A Comprehensive Guide to Florida’s Bicycle Regulations
Over 7,800 bicycle crashes occurred in Florida in 2016! And because access to riding bicycles is so easy, we often forget that there are rules and regulations for riding. We, at Kaire & Heffernan LLC, have created this easy-to-read guide to not only provide you with the knowledge you need when riding your bike, but also to hopefully prevent many crashes in the near future.
All Florida bicycle regulations can be found in the 2016 Florida Statutes under chapter 316, section 2065. For clarification purposes, anytime a roadway is mentioned in this article, it refers to the part of a road intended for vehicles, in contrast to a sidewalk or median.
(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
- If you are riding your bike, roller skating, skateboarding (or anything else that requires human force to move it), you are to abide by the same laws as the driver of any other vehicle discussed in the following laws. However, there are exceptions, which will be explained later on.
(2) A person operating a bicycle may not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
- You are only permitted to ride your bike if you’re sitting on the seat.
Bicycle Passenger Laws:
(3)(a) A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped, except that an adult rider may carry a child securely attached to his or her person in a backpack or sling.
- You are allowed to have a passenger on your bike if and only if the bike was created for more than one person to ride or if you are an adult that has a child securely attached in a backpack or sling.
- Example: Riding on the same bike as your friend is permitted if there are two seats. If there’s only one seat available, you cannot share the bike.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (a), a bicycle rider must carry any passenger who is a child under 4 years of age, or who weighs 40 pounds or less, in a seat or carrier that is designed to carry a child of that age or size and that secures and protects the child from the moving parts of the bicycle.
- If your child is under 4 years old or weighs 40 pounds or less, the child must be carried in a seat or carrier that is designed to carry a child of that age or size and that secures and protects your child from all moving parts of the bike.
- Example: If your child is too small to ride the bike with you, get a carrier or cart to put your child in and attach it to your bike. The cart protects the child from the bicycle spokes, pedals, and wheels (as well as the sun).
(c) A bicycle rider may not allow a passenger to remain in a child seat or carrier on a bicycle when the rider is not in immediate control of the bicycle.
- If you’re not on, near, or riding the bike, your child cannot remain in the child seat or carrier on the bike.
- Example: If you need to go in the store for a few minutes, it’s important that the child is with you or at least outside of the child seat or carrier.
Bike Helmet Use:
(d) A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets, final rule, 16 C.F.R. part 1203. A helmet purchased before October 1, 2012, which meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z 90.4 Bicycle Helmet Standards), the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation (1984 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling), or any other nationally recognized standards for bicycle helmets adopted by the department may continue to be worn by a bicycle rider or passenger until January 1, 2016. As used in this subsection, the term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to a bicycle.
- Bike helmets are required for riders or passengers under 16 years old. The rider or passenger also has to make sure the helmet fits properly and is secured by a strap that meets the federal safety standard for bike helmets.
- If the helmet was purchased before October 1, 2012, it can be worn until January 1, 2016 as long as it meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute, Snell Memorial Foundation, or any other nationally recognized standards for bicycle helmets adopted by the department.
- In this section, “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to a bike.
(e) Law enforcement officers and school crossing guards may issue a bicycle safety brochure and a verbal warning to a bicycle rider or passenger who violates this subsection. A bicycle rider or passenger who violates this subsection may be issued a citation by a law enforcement officer and assessed a fine for a pedestrian violation, as provided in s. 318.18. The court shall dismiss the charge against a bicycle rider or passenger for a first violation of paragraph (d) upon proof of purchase of a bicycle helmet that complies with this subsection.
- A law enforcement official or school crossing guard may give the rider a bicycle safety brochure and verbal warning if there’s a violation. A ticket and fine may also be issued by a law enforcement officer. The fine may be dismissed by the court if there is proof of purchase of a bicycle helmet that complies with the standards given in section (d).
- Example: If you are wearing a bike helmet, but your passenger isn’t, the passenger may be issued a verbal warning, safety brochure, or a ticket with a fine.
(4) No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle may attach the same or himself or herself to any vehicle upon a roadway. This subsection does not prohibit attaching a bicycle trailer or bicycle semitrailer to a bicycle if that trailer or semitrailer is commercially available and has been designed for such attachment.
- Whether you’re riding a bike, a coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle, you may not attach yourself to another vehicle on the road. It may look fun, but it is extremely dangerous.
- You can, however, attach a bicycle trailer or bicycle semitrailer to a bike if that appliance is commercially available and has been designed specifically for bikes.
- Example: Tying a rope around your waist and attaching it to a bicycle while you’re riding a skateboard.
Facts about Bike Lanes:
(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
- If you’re riding a bike slower than the speed of traffic at that moment, use the bike lane. If there isn’t a bike lane, stay as far to the right as possible unless:
1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- You’re passing another bicycle or vehicle going in the same direction.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
- You’re about to make a left turn at an intersection, into a private road, or a driveway.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. 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.
- You need to avoid a crash or accident with a pedestrian, fixed or moving object, another bike, motor vehicle, etc. Also, if the lane you’re in is too narrow for a you and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within that line.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
- If you’re riding a bike on a one-way highway with two or more lanes, ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that highway as possible.
(6) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast may not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing and shall ride within a single lane.
- If riding a bike on the road, only two may ride next to each other (except on paths of parts of the road that exclusively for bicycles). On the road, however, those two riding next to each other may not impede traffic when riding slower than the speed of traffic at that time–otherwise, they must ride within a single lane.
