Left Turn by Bicyclist


Melissa asked:  A person riding on a bike in the middle of a two lane county road makes a left turn but does not signal. The automobile driver sees the person on the bike in the right lane and goes into left lane to pass the person on bike. The person on the bike without signaling goes into the right front side of automobile. If the person on the bike fails to signal, what law would this be under in the state of Florida?


It appears the bicyclist was struck by the motor vehicle.  The answer depends on the actions and location of the bicyclist and motor vehicle before and upon impact.

A bicyclist preparing for a left turn is not required to keep right.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway …. shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

Another statute amplifies the intent of that above and states that the bicyclist may use the full lane from which the left turn is to be made.

s. 316.151 – Required Position and Method of Turning at Intersections

(1) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:

(b) Left turn …. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may be legally made.

Bicyclists are required to signal when turning from a direct course or moving right or left on a highway.

s. 316.155 – When Signal Required

(1) No person may turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a highway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety, and then only after giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided, in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.

(2) A signal of intention to turn right or left must be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled before turning, except that such a signal by hand or arm need not be given continuously by a bicyclist if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.

A bicyclist must also signal when slowing.

(3) No person may stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear, when there is the opportunity to give such  a signal.

The required manner of signaling is described in the law.

s. 316.156 – Signals by Hand and Arm or Signal Lamps

(1) Any stop or turn signal when required herein shall be given either by means of the hand and arm or by signal lamps  ….

s. 316.157 – Method of Giving Hand or Arm Signals

(1) All signals herein required to be given by hand or arm shall be given from the left side of the vehicle ….

(a) Left turn – Hand or arm extended horizontally.

(b) Right turn – Hand or arm extended upward, except that a bicyclist may extend the right hand and arm to the right side of the bicycle.

(c) Stop or decrease in speed – Hand or arm extended downward.

Whether the motorist or cyclist was in violation depends on the actions and position of the motor vehicle and bicyclist at the time of impact.  If the cyclist was in the right lane, the motorist has clearly violated the statutes about overtaking and passing.

s. 316.083 – Overtaking and Passing a Vehicle

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction …. shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.  The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle must pass the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle or other nonmotorized vehicle.

If the cyclist turned into the path of the motorist in the left lane without signaling and insuring the safety of the movement, the cyclist has violated the statutes above.

Posted in Ask Geo, Making Turns Tagged with: , , ,
2 comments on “Left Turn by Bicyclist
  1. William am gown says:

    Do the left turn laws for bikes have any exceptions on multi lane roads ?
    ie Crosstown Parkway in Port Saint Lucie.

  2. Geo says:

    s. 316.151 above applies to all roadways except limited access roadways where bicycles are not allowed. If this view of the Crosstown Parkway is typical, bicyclists would leave the bike lane in time to safely use the left turn lane to prepare for the turn.


    If it is necessary to leave the bike lane due to traffic waves and utilize the left lane before it becomes a left turn lane, that would be legal if the preparing for a left turn. See the statute above. There is no limitation to the distance traveled in the left lane while preparing for the turn. In one court case I know of, the judge dismissed a citation for a cyclist using the left lane for 1300 feet before turning.

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  1. [...] about a bicyclist turning left from near the center on a rural two lane without signaling.  http://flbikelaw.org/2010/03/left-turn-by-bicyclist/ However, what if the bicyclist is in fact signaling for a left turn after checking behind to [...]

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