Bicyclists – Know The Law And Stay Alive
As an experienced accident attorney, I have seen my share of tragic bicycle accidents-many of which could have been prevented. It is vital for motor vehicle operators, bicyclists, children, and parents of child cyclists to know the law about bicycles and save lives. Here is the information and laws that may just save your or your child’s life.
A bike is a vehicle under Florida law, so bicyclists are accountable for traffic laws like cars and trucks. This means that all bicyclists must:
- come to a complete stop at stop signs;
- obey traffic lights;
- ride with the flow of traffic; and
- comply with DUI laws-no drinking and riding.
Violation of a bicycle law is considered a noncriminal traffic infraction and may result in a verbal warning, a fine, community service, or a court-mandated safety seminar.
Law Enforcement may issue a traffic citation to a bicyclist on a bike path or road but may not cite someone on private property that is not open to public use by vehicles.
Familiarize yourself with these key Florida laws (F.S. 316.2065(2008)):
- A person under 16 years of age must wear a properly fitted helmet.
- A bike must have a permanent, attached seat.
- A bike may not carry more people for which it was designed or equipped.
- A bike must have brakes that allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.
- A bicyclist must keep at least one hand on the handle bars at all times.
- Use appropriate hand signals to communicate with surrounding traffic at least 100 feet before turning. (F.S. 316.151-157(2008))
- When riding between sunset and sunrise a bike must have a front lamp with white light (visible for at least 500 ft) and a reflector on the rear with red light (visible for at least 600 ft).
- When riding on a roadway, bicyclists may not ride more than “two abreast” and may not impede traffic.
- Cyclists must yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal when overtaking and passing a pedestrian on a sidewalk or roadway.
- A bicyclist may not wear headphones, headsets, or other listening devices while riding, excluding hearing aids and hands-free cell phones. (F.S. 316.304(2008))
Bicyclists are not only subject to Florida traffic laws, but each city, municipality, or county may impose additional rules. Check with your area’s code of ordinances. The City of Gainesville requires the following:
- A bike must be equipped with a bell and the cyclist must operate a bell to signal and warn pedestrians when overtaking and passing.
- A bike must yield to pedestrians.
- A person may ride a bike on the sidewalk, unless prohibited by a traffic control device (a sign).
- A bike may be parked and secured anywhere it does not obstruct the flow of pedestrian or vehicle traffic for up to 72 hours, as long as it is not prohibited.
For More Information:
- Child Cyclists and Motor Vehicles – Safety Tips to Save a Child’s Life
- Avoiding a Bicycle Accident – Adult Safety Tips
- Florida Statutes: F.S. 316.2065(2008)
- City of Gainesville Code of Ordinances: Chapter 26, Article V
- Florida Bicycle Traffic Law
- Bicyclist, 6, Survives Fedex Tractor Trailor Crash
We at Meldon Law strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
We are experienced personal injury attorneys, trial lawyers, negotiators, litigators, paralegals, and staff that have been proudly working to get accident victims the justice they deserve for over 40 years in Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, Inverness, and the rest of North Central Florida and North Florida. Accidents involving a car crash, truck wreck, and motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and criminal defense are all included in our practice.
Based on Jeffrey Meldon’s, founder of Meldon Law, over 40 years of helping accident victims get justice and a fair shake from the insurance companies, he has written the consumer guide book, Seven Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. You can request your free, no obligation copy right now, or contact our office for your complimentary copy sent to you today.
Contact Meldon Law at 800-373-8000 immediately if you have been involved in a serious auto, truck, or motorcycle accident. We are in your community, have the experience and resources required to work towards obtaining a fair settlement for you – we are here to help you.