Bicycle Equipment

Question

How many bicycle citations can officer can handout at the same time?  Four tickets were given to me: bike/brake/non/improper & bike/fail to ride right hand curb & front and rear light

I read that a person on bicycle can’t get violated for riding on right curb.  My ticket states, “not riding next to the (r) curb/ riding against traffic”.

A bicycle is a vehicle.  What does that mean?  I can drive a car, right?

The clerk of court wouldn’t book a court for this ticket. I wrote two times already to them?

Answer

Citations can be written for any violations that exist.

The brakes and lights required on a bicycle are as follows:

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(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.

(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.

s. 316.2397Certain Lights Prohibited; Exceptions

(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except:

(c) For the lamps authorized under subsections …. s. 316.2065 ….  which may flash.

If you were riding against traffic, you were violating this subsection of the bicycle regulations and the requirement for all vehicles to drive on the right side of the roadway.

(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.

In order to drive a car you must meet all the requirements for operating a motor vehicle such as having a driver’s license, registering the vehicle, etc.  See your local police or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

A bicycle is a vehicle, but not a motor vehicle, and the operator does not have to have a license, insurance or, except as required by local ordinance, register the bicycle.  The operator has the rights and duties of other drivers, which means following all traffic laws.  There are a few provisions that are different for bicyclists and motor vehicle operators.

You will need to contact your local police or the clerk of the court to find information about a court date.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bicycle Equipment Tagged with: , , , , ,
13 comments on “Bicycle Equipment
  1. fred_dot_u says:

    I had to file a request for a court date and chose to hand deliver it to the clerk of court in at least one circumstance. If you mail it, your court date will likely be set to a couple of weeks after you receive the documentation for the date. If you hand deliver it, you may get a court date only a few days ahead, as the clerk can validate that you received the document, obviously.

    I would expect that the clerk cannot refuse you a court date, if you follow the rules and file the appropriate paperwork.

    You can certainly be cited for not having a working brake, as one is required. Operating a fixie and depending on your skill is not having a working brake, so you’d be hard pressed to beat that citation. Lights are required for night operation, so if you were cited after the sun had set and before it had risen again, you probably won’t beat that one.

    Failure to keep right is much more difficult to determine. How wide was the traffic lane in which you were operating? If you don’t know, return to the same area and measure it. Have a friend with a video camera record your measurements, including close-ups of the tape measure from the inside of the lane stripes demarking the traffic lane. Do not stop and restart the recording, make it contiguous while you stretch out the tape and while the camera operator moves to each end of the tape measure to show the measurements. If your measurements come in with a lane width of less than fourteen feet, you may have a case, if you can get a savvy enough attorney. You can attempt to present your case on your own, but having had too many citations, I’d suggest against it.

  2. Frank S. says:

    The lane width, in this particular instance, is of no interest… (see CAPS below)

    The OP obviously removed the brakes and was probably riding a fixed gear bicycle (fixie), in the middle of the night, with no lights and riding AGAINST traffic…
    So, if that was the case, unfortunately every ticket he received was a valid one…

    I only see three offenses…
    316.2065
    1.) Subsection 5(a) = FRAP.
    2.) Subsection 7 = Required Lighting for night riding.
    3.) Subsection 13 = Required Brakes

    What was the fourth citation for?

    P.S. Given the statute (316.2065-(7)) provided by Geo, if you install lights (even after the fact), the charges for that particular statute will be dismissed…

  3. fred_dot_u says:

    I missed the “against traffic” portion, as it was combined in the one citation. There should be no defense for that one. I can think of no reason someone should be riding against traffic. I saw only the AFRAP portion, which is interesting, because this would indicate that the person on the bike was possibly riding as far left as practicable, which isn’t really practicable, is it?

    Unless it’s on a one-way roadway!

  4. Frank S. says:

    The OP didn’t mention if it was a one-way, so I doubt that’s it..
    I’m still curious as to what the 4th “infraction” was for..

  5. Geo says:

    “Unless it’s on a one-way roadway!”

    Good point Fred. That is a little known subsection in the Bicycle Regulations.

    (5)(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.

    • Frank S. says:

      Correct, but as was noted (By the OP) the ticket was for “riding against traffic”, so the OP was definitely not on a “one way street” (with 2 or more lanes), so if the OP WAS on a one way street, he was riding against traffic anyways and he would not be able to use the statute provided as a defense.

