May is Bicycle Safety Awareness Month

Did you know in Florida that a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle? So, bicyclists have all of the privileges, rights, and responsibilities on public roads (except for expressways) as a driver of any other motor vehicle.

To maintain their safety, bicyclists may ride out of the bike lane and into the travel lane to avoid obstacles or pavement hazards or to prepare for a left turn. When the lane is too narrow to share a bicyclist may use the full lane even while traveling substantially below the speed of traffic.

Check out pages 40 & 41 in the Florida Driver License Handbook to learn more about the laws and safety rules.

Tips for Motorists

  • Giving bicyclists a minimum of three feet of clearance when driving alongside or passing them is the law in Florida.
  • When you are turning, yield to bicyclists in the bike lane and then turn behind the cyclist.
  • Don’t use your high beam headlights when you see a bicyclist approaching.
  • Check for bicyclists before you open a car door, then may be approaching from behind you.

Rules for Bicyclists

  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • Unless you are traveling at the speed of traffic, you must use the bike lane, and if there is no bike lane, stay on the rightmost side of the road.
  • Bicyclists may use the full lane when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for you and a car to share it safely.
  • Use directional hand signals; other drivers aren’t mind-readers.
  • If you are riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk, you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, but you do have all the rights and duties as a pedestrian.
  • You need lights! From dusk to dawn, on the front of your bike you need a white light visible from 500 feet, and on the back of your bike, you need both a red reflector and a red light visible from 600 feet.
  • If you are under 16 and on a bike, you must wear a helmet. But we recommend everyone wears a helmet anytime they are on a bike!
  • When riding with others, you are only allowed two side-by-side riders, and you must ride single file if you and the other rider are impeding traffic.

Bicyclist Safety Tips

  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Be seen. Wear bright colors and wear reflective clothing.
  • Don’t text while biking.
  • Don’t drink and drive; you can get a DUI on a bike. Do not ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.