[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Passing laws: Florida requires that in the event a motor vehicle passes a bicycle it shall leave a safe distance, not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle.
Helmet law: Florida requires the operator or passenger of a bicycle under the age of 16 to wear a helmet. However, the failure to do so shall not be considered contributory negligence on the part of the cyclist.
Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: There are certain laws entitled “vulnerable user laws.” These laws, in essence, require the vehicle least at risk to yield to the vehicle most at risk. For example, a motor vehicle would have to yield to a bicycle and a bicycle would have to yield to a pedestrian. Florida does not have any specific vulnerable laws.
Distracted Driving Laws: As almost every bicyclist knows, distracted driving creates one of the most dangerous risks to a bicycle on a public road way. Every state has varying laws to attempt to reduce the amount of distracted driving that exist. Nonetheless, it still presents a serious problem.
In Florida there have been laws passed to attempt to reduce distracted driving by punishing violators. Here is a summary of the present laws. There will be links at the end of this article to the specific laws in full detail.
1. No person shall use a television type of video equipment that is visible to the driver of a motor vehicle; and
2. No person shall operate a motor vehicle while utilizing a headset, headphone or other type of listening device, except for a hearing aid used to enhance the sound around the driver.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking, Florida law requires the bicyclist to be as close to the right hand edge of the road as possible. However there are some important exceptions that I will outline below:
- When passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
- When preparing to take a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
- When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions such as riding in a lane that is too narrow; and
- When a bike lane is available.
Sidewalk Riding: The general rule in Florida is that you are permitted to ride on sidewalks. However, there are certain rules and exceptions that must be followed. You may ride on a sidewalk subject to the following:
- You must yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian;
- You have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same; and
- If there is a bicycle lane available a bicyclist MUST use that lane.
Riding a Bike Under the Influence: Florida’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so bicycles are considered vehicles. Accordingly, the laws are applicable to bicyclists as well.
Stop Sign Laws: Generally, in Florida bicycles have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles regarding the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
Important Resources and Links
State Laws Regarding Bicycles, click here.
Good Overview of Florida Bike Laws and Resources, click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]