Bicycle Riders and Florida Traffic Laws

In Florida, like almost everywhere else, bicycle riders have the right to use the same roads that cars and trucks travel on, but they also have the responsibility to follow all of the same traffic laws. They must obey all signs and traffic signals in addition to riding with the regular flow of vehicular traffic.

Cycle Specific Legislation
In addition to the normal traffic laws, cyclists must also obey the following rules in Florida:

  • use a fixed, regular seat for riding
  • at least one hand must be on the handlebars at all times
  • a bicycle must not carry more than the number of riders it was designed to carry
  • a bicycle must have brakes capable of stopping within 25 feet when traveling at 10 mph on dry, level pavement
  • for night riding, a bicycle must have a white light visible for 500 feet in the front and a red light visible for 600 feet in the back
  • cyclists should not ride more than two abreast when sharing the roadway with vehicular traffic
  • if riding two abreast, cyclists should not restrict the regular flow of traffic
  • a cyclist can’t wear a headset or headphones while riding (hearing aids are an exception)

Don’t Impede Traffic
Florida law also states that a cyclist should ride as far to the right as is practical. That does not mean that they need to hug the edge of the road, but that they should ride a few feet from the edge. This allows other vehicles room to pass them while allowing the bicycle rider adequate visibility. If the traffic lane is not wide enough to safely allow a car and bicycle to travel side-by-side, the cyclist is allowed to move further to the left and occupy the entire lane. Florida considers any lane less than fourteen feet wide to be too narrow for a car and bicycle to safely share. For one-way roads, the bicycle rider is allowed to ride in the left lane, and they are allowed to move to the left to make left-hand turns.

Car and truck drivers should remember that a cyclist can only be considered to be impeding traffic if they are traveling in a lane large enough to allow cars and bicycles to ride along side of one another. It is also not considered to be impeding traffic if a larger vehicle has to momentarily slow down to pass a bicycle or if the bicycle is traveling at or near the posted speed.

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