Bicycles have surged in popularity over the years as a healthier means of transportation. The laws of the road don’t only apply to automobiles though, they apply to bicycle riders as well. To stay safe, it is important for drivers and cyclists to know and understand the laws. Because as Florida bicycle accident attorneys will tell you, as bicycles become more popular the number of accidents will increase.
The Bicycle: Rules, Regulations, and Laws
Under Florida law, bicycles are considered vehicles. This means that as a cyclist, you have the same rights to be on the road as an automobile. This also includes taking the correct safety precautions and follow all the laws that govern the road. These laws include yielding the right-of-way, obeying the stop signs and the traffic lights, following the flow of traffic, using signals, and illuminating yourself at night.
- As a bicycle rider on the road, you must obey all traffic laws established by the state.
- For safety, the bicycle must be equipped with a fixed and regular seat for riding.
- The maximum occupancy of a bicycle is limited to manufacturer specifications.
- There must be at least one hand on the handlebars of the bicycle at all times to maintain control.
- If the bicycle rider is a minor, it is up to the parents of the minor to make sure they are aware and following all of the rules and traffic laws.
- Every bicycle in use must have a brake system that is capable of stopping the bike within a distance of 25 feet as measured on a scale of 10 mph on pavement that is clean, dry, and level ground.
When sharing the road with other vehicles and bicycles, it is important to remember that on the road everyone is equal. An automobile is not more important than a bicycle and vice versa. If you do find yourself in an accident with an automobile while riding on a bicycle, get in contact with a Florida bicycle accident attorney for representation.
When riding on a bicycle in traffic, it is the responsibility of the bicycle rider to make sure that they are riding as close to the right-hand side of the road next to the curb. The exceptions to this are when passing someone, avoiding hazards in the road, and when trying to make a left-hand turn.
When making a left-hand turn on a bicycle, the proper procedure is to scan the traffic around you and signal your intent to turn. Move to the center lane and proceed to make the turn when it is safe to do so.
If more than one bicycle is on the road, they cannot ride more than two across. If they begin to impede traffic flow, they need to ride single file.
Florida bicycle riders are required to use hand signals while they are riding on the roadways. These hand signals are like the turn signals that are installed in automobiles.
To properly make a left-hand turn- Using the left hand and arm, extend them horizontally indicating the left side of the bicycle.
To properly make a right-hand turn- Extend the left hand and arm upward.
Another stipulation to riding a bicycle in Florida is illuminating it at night so that you can be seen by drivers of automobiles on the road. Proper illumination must be used between sunset and sunrise.
Florida law requires:
- A lamp on the front of the bicycle that projects white light and can be seen from at least 500 feet away.
- A lamp on the back of the bicycle that projects a red light that can be seen from at least 600 feet away.
- A red reflector on the back of the bicycle that projects light that is visible from at least 600 feet away.
This is the minimum lighting required by law, but it is suggested that if you are riding at night to take every precaution you can and add additional lighting and reflective capability.
It is also illegal for the rider of a bicycle to wear anything that can impair auditory response. Things like headsets, earbuds, and headphones are strictly prohibited while riding a bicycle.
Make sure that you are aware of the consequences of breaking the law while on a bicycle. These laws are in place to keep you and everyone else on the road safe.
Call the Florida Bicycle Accident Attorneys at Burnetti, P.A.
If you find yourself involved in an accident while riding on a bicycle, make sure that you call a law firm that handles bicycle accidents in Florida to represent you and your injury claims. Insurance companies may try to bully you, but with experience and aggressive representation tactics on your side, they will not be able to intimidate you or your case.