Florida Bicycle LawsRequest Free Consultation
Before you ride a bicycle in Florida, you should brush up on the state’s bicycle laws to make sure you have everything you need, such as all of the required bicycle equipment and gear. Reviewing Florida’s bicycle laws can also help you understand who was in the wrong and who may be held financially responsible for a bicycle accident if you get injured in this type of collision in Tampa.
A Bicyclist’s Right to the Road
The Florida Statutes, Section 316.2065, states that every person on a human-propelled vehicle (e.g., a bicycle or pedalcycle) has all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle, with some exceptions for special regulations and rules that don’t apply to human-propelled vehicles based on their nature.
In other words, bicyclists in Florida have the right to ride on the road. Motor vehicle drivers must show due respect to bicyclists, even when they are traveling slower than surrounding traffic; in fact, they should be extra cautious around bikers, as they are vulnerable road users. This means they are more susceptible to serious injury and death in an automotive accident.
Motor vehicle drivers are required to leave at least three feet of clearance when following or passing bicyclists to prevent collisions. They should also pay special attention when parked near the road or a bicycle lane before opening their doors, as this poses a risk of dooring – hitting an oncoming biker with the door of the car and causing an accident.
Just as bicyclists in Florida have all the same rights as motor vehicle drivers, they also have the same responsibilities. They must obey most of the same laws and regulations. For example, bicyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic when riding on the road. They may ride two abreast of one another, but not with motor vehicles.
Cyclists should remain as close to the right-hand side of the road as is practicable, except when making a left-hand turn or passing someone. If a bike lane has been provided and is available, bicyclists are required to utilize these lanes.
All cyclists must yield the right-of-way to others at stop signs and red lights. They must come to complete stops at intersections and yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians. When changing lanes, turning or coming to a stop, bicyclists must look behind them, use the appropriate hand signal to express their intentions to others and yield to traffic present.
Florida Bicycle Helmet Requirements
Helmets are only required for bicyclists under the age of 16 in Florida. If a child who is 15 years old or younger is riding a bike, he or she must do so with a properly fastened and approved safety helmet. Although bicyclists 16 and older do not legally have to wear helmets in Florida, it is strongly recommended, as helmets drastically reduce the risk of serious and fatal brain injuries in bicycle accidents.
Required Bicycle Equipment
All bicycles in Florida must be equipped with brakes that allow the bicycle to stop within 25 feet on dry, level and clean pavement when traveling at a speed of 10 miles per hour. If a cyclist is riding at night, the bicycle must be equipped with a white front lamp that is visible from at least 500 feet to the front and a rear red lamp or reflector that is visible from 600 feet to the rear. A bicyclist cannot carry a passenger unless the bicycle is designed to do so.
Insurance is not required to ride a bicycle in Florida. If a bicyclist gets hit by a motor vehicle, the at-fault driver will pay for the damage with his or her auto liability coverage. If the bicyclist is at fault, his or her health insurance may have to cover the losses, depending on the situation. If you or a loved one was recently injured in a bike accident in Tampa, Florida, contact a Tampa bicycle accident lawyer at Vanguard Attorneys to learn more about how to collect compensation.