Bike Riding at Night:
(7) Every bicycle in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a lamp and reflector on the rear each exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of 600 feet to the rear. A bicycle or its rider may be equipped with lights or reflectors in addition to those required by this section. A law enforcement officer may issue a bicycle safety brochure and a verbal warning to a bicycle rider who violates this subsection or may issue a citation and assess a fine for a pedestrian violation as provided in s. 318.18. The court shall dismiss the charge against a bicycle rider for a first violation of this subsection upon proof of purchase and installation of the proper lighting equipment.
- If riding between sunset and sunrise, your bike must have a lamp on the front with a visible white light from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front, and a lamp and reflector on the rear with a red light visible from a distance of at least 600 feet to the rear.
- If you want to be extra careful, use additional lights or reflectors.
- A law enforcement officer may issue a bicycle safety brochure and verbal warning to a bike rider in violation of this law. The officer can also issue a citation and fine for the rider as well. Fines can be dismissed against the bicycle rider upon proof of purchase and installation of the proper lighting equipment.
Riding Your Bike on the Sidewalk or Roadway:
(8) No parent of any minor child and no guardian of any minor ward may authorize or knowingly permit any such minor child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this section.
- Parents and guardians of minor children/minor wards are not allowed to authorize or knowingly permit their minor children/minor wards to violate any of these bicycle laws.
(9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.
- Pedestrians and people moving a vehicle by human power upon and along the side or across a roadway share the same rights and duties.
- Example: A bike rider, skateboarder, and pedestrian must follow the same rules, but also have the same rights.
(10) A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
- When riding on the roadway, bike riders are required to yield to the right-of-way of any pedestrian. They must also give an audible signal before overtaking and passing that pedestrian.
- “Overtaking” means catching up and passing while traveling in the same direction.
- Example: If a pedestrian is walking on the street slower than your speed, you must audibly signal to that pedestrian that you will be passing.
(11) No person upon roller skates, or riding in or by means of any coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device, may go upon any roadway except while crossing a street on a crosswalk; and, when so crossing, such person shall be granted all rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to pedestrians.
- People on roller skates, skateboards, a toy vehicle or something similar are not allowed to ride on any roadway unless crossing a street on a crosswalk. Also, while crossing, you are given all rights and subject to all duties applicable to pedestrians.
(12) This section shall not apply upon any street while set aside as a play street authorized herein or as designated by state, county, or municipal authority.
- These laws are not applicable on any street while set aside as a play street, as authorized or designated by state, county or municipal authority.
- Example: Block Parties would be excluded from some of these laws.
(13) Every bicycle shall be equipped with a brake or brakes which will enable its rider to stop the bicycle within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.
- All bikes must have a brake or brakes, which allows its rider to stop the bike within 25 feet from a speed of 10 mph on dry, level, clean pavement.
Bicycle Vendor Laws:
(14) A person engaged in the business of selling bicycles at retail shall not sell any bicycle unless the bicycle has an identifying number permanently stamped or cast on its frame.
- Bicycle vendors may not sell any bicycle unless the bike has an identifying number permanently stamped or cast on its frame.
(15)(a) A person may not knowingly rent or lease any bicycle to be ridden by a child who is under the age of 16 years unless:
1. The child possesses a bicycle helmet; or
2. The lessor (vendor) provides a bicycle helmet for the child to wear.
(b) A violation of this subsection is a nonmoving violation, punishable as provided in s. 318.18.
- Any bike vendors that do not follow this law will be punished in accordance to this law: (318.18) In addition to any penalties imposed, an administrative fee of $12.50 must be paid for all noncriminal moving and nonmoving violations under chapters 316–this law, 320, and 322. Revenue from the administrative fee shall be deposited by the clerk of court into the fine and forfeiture fund established pursuant to s. 142.01.
(16) The court may waive, reduce, or suspend payment of any fine imposed under subsection (3) or subsection (15) and may impose any other conditions on the waiver, reduction, or suspension. If the court finds that a person does not have sufficient funds to pay the fine, the court may require the performance of a specified number of hours of community service or attendance at a safety seminar.
- The court may waive, reduce, or suspend the fine if the previously stated law is broken; however, other conditions may replace the fine.
- If the court finds that a person can’t afford to pay the fine, community service or attendance at a safety seminar may replace the fine.
- All monies from the fine will be put into the State Transportation Trust Fund.
(18) The failure of a person to wear a bicycle helmet or the failure of a parent or guardian to prevent a child from riding a bicycle without a bicycle helmet may not be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence.
- A parent or guardian that does not prevent a child from riding a bicycle without a bicycle helmet cannot be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. The same goes for a person who fails to wear a bicycle helmet.
- Example: If a parent or guardian is taken to court because the child was involved in a bicycle crash, and the child was not wearing a helmet, this could not be used as evidence of negligence on the parent’s or guardian’s part.
(19) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a pedestrian violation as provided in chapter 318. A law enforcement officer may issue traffic citations for a violation of subsection (3) or subsection (15) only if the violation occurs on a bicycle path or road, as defined in s. 334.03. However, a law enforcement officer may not issue citations to persons on private property, except any part thereof which is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic.
- Unless otherwise stated, violating any part of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction and is punishable as a pedestrian violation as said in chapter 318 (which explains the disposition of traffic infractions).
- If subsections of (3) and (15) are violated on a bicycle path or road (where “road” refers to a way open to travel by the public, including, but not limited to, a street, highway, or alley. The term includes associated sidewalks, the roadbed, the right-of-way, and all culverts, drains, sluices, ditches, water storage areas, waterways, embankments, slopes, retaining walls, bridges, tunnels, and viaducts necessary for the maintenance of travel and all ferries used in connection therewith), then, and only then, is a law enforcement officer allowed to issue traffic citations.
- A law enforcement officer may not, however, issue citations to people on private property (unless part of the property is open for public vehicular traffic purposes).
- Example: Riding your bike into your driveway.