Florida's Bicycle Laws
In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadways, and must obey the same traffic laws as the operators of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs, obeying traffic signals and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night, and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway.
There is only one road and it is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Strict adherence to the law is the foundation for this respect.
A summary of the sections of code pertaining to bicyclists is below. For the official version you can dig through the city code.
TRAFFIC LAW HIGHLIGHTS
Bicycle Regulations (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- A bicyclist must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
- No bicycle may be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
- At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.
- Parents and guardians must not knowingly allow a child or minor ward to violate any provisions of this section.
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.
Sidewalk Riding (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- 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.
Lighting (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.
- Additional lighting is permitted and recommended.
Roadway Position (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed of other traffic must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road in the following situations: when passing, making a left turn, to avoid road hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to share safely.
- A bicyclist operating on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes may ride as close to the left-hand edge of the roadway as practicable.
- Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall 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 shall not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, and shall ride within a single lane.
Left Turns (see Section 316.151 (1)(b)(c), F.S.)
- A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling, and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must check the signal, then proceed when it is green and safe to do so.
- In addition to the normal vehicle left turn, a bicyclist may proceed through the right-most portion of the intersection and turn as close to the curb or edge as possible at the far side. After complying with any official traffic control device, the bicyclist may proceed in the new direction.
Signaling Turns (see Sub-section 316.155(2) and 316.157(2), F.S.)
- A signal of intention to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. If a bicyclist needs both hands for control, the signal need not be given continuously.
- A bicyclist may signal intent to 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 (see Section 316.304, F.S.)
- A bicyclist may not wear a headset, headphone, or other listening device other than a hearing aid when riding. Wearing a headset blocks out important audio clues needed to detect the presence of other traffic.
Civil Penalties (see Sub-section 318.18(1),(2),&(3), F.S.)
- Non-moving violations, such as failure to use required lighting equipment when riding at night, failure to have working brakes
- Moving violations, such as running stop sign or signal, riding against traffic
- Violations of Chapter 316, F.S. by a bicyclist 14 years of age or younger
St. Petersburg Ordinance Related to Bicycles
- Every person residing within the City owning or having in his or her possession any bicycle shall register such bicycle with the Police Department.
- This section shall not apply to retail sellers of new or secondhand bicycles when the bicycles are for sale to the public.
- This section shall not apply to persons who are not residents of the City who have in their possession bicycles in the City. If non-residency cannot be established, it shall be presumed that the person is a resident of the City.
- A bicyclist may ride a bicycle upon any sidewalk, except at those locations where signs indicate that it prohibited, but shall not impede pedestrian traffic.
- Bicycles should be parked in a bicycle rack, and should be parked in a manner to provide the least obstruction to pedestrians as possible.
Important Safety Tips
Follow these safety rules to reduce the risk of being injured or killed while walking or bicycling.
- Look both ways and behind (at cross-streets) as you cross the street.
- Cross at crosswalks or intersections.
- Obey the cross walk signals.
- When walking next to a roadway, always walk against traffic.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing at night.
- Bicyclists and motorists MUST maintain a mutual respect for one another.
- Bicyclists must obey traffic laws including:
- Stop at stop signs and traffic signals,
- Use hand signals to turn, slow down, or stop,
- Wear a helmet if you are under 16 years of age,
- Give pedestrians the right-of-way on the sidewalks,
- Ride with traffic,
- Never riding more than two abreast,
- When riding, use voice commands to notify the pedestrian that you're passing ("Good morning" - "Hello") OR use a bell,
- Have a white front and red rear light on your bike when riding past sundown,
Make sure your bike is properly maintained and in good working condition by following the ABCs of riding:
- Check Air
- Check Brakes
- Check Chains
For more information on bicycle and pedestrian safety, contact Cheryl Stacks, Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator at (727) 892-5274or email email@example.com.