As temperatures in the Tampa Bay area have finally started to cool down a bit, I try to get out of my office where I work as a personal injury attorney in Trinity, Florida and enjoy the many outdoor activities this beautiful area has to offer. One of these activities is riding our bikes along the many trails and roadways in our community.
Unfortunately, with all the motor vehicle traffic in the area, it can be a dangerous journey.
Florida has a number of laws regarding bicycles which are designed to keep cyclists safe. It’s important that cyclists know and obey these laws, because motor vehicle drivers expect cyclists to follow these laws. If you as a cyclist surprise a driver by doing something unexpected and illegal, the consequences could be deadly.
Legally, A Bicycle is a Vehicle
The State of Florida defines a bicycle as a vehicle and the bicyclist as a driver. This means cyclists have
the same rights to the roadways as motorists do and have to follow the same traffic laws
When I was a kid, I was told I should ride my bike towards traffic so I could see the cars coming at me. However, this is incorrect. Bicyclists must ride with the flow of traffic, stop at red lights and stop signs, use lights at night, and yield the right-of-way when entering an intersection just like a car.
One difference between a car and a bicycle in Florida is, bicycles are allowed to be ridden on sidewalks. However, the law states cyclists “shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.”
Bicycle Lane Law
Florida Statute 316.2065(5A) states that any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at
less than normal speed of traffic shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practical to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
- When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or drive way.
- 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 they may not ride two abreast if they are impeding traffic when traveling at less than normal speed of traffic. If two abreast would impede traffic, they must ride single file.
Recent Florida Bicycle Law Changes
In 2012, Florida’s bicycle regulations were amended to allow for bicycle lights to flash. Additionally, 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.
If you should find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being involved in an accident with a bicycle – whether the motor vehicle driver or the cyclist – as a New Port Richey motor vehicle accident attorney, I and my team are here to help you navigate the legal obstacles and get the compensation you deserve.
Happy riding, follow the rules of the road, and be safe out there!