The state of Florida considers bicycles as vehicles and the cyclists as drivers. As such, cyclists must abide by the same traffic laws to which drivers are subject. It’s important to know your state’s bicycle laws not only to avoid citation, but also to prevent accidents.
General Overview of Important Bicycle Laws in Fort Lauderdale
Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes covers bicycle laws. It’s a good idea to read over the statutes yourself to ensure you fully understand your responsibilities.
Below are some of the key rules you’ll need to know.
- Bicycle regulations: Your bike must meet certain basic specs. For instance, you have to have an affixed seat for riding and sufficient brakes, you cannot ride with someone else on the bike if it’s not a tandem bike (no sitting on handlebars or pegs), and you have to have at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
- Sidewalks: You have the same rights and duties that pedestrians have on sidewalks. Also, you have the responsibility to yield right of way to pedestrians.
- Lighting: If riding in the dark, you must have a front white light on your bike, as well as a red reflector and a lamp on the back.
- Position on the road: You are permitted to ride two abreast when riding bicycles on the road (so long as you don’t impede traffic), but no more. If there’s a bike path, you must use it. If there’s not, you have to ride as close as feasible to the right-hand edge of the road. If it’s a one-way street, you should ride as close to the left-hand edge as practicable.
- Signals: You must signal your turns the last 100 feet traveled before turning, unless you need both hands to maneuver your bike.
- Music: You may not wear an mp3 player or wear a headset when riding. It can block out important cues to detect traffic.
Learn the Rules of the Road
If you don’t abide by the rules of the road, you could be subject to civil penalties, and you could be liable should you cause an accident.
In addition to reading Florida’s bicycle statutes, you can look into attending a bicycle safety course in your area. You can start by visiting the Safer Routes website and searching for a local course from the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program (FTBSEP).
Chalik & Chalik Bicycle Accident Blog
For more interesting articles for cyclists in Florida, check out our Bicycle Accident Blog at Chalik & Chalik. For legal counsel after a bicycle accident, contact our bicycle injury attorneys at 855-529-0269.