SAFETY RULES AND LAWS
According to Florida law, a bicycle is classified as a vehicle and a bicyclist has similar rights to the road as a motorist, except for the special regulations for bicycles. With this right to share the road, comes the requirement for bicyclists to follow the traffic rules common to all drivers. When drivers, including bicyclists, follow traffic rules, then other drivers of the road can better predict their movements and behavior. This creates a safe bicycling environment where bicyclists and motorists can safely share the road. For more information on Florida Bicycle Laws, visit the Florida Department of Transportation’s Bicycle Safety Program. You may also request a copy of the Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide from the Bicycle Coordinator at 305-673-7080.
Legal status of bicycles
(Sections 316.003(2), (10) and 316.2065(1), F.S.)
A bicycle is classified as a vehicle. A person in control of a vehicle on a street or highway is a driver. As a driver, a cyclist must follow the traffic rules common to all drivers. As the driver of a bicycle, he must also obey regulations adopted specially for bicycles. A person riding a bicycle has all the rights applicable to any driver, except as to special regulations for bicycles.
Definition of "Bicycle"
(Section 316.003(2), F.S.)
Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or a similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.
Driving on right side of roadway
(Section 316.081, F.S.)
Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven on the right half of the roadway.
Equipment requirements and carriage of passengers
(Section 316.2065(2), (3), (7), (8), and (14), 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.
A bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted, fastened securely, and meets a nationally recognized standard.
Bicyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
An adult bicyclist may carry a child in a backpack or sling, child seat or trailer designed to carry children.
A bicyclist may not allow a passenger to remain in a child seat or carrier when not in immediate control of the bicycle.
At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.
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.
(Section 316.2065(10) and (11), F.S.)
A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.
A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
(Section 316.2065(5) and (6), F.S.)
Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway, except under any of the following situations:
when passing another bicycle or [other] vehicle proceeding in the same direction
when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway
when reasonably necessary to avoid any hazardous condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this subsection, a "substandard-width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
A bicyclist operating on a one-way highway 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 traffic flow.
Driving on a shared-use path or sidewalk
(Section 316.1995, F.S.)
No person shall drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.
Obedience to traffic control devices
(Section 316.074, F.S.)
The driver of any vehicle shall obey the instructions of any applicable official traffic control device.
Overtaking and passing a vehicle
(Section 316.083, F.S.)
The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle.
Not to stand or park a vehicle in a bicycle lane
(Section 316.1945(1)(b)6, F.S.)
Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall stand or park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, in a bicycle lane, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers.
Opening doors of motor vehicles
(Section 316.2005, F.S.)
No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonable safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.