Riding a bicycle has many benefits – it’s practical transportation for shorter distances, it’s good exercise, and it’s a perfect way to train for an athletic event or enjoy a beautiful day outside. Unfortunately, we don’t often have wide road lanes that are exclusively designated for cyclists, such as it’s so common in many European countries. This lack of space often makes riding a bike on our roadways a dangerous activity.
If you’re a cyclist, be aware that in addition to being required to follow all traffic regulations, there are laws that specifically apply to you as well. This is important to know to avoid citations by a police officer, and to reduce your liability in the event of an accident – especially since Florida is a comparative negligence jurisdiction.
Florida Laws for Bicycle Riders
1. Position to Ride
Florida requires anyone operating a bicycle to ride it astride on a permanent, attached seat.
Florida law only requires helmets when the cyclist is under 16 years of age. The helmet has to be properly fitted and fastened by a strap that meets federal safety standards for bicycle helmets.
3. Lights at Night
When riding between sunset and sunrise, all bicycles must have a white light lamp on the front that can be seen from 500 feet away, and a reflector with a red light on the rear that can be seen from 600 feet away. Upon the first violation of this law, a judge may dismiss the charge upon proof of purchase and installation of proper lighting.
Every bicycle in Florida is required to be equipped with brakes that allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour.
Bicycles may not be used to carry more people than seats it has attached to it. The only exception is when an adult cyclist attaches a child to themselves in a sling or secure baby backpack.
With the exception stated above, children who are passengers under four years of age or weigh 40 pounds or less, must be secured in a seat specifically designed to carry a child of that age or size.
7. Road Rules
When riding on roadways, cyclists must obey all traffic laws. When riding on sidewalks and when crossing a crosswalk, they have all the rights and duties of pedestrians.
8. Bike Lanes
In the rare instance that there’s a designated bicycle lane, cyclists are required to use it. When there’s no lane, cyclists must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the road, except when passing another bicycle traveling in the same direction, when preparing to make a left turn at an intersection or driveway, or when reasonably necessary to avoid an accident. If the roadway is a one-way highway with two or more lanes, the cyclist must ride as near the left-hand curb or edge as practicable.
9. People Riding Together
If there are several cyclists riding together, they may not ride more than two abreast, unless there’s a bicycle lane. The two-abreast rule only applies if doing so wouldn’t impede traffic.
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Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.