In Florida bicycles are defined by law as vehicles. As such, bicyclists have the same roadway rights and responsibilities as the operators of any other vehicle. The basic concept to remember when cycling or as a motorist is that we must share the road. If bicyclists and motorists treat each other with respect then all road users will benefit.
Almost 75% of all cycling deaths are caused by head injuries. Each year thousands of serious head injuries could be prevented if all cyclists wore bike helmets. Although not required by law (unless you are under the age of 16) the Sheriff’s Office strongly recommends you wear an approved bicycle helmet.
Riding while intoxicated is extremely dangerous. Intoxication causes delayed reaction time and blurred vision. Additionally, you can be arrested for operating a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The sections below summarize important rules of the road. For more information, please see the complete Florida Statute Section cited.
General Bicycle Regulations – Section 316.2065
- A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals including stop signs and stop lights.
- No bicycle may be used to carry more people at one time than the number for which it is made.
- At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.
Lighting – Section 316.2065
- A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a light on the front that is visible from 500 feet and both a rear reflector and a red light on the rear visible from 600 feet.
- Additional lighting is permitted and recommended.
Roadway Position – Section 316.2065
- A bicyclist must ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the road. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road in the following situations: when passing, making a left turn, to avoid hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for bicycle and car to share it safely.
- Riding in single fi le is required except on sidewalks or when two people riding side-by-side within one lane will not impede traffic.
- A cyclist does NOT have to stay right: “When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.”
– FDOT has determined that 14ft is the minimum width which allows most motor vehicles to pass cyclists within the travel lane.
– If the cyclist feels that the typical traffic on the roadway cannot pass within the lane while maintaining a three foot buffer, the bicyclist is permitted to use the entire lane.
– When using the entire lane the bicyclist should consider speed limits, traffic congestion and traffic flow so as not to create an unreasonable obstruction of traffic that could create a safety hazard for motorists or the bicyclist.
– Bicycle drivers are not required to keep right, and are encouraged, for their safety, to occupy enough lane that motorists recognize they must change lanes to pass. By riding this way, cyclists can avoid road hazards, operate more predictably, encourage overtaking motorists to pass safely and discourage common motorist mistakes that result in crashes.
Sidewalk Riding – Section 316.2065
- When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
- A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, and must give an audible signal before passing.
Signaling Turns – Sub-Section 316.155(2) and 316.157(2)
- A bicyclist may signal intent or turn right either by extending the left hand and arm upward or by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.
Headsets – Sub-Section 316.304
- A bicyclist must not wear a headset, headphone, or other listening device other than a hearing aid when riding. Wearing a headset blocks out important audio cues needed to detect the presence of other traffic.