Bicycle Safety

Florida State Bicycle Laws

In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways; they must obey the same traffic laws as the operators of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway.

With few exceptions, there is only one road and it is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Strict adherence to the law is the foundation for this respect.

Traffic Law Highlights

Bicycle Regulations (Section 316.2065, F.S.)

A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals.

A bicyclist must use a fixed, regular seat for driving.

No bicycle may be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped, except that adults may carry children in a backpack.

At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.

Helmets (Section 316.2065(3)(d), F.S.)

A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and fastened securely upon the passenger's head by a strap.

Parents and guardians must not knowingly allow a child or minor to violate any provision of this section.

Equipment (Section 316.2065 (14), F.S.)

Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

Sidewalk Riding (Section 316.2065, F.S.)

When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.

A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.

Lighting (Section 316.2065, F.S.)

A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.

Additional lighting is permitted and recommended.

Roadway Position (Section 316.2065, F.S.)

A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed of other traffic, must ride as closely as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road when passing, making a left turn to avoid hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to share it safely.

A bicyclist operating on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes may ride as close to the left hand edge of the roadway as practicable.

Riding in single file is required except on bike paths or parts of roadways, set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, or when two people riding side-by-side within one lane will not impede on traffic flow.

Left Turns (Section 316.151(1)(b)(c), F.S.)

A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling, and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must check the signal, then proceed when it is green and safe to do so.

In addition, to the normal vehicle left turn, a bicyclist may proceed through the right-most portion of the intersection and turn as close to the curb or edge as possible at the far side. After complying with any official traffic control device, the bicyclist may proceed in the new direction of travel.

Another option available to a bicyclist is to dismount and walk through the intersection in the crosswalk like a pedestrian.

Signaling Turns ( Section 316.155(2) and 316.157(2), F.S.)

A signal of intention to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. If a bicyclist needs both hands for control, the signal need to be given continuously.

A bicyclist may signal intent to turn right either by extending the left hand and arm upward or by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.

Headsets (Section 316.304, F.S.)

A bicyclist must not wear a headset, headphone, or other listening devices other than a hearing aid when riding. Wearing a headset blocks out important audio cues to detect the presence of other traffic.

Why Wear a Helmet?

It's the Law. There are many good reasons to wear a helmet besides the most important one-that of preventing head injuries:

Visibility: It is easier to see someone wearing a bright colored headpiece especially at dusk, in rain or fog, or after dark. Putting retro-reflective trim tape on the helmet makes you even more visible.

Emergency Data: If you have a medical emergency condition, you can put information on a piece of tape inside the brim of your helmet. Also tape a quarter inside for an emergency phone call.

Climate Protection: A helmet will help keep your head dry in the rain. If you do have to cycle in bad weather, this will help to make your riding much more enjoyable.

Image: When you wear a helmet, motorists will expect you to ride correctly, since you will look like you know what you are doing.

Bicycle Safety Tips

Ride With Traffic: Wrong way riders get hit by cars. One out of every five accidents is caused by wrong way riding. The law in all 50 states requires bicyclists to go with the flow of traffic.

Look Before You Ride Out of the Driveway: This is a cold truth: almost half of the young children killed on bicycles die when they ride out of a driveway without first stopping or looking. Stop at the end of the driveway. Look both ways for traffic. Go when it is safe.

Check for Traffic Before You Make a Turn: Many children do not look for traffic before they turn left or right, or turn around. Always look back, signal, check for traffic before you make any turn. Otherwise, you may get hit!

Stop Signs Mean Stop: It is hard for children to judge the speed and distance of an oncoming car. Often adults ignore the law and run stop signs, too. Children will follow the examples of adults, and will not obey the law unless adults do. Please STOP at all signs, and look for traffic before proceeding.

Bicycle fatality statistics

Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes.

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation*s Fatal Accident Reporting System (figures are from 1995):

825 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles in 1995, higher than in 1994 but down 18% since 1975.35% of bicycle deaths occurred at intersections.

Bicycle deaths are most likely to occur in summer. The peak time is 3 - 6 p.m.

94% of bicyclists killed reportedly weren't wearing helmets.

34% of bicycle deaths were riders younger than 16.

Four states (California, Florida, New York, and Texas) accounted for 46% of bicycle deaths.

More bicyclists were killed in urban areas (64%) than in rural areas (33%).

52% of bicycle deaths occurred on major roads, and 37% occurred on local roads.

As of January 1, 1997, Children in Florida Under Age 16 Must Wear a Bicycle Helmet That:

Is Properly Fitted

Make sure the helmet fits snugly on the head and doesn't slip around!

Is Fastened With a Strap

The helmet won't work if it comes off your head. Use the strap and wer the helmet in the correct position.

Meets Safety Standards

Before you buy a helmet, look inside for the sticker that says it meets the safety standards of ANSI (Z90.4), Snell Memorial Foundation (1984), or Consumer Product Safety Commission (1997).

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