Color and Brightness of Bicycle Lights
John asked: Most of the time I ride in full dark between 4:00 am and 5:30 am due to the sparseness of cars on the little circuit I follow in my neighborhood. I think I understand the minimum lighting I’m lawfully REQUIRED to have but am a little unclear about lighting limitations. I’d like to eventually be visible from orbit!
I know that my bicycle is a vehicle. I know vehicles have limitations on light color. I would like to know if there are exceptions to the law regarding bicycles. Basically I need to know what color lighting I may lawfully display, in which direction and may the lights flash?
Examples: Can I display red lights facing forward? May they flash? May I display red lights laterally? May they flash? What about amber lights for the preceding questions? May I display white lights to the rear and may they flash? Are there any limitations regarding amber lights for bicycles?
I’m aware that only specific vehicles in specific situations may display blue lights but the way I interpret that specific law:
s. 316.2397 - Certain Lights Prohibited; Exceptions
(1) No person shall drive or move or cause to be moved any vehicle or equipment upon any highway within this state with any lamp or device THERON showing or displaying a red or blue light visible from directly in front thereof except for certain vehicles hereinafter provided.
(2) It is expressly prohibited for any vehicle or equipment, except police vehicles, to show or display blue lights. . .
The way I see it is the lights must be on the VEHICLE. So I’m wondering if that law, or any other, prohibits me from attaching blue lights to my clothing while riding my bike and may they flash?
You have already quoted the basic law that says blue lights may not be used and red lights may not be visible from ahead.
I believe the use of the term “lamp or device thereon” in the statute you quote above would include a light inside or on, but not necessarily attached to the vehicle. Imagine for example a person shining bright red and blue flashing lights from inside, but not physically attached to, a moving car at night. I believe the same would be true for a bicyclist displaying blue or red lights. Although not attached, it is on the vehicle.
The statute that requires bicycle lights is this:
s 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
(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.
Note that it says the bicycle must be equipped with certain lights and the bicycle and rider may be equipped with additional lighting. It does not specify what that additional lighting may be.
Flashing lights, either those required or additional lights, may be used on a bicycle.
s 316.2397 – Certain Lights Prohibited; Exceptions
(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except:
(c) For the lamps authorized under subsections …. s. 316.2065 (Bicycle Regulations)…. which may flash.
There does not seem to be any upper limit to the intensity of lights or type or color, except as above, of additional lights used on a bicycle. We had the same questions a while back and confirmed that with the FHP, as noted in the following posts:
I would like to credit the FBA with initiating the 2012 change in the law to allow flashing lights on bicycle. I suggest joining. They are looking out for our interests.