Understanding Florida’s Bicycle Laws
By design, Florida is one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published Traffic Safety Facts: 2016 Data, a national pedalcyclist fatality report that analyzes data provided by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). According to this report, “The highest fatality rate million population was in Florida (6.7 fatalities per million residents)…compared to the national percentage of 2.2 percent.”
In Florida, most bicycle accidents caused by:
- Distracted drivers
- Speeding drivers
- Motorists that fail to yield
- Cyclists that fail to yield
- Intoxicated drivers
- Intoxicated cyclists
Cyclists have a legal obligation to follow the same traffic laws that apply to drivers. However, they also need to obey state-specific rules and regulations that apply only to bicycle riders. While it’s impossible to control the actions of others, a bicyclist may be able to avoid an accident by riding defensively and following the regulations listed in the 2018 Florida Statutes.
Per the Bicycle Regulations included in Florida Statutes Section 316.2066, a bicyclist is legally required to:
- Wear a properly-fitted helmet if they are under the age of 16.
- Obey all traffic controls and signals.
- Equip brakes that can stop a bike “within 25 feet from a speed of 10 mph” on level pavement.
- Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
- Operate a bicycle with a fixed saddle.
- Equip lamps and reflectors on their bike if they plan to ride between sunset and sunrise.
- Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when riding on the roadway.
- Provide an audible signal when overtaking a pedestrian.
- Use a bicycle lane if one is available, especially when riding slower than the speed of traffic.
- Travel at the same speed of traffic and ride as close to the right-hand edge of the roadway.
- Refrain from wearing headphones, headsets, or other listening devices (except hearing aids).
It’s also illegal for a bicyclist to carry “more persons at one time than the number for which the bicycle is designed.” The only exception to this policy is if a rider is carrying a child who is under the age of 4 or weighs 40 lbs. or less. After all, a bicycle can easily tip over if it’s carrying too many riders.
Law enforcement officials have the authority to cite bicyclists for moving and non-moving violations. The purpose of these citations is to enforce the law, prevent potential accidents, and ultimately protect the lives of bicyclists. A careless or uninformed bicyclist can face the following civil penalties for disobeying the law:
- Moving Violations – $52
- Non-moving violations – $32
- Violations of Chapter 316 (for bicyclists 14 years old or younger) – $17
There may be other laws that are specific to your area, so it’s important to do your research before taking a ride. If you aren’t certain about your rights, you can try contacting your local law enforcement agency for more information.
Retain Effective & Compassionate Representation
Unfortunately, a bicyclist can follow every law and still be injured by the actions of a negligent motorist. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the bicycle accident lawyers at The Pittman Firm, P.A. Our compassionate and experienced legal team can investigate your case, negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company on your behalf, and skillfully represent your interests both in and out of the courtroom.
We’re available 24/7. Contact The Pittman Firm, P.A. (850) 764-0383 to schedule a consultation today.