      • Frank S. says:

        At least four times a week, I ride on a one way street (25mph posted speed limit) with 2 travel lanes (14′ wide). On the right side of the roadway is where street parking is and the left side curb is free of cars. I’m consistently riding either in the middle of the lanes (when riding 20-25 mph) or as “far to the left side, etc” as I don’t want to ride on the right side where the door zone is obviously an issue.

  6. fred_dot_u says:

    with that reference in mind, is a divided roadway, but not a limited access roadway such as an interstate considered to be a one-way highway? If there’s a substantial median in place, with cut-throughs and right-turn only portions, and “ONE WAY” signs for each respective direction of this roadway, is that a one-way highway per the referenced statutes? The roads to which I refer abound in Florida and almost all of them have two or more marked traffic lanes. I could provide google map image references, but I’m sure any reader can envision a roadway in his area that qualifies.

    One way roadway or no?

  7. Geo says:

    s. 316.003 – Definitions

    (42) – Roadway
    That portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. In the event a highway includes two or more separate roadways, the term “roadway” as used herein refers to any such roadway separately, but not to all such roadways collectively.

    (53) – Street or Highway
    (a) The entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place of whatever nature when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic ….

    I have had this discussion with some of the experts, and the consensus is that the intent of the subsection is to be a one-way multi-lane roadway divided by a median, as indicated in the definition of “roadway.”

    However, the strict definition of “highway’ would mean that the only time (5)(b) could apply is a divided highway with non-public property between the roadways. Hence, separate highways for roadways in each direction.

    Considering that there are few such roadways, subparagraph (5)(b) in the Bicycle regulations would almost never apply if the latter interpretation held.

    • Frank S. says:

      The issue sometimes comes up as a road will sometimes have partial sections in it that have a median (also marked with one way signs) and sections that don’t have a median and no one way signs. I’m guessing that’s what kind of areas Fred is thinking of.
      I personally stay FRAP on those stretches of road, as positioning yourself to the left (on the one-way sections and then having to re-position to the right (on the NON-1-way sections) and then re-positioning AGAIN to the left on the sections that are “one way” again, back and forth, over and over again, is a recipe for disaster and is not very “road savvy”, IMO.

  8. Herman F. Ebeling, Jr. says:

    Question about one-way roads. I regularly ride on a road that is for all intents and purposes a one-way road, i.e. there is a substantial median in the middle. Actually it is large enough that it is considered by the city to be a park. It is wide enough that it could be two lanes wide if so painted, it has a bike lane on the right side. It is only about a quarter mile long. I know that per 316.2065 that when preparing to make a turn, that subsection 5 doesn’t apply. But:

    A) how does the multiple laned one-way exception apply if there is a bike lane?
    B) how much time/space can a cyclist use in preparing to turn?

  9. fred_dot_u says:

    It’s good that the median is in the middle. The news media often report about the center median and I’d be concerned to learn that there was a median somewhere other than in the center, but that’s a different topic entirely.

    The statute requires the use of a bike lane where present if none of the exceptions are valid.

    I’ve read of a circumstance specifically regarding making a left turn. The cyclist was cited for leaving the bike lane (or perhaps leaving the right side of the lane) to make a left turn. The judge in the case ruled that there is no specific distance and dismissed the case. I operated on a roadway with four lanes in each direction plus turn lanes and will often move to the far left lane in order to make the turn at a distance as great as one half mile prior to the intersection. My argument is that it is safer for me, and easier for traffic to manage my position, and I expect that it would hold up in court.

  10. Geo says:

    With regard to Herman’s comment/questions.

    “A. How does the multiple laned one-way exception apply if there is a bike lane?”

    Note that the provisions in paragraph (5) of the Bicycle Regulations are at the same level. (5)(a) and (5)(b).

    (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 ….
    (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.

    My understanding is that they are of equal importance and neither takes precedence over the other. Each applies independently without regard to the other. We probably need a knowledgeable attorney to confirm that though.

    “B. How much time/space can a cyclist use in preparing to turn?”

    The statute states:
    (5)(a)
    2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

    No distance is given, and the interpretation would seem to be that distance required to safely prepare for the left turn.

    I am aware of one case that was dismissed for that reason when the cyclist was measured to have traveled 1300 feet in the left lane while preparing for a left turn. That was at traffic court though, and not at the appeal level. Maybe the same one Fred mentioned.

    Traffic usually moves in waves driven by traffic lights or other factors. Cyclists are wise to use the breaks in those waves to move right to left when preparing for the left turn. That break may occur well before the turn.

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