Ground Lights on Bicycles

Question

Are ground lights permitted on bicycles? See this post for the original question:

http://flbikelaw.org/2014/02/additional-lights-on-bicycles/#more-1721

Answer

The information we provided in the post above is correct, but I wanted to confirm it with the Florida Highway Patrol at FHP@flhsmv.gov

Ground lighting on bicycles is permitted except that the lights cannot be blue, and red lights cannot be visible from the front. Other colors are lawful on bicycles, but not on motor vehicles.

The email string is below. The statutes mentioned are:

s. 316.216Authority of Department with Reference to Lighting Devices

(1) The department is authorized to approve or disapprove lighting devices and to issue and enforce regulations establishing standards and specifications for the approval of such lighting devices, their installation, adjustment, and aiming, and adjustment when in use on motor vehicles. Such regulations shall correlate with standards and specifications of the society of automotive engineers applicable to such equipment.

(2) The department is required to approve or disapprove any lighting device of a type on which approval is specifically required in this chapter within a reasonable time after such device has been submitted.

s. 316.241Selling or Using Lamps or Equipment

(1) No person shall have for sale, sell or offer for sale for use upon or as a part of the equipment of a motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer, or pole trailer or use upon any such vehicle any headlamp, auxiliary or fog lamp, rear lamp, signal lamp, or reflector, which reflector is required hereunder, or parts of any of the foregoing, which tend to change the original design or performance, unless of a type which has been submitted to the department and approved.

GM to FHP:

Question

I have had questions about these lights and was wondering if you knew the legal answer about them. Blue Bike Brightz LED Bicycle Safety Light Lightweight Fashion Accessory light the ground up while riding.

www.bikebrightz.com

Clearly, the blue lights in the website advertisement are not lawful, but we can find no reason the green lights used by the person and shown in this link should not be lawful.

http://www.keithmj.com/elliptigopicturesnight/#DSC_0091.JPG

From FHP

Florida does not permit any ground lighting for motor vehicles or motorcycles regardless of the color. That being said, the Florida Statutes do not address the lighting that you are asking about. You are correct when stating that any type of “blue light” is strictly prohibited by law and the statute only addresses the “white light” in the front and the “red light” in the rear.

From GM

Could you provide the basis for that prohibition if it is not statutory?  Is it published?

From FHP

Any lights that are illuminated while a vehicle is in motion on any public roadway in Florida are regulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Departtment of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This authority can be found in Florida Statute 316.216 & 316.241

From GM

Both of those statutes specify “motor vehicle”, and as you stated before, ground lighting on bicycles is not addressed in the statutes. Can I infer then, that ground lighting on bicycles, as long as it is not blue or red, is not unlawful?

From FHP

We cannot find anything in Florida law that states these lights (other than blue) are unlawful for bicycles.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bicycle Equipment Tagged with: ,
4 comments on “Ground Lights on Bicycles
  1. SpecialFX says:

    Can you provide the link to the statute that says a blue ground light is unlawful?

    The only issue I have with the emails that you send out to law enforcement, is that you start out by saying “Clearly, the blue lights in the website advertisement are not lawful,” which gives them carte Blanche to say ok…. But doesn’t provide us with the statute that states that..

    • SpecialFX says:

      The statute that you wish to use clearly states that it’s visible from the front…
      GROUND lights are not necessarily visible from the “front”…
      And having a bluish light facing towards the ground on a BICYCLE would not make ANYONE think that the person is law enforcement.. IMHO, That’s just silly and a matter of semantics.

      • SpecialFX says:

        Even law enforcement agencies that use bicycles as vehicles, don’t have any “police lights” (red or blue or otherwise) on them… Only MOTORCYCLE cops.

        Do you think that a cop is actually going to stop someone on a bicycle who just happens to have a bunch of LEDs on them and one or more of them MAY be blue, and he’s going to pull them over and say, “Hey, are you trying to impersonate law enforcement personnel”…
        Let’s be realistic here.

  2. Geo says:

    SpecialFX:

    The statute about the blue lights being unlawful is in the original post that is linked above. Please read it.

    I began my email to FHP with that to let them know we have researched this and still have some questions.

    Blue lights are not legal from any point of view. Red lights are not legal if visible from the front. Please read the statutes quoted in the original post.

    This isn’t a matter of being realistic about what a police officer might think or do. We are quoting the laws and informing you. If you chose to ignore our factual information, that is fine. Hopefully, the originator of the post above, Keith, and others who read this will consider it useful information.

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