Be sure to remember that a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle in the state of Florida.
Therefore, bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as other vehicle drivers. We have broken down traffic statutes down into bite-sized pieces below to further your understanding of bicycle safety and laws.
Fla. Stat. § 316.2065
General Rules to Keep in Mind
- Obey all traffic controls and signals. For example, stop at stop signs and red lights.
- Do not ride above the speed limit.
- The seat-to-people ratio must be 1:1. If there is only one designated seat, two people cannot share it.
- Keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
- The breaks must be in working condition.
- If under the age of 16, the bicyclist must wear a properly fastened helmet.
- Bicyclists and Pedestrians are entitled to the same rights and are responsible for the same duties.
- In addition to an audible signal, bicyclists must yield right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Use lights at night. Have a white light in both the front and back as well as a red light in the rear.
On the Road
- If not traveling the same speed as ongoing traffic, ride in the marked lane.
- Ride as close to the right side curb as possible or to the side of the road. Exceptions include turning left, evading hazards, narrow roads, etc. If it is not possible to be all the way to the right, ride to the far left of the road.
- Do not ride side-by-side with other bicyclists unless there is an exclusive part of the road or sidewalk designated for bicyclists.
- Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it.
- Yield the right-of-way when entering a roadway.
Fla. Stat. § 316.151 (1)(b)(c)
- Bicyclists are entitled to the entire lane if making a left turn. Just be sure to signal and move to the center of the lane of the extreme left lane.
- If turning right, indicate a signal and ride as close to the curb as possible
Fla. Stat. § 316.155 (2) and Fla. Stat. § 316.157 (2)
- A signal must be given during the last 100 feet traveled before making a turn.
- Signals to turn right include extending the left hand and arm upward or by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side.
- For decreasing speed, extend hand and arm downward.
- Do not use both hands when signaling a turn.
Fla. Stat. § 316.304
- Do not wear a headset, headphone, or other listening device other than a hearing aid when biking. This is because these devices often distract the rider from important noise indications in traffic.
Fla. Stat. § 318.18 (1), (2), and (3)
- Bicyclists may be subject to monetary penalties of the following:
- Non-moving violations such as improper or lack of required lighting when riding at night, improper breaks, etc. Penalty: $30
- Moving violations such as running a stop sign or red light or riding against the flow of traffic. Penalty varies from $25 to as much as $250.
Keep in mind that some counties and towns may have additional registration and licensing ordinances. For example, a city ordinance may prohibit sidewalk riding altogether while another may not. To learn more about local ordinances, talk to a local law enforcement agent.