Mark Roman | June 15, 2022 | Bicycle Accidents
Bicyclists are particularly at risk of injury in traffic accidents. As a bicyclist, you should know and obey all of the bicycle laws in Florida. Although all of the laws are important, some are more relevant than others.
Bicycles Are Classified as Vehicles
Under Florida law, bicycles are considered vehicles. This means bicyclists have to obey the same traffic laws that cars do, including coming to a full stop at stop signs and signaling when turning.
Failure to obey traffic rules subjects bicyclists to similar penalties as motorists and can also cause serious injuries, as was the case with a bicycle accident in Largo in April of 2022. A bicyclist was taken to the hospital after failing to stop for eastbound traffic. A truck hit the bicyclist, resulting in life-threatening injuries.
Riding to the Right or Left
Bicyclists are to ride as close to the right-lane curb as is practicable. However, this rule is to be disregarded in passing situations, while making a left turn, when moving at the speed of traffic, or to avoid a hazardous object or situation up ahead.
On a one-way street with two or more lanes, bicyclists must ride as close to the left curb as they can.
Riding Two Abreast
Bicyclists may ride two abreast but must do so within the same lane. Additionally, while riding two abreast, the riders must not impede traffic. At no time are bicyclists allowed to ride more than two abreast except on designated bike lanes and paths.
Signaling is one of the most important forms of communication in traffic. Bicyclists are required to use their hands for left and right turns.
Within 100 feet of the turn, the left arm and hand must fully extend to the left when making a left turn and point upward when turning right. Right-hand turns can also be signaled with a full extension of the right arm and hand to the right side.
Bicyclists must have fully functional lighting turned on after the sun goes down. Additionally, bicyclists are required to use their lights when encountering inclement weather, such as rain and fog.
Light placement must be as follows:
- A front lamp capable of projecting white light at least 500 feet
- A rear lamp capable of projecting red light at least 600 feet
- A rear red reflector perceivable from a minimum of 600 feet away
Bicycles may also be equipped with additional lighting.
Yes, bicycles are considered vehicles under the vehicle code. However, they get a pass when it comes to sidewalks and may legally transit them. There are some rules they must abide by, though.
Bicyclists are required to yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk, and they must verbally communicate to pedestrians their intention to turn or to stop. This is in addition to using the appropriate hand turning signals.
Headphones and Riding
A good soundtrack would definitely add to the bicycle-riding experience. However, tuning out the world while in traffic is dangerous and not permitted. Florida law bans bicyclists from using any listening devices while on the road. A hearing device is an exception, as is a cell phone headset.
Location-specific rules may be more restrictive than the state vehicle code. Bicyclists might find that some municipalities prohibit bicycles from riding on the sidewalk. Others may require bicyclists to remain in the bicycle lane and never use the roadway in certain areas.
To prevent running afoul of local regulations, bicyclists can do a little research into the bicycle laws of the places they intend on riding.
Obeying the bicycle laws of the road makes you safer, but it does not guarantee you will never have a bicycle accident. If you’ve been injured in one, contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling bicycle accident cases. You may have a valid bicycle injury claim for compensation.
Contact the Clearwater Bicycle Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a bicycle accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have five convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655