws allow you to also ride on sidewalks. At those times, you have the responsibilities of a pedestrian. As a biker, you must yield the right-of-way to other pedestrians while on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk.
Florida state bike laws are written to keep bicyclists and others safe. They are also regularly updated so it is important to stay informed about new laws. In some jurisdictions, local ordinances are in place. These must be followed as well. Be sure to contact your local government or law enforcement agency to find out what the current bicycle laws are so you can be aware of them.
Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. attorneys are committed to providing the residents of the Port Charlotte, Florida, area with exceptional, individualized care for personal injury legal matters, including those related to bicyclists. When you have a need for a personal injury lawyer, contact us via phone or email or stop by our office to schedule a consultation. We are the lawyers who care and we will fight for your right to be compensated for losses and damages due to negligence or abuse. Call us for more information.