Bicycling in Florida
Summer is officially here and thus Diane and I find ourselves enjoying the many outdoor activities our wonderful area has to offer. One of those activities is riding our bikes on the many trails and along the waterways in our community. Unfortunately, with all the traffic in the county, it oftentimes can be a potentially hazardous endeavor.
Florida defines a bicycle as a vehicle and the bicyclist as a driver. Thus, bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways as motorists do and have to follow the same traffic laws When I was young- er I had been told that I should ride my bike against traffic so I could see the cars coming at me. However, this is incorrect. Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic, stop at stop signs and red lights, use lights at night, and yield the right-of-way when entering an intersection.
In 2012, Florida’s bicycle regulations were amended to allow for bicycle lights to flash. Addition- ally, a bicycle rider, or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted, fastened securely, and that meets the American National Standards Institute or any other nationally recognized standards for bicycle helmets.
Under Florida Statute 316.2065(5A) it states that any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or drive way.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard width lane.
The statute also states that persons riding bicycles upon a roadway may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, and may not ride two abreast if they are impeding traffic when traveling at less than normal speed of traffic at which time they should ride within a single lane.
Finally, Subsection (10) of that statute states that “A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-ofway to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian”.
Happy riding this summer, follow the rules of the road, and be safe out there!