More people are now enjoying bicycling, and here are some helpful tips on Florida laws specific to bicyclists. Even if you are not a bicyclist, you should know these laws and safely share the road with bicyclists.
Florida law considers bicyclists riding on roads as vehicles, just like a car, and bicyclists are required by law to follow many of the same rules as motorized traffic, including riding with the flow of traffic rather than against it. Bicyclists must follow all traffic control devices, including traffic signal lights, stop signs, and roadway signs.
If a bike lane exists on a road, a bicyclist must use the bike lane if going less than the speed of other traffic. If no bike lane exists, the bicyclist should stay as close as practical to the right except when passing another bicyclist or vehicle, preparing to make a left turn, avoiding a hazard, or when the lane is too narrow for both a bike and a car. Left turns can be handled a number of ways for cyclists under Florida law. Bicycles are entitled to use a left turn lane — but please check to make sure crossing to the turn lane is safe from oncoming traffic and please signal the intent to turn.
Cyclists cannot ride more than two abreast except on paths or on parts of roads set aside for bicyclists. Bicyclists riding two abreast cannot impede traffic when going at less than the normal speed of traffic. The number of people on a bike cannot exceed the number of seats on the bike.
Some cities have local laws or ordinances concerning riding on sidewalks, especially in downtown areas, and when there is a safe alternative to riding on a sidewalk the bicyclist should choose the safe alternative. Sidewalks are not designed for the speed of bicycle riders in relation to walkers. Bicyclists are required to yield to pedestrians and to always give an audible warning when approaching and encountering a pedestrian.
Required bicycle equipment includes front and back lights that must illuminate for all riding between sunset and sunrise. More than half of Florida’s bike fatalities occur at night. Bicyclists cannot wear headsets, headphones, or listening devices, other than hearing aids. It is critical that bicyclists hear traffic sounds, including traffic horns and emergency vehicle sirens.
Riders under the age of 16 are required to wear a properly fitted helmet. Helmets are also strongly recommended for adults. Helmets can prevent brain injuries that can cause a lifetime of devastating issues for the bicyclist and for his or her family.
The cases we’ve handled for injured bicyclists often occur when cars are exiting driveways, businesses, and side streets. There may be an obstruction such as a row of bushes that prevents the motorist from seeing oncoming traffic, so the motorist pulls across the path of the oncoming bicyclist that is often approaching on a sidewalk. When bicyclists travel against the flow of oncoming traffic, the motorist exiting a driveway or business to turn right may look only to the left for oncoming traffic and never see the oncoming bicyclist resulting in another bad collision between the bicyclist and the motor vehicle. When these impacts occur, the bicyclist always loses.
For more information, see https://floridabicycle.org/bicycle-traffic-law/ and here is a thorough guide for bicyclists and for all of us sharing the road with bicyclists:
https://jsteelelaw.com/wp-content/themes/akita-child/assets/pdfs/fl-bikelaws_2012.pdf. Here is the link to the City of Orlando bicycle ordinance that prohibits bicycle riding on sidewalks in areas “where prohibited by clearly visible signs or markings”:
Check the city ordinances where you ride concerning bicycling on sidewalks.
Bicycle and pedestrian accidents usually result in significant injuries.
Your claim requires fast action to obtain photographs and witness statements. There are special statutes and rules for bicyclists and for motor vehicles who encounter bicyclists and pedestrians.
There are also special statutes requiring up front insurance payments for your medical bills and income loss due to these accidents.
You need an attorney who knows these rules and has experience with bicycle and pedestrian accident cases.
Call us. We’re here to help.
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Winter Park, FL 32789
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My first job after law school was with the Public Defender’s office in Sanford and then in Orlando. I was in court every week the five years I was an assistant Public Defender. Some of the best trial lawyers get their start as assistant Public Defenders. You learn trial skills, effective communicating, and you develop your reputation in the legal community. The downside is as you become better and better as a Public Defender, you are called upon to represent those accused of more serious and heinous crimes…
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