The Basic Laws about Bicycling in Florida
Chris asked: I moved here from Colorado in June and within the first 60 days have already been hit by a car (still going though litigation). Although I am back on the bike and on the roads, I am finding that cars really do not care if a cyclist is on the road and will do everything they can to get as close as they can to me – like its a game or something. When I approached a few of them at the stop light (nicely of course) I’m completely amazed at how many of them don’t actually know that bicycles can ride in the road!
Which brings me to my own knowledge or lack there of. The laws here are far more complicated than those of Colorado and I have searched your site and can’t seem to locate anything “simple” that lays out at least the basics.
Do you have anything that I can read, download and/or print that covers, in layman’s terms, the basics?
Good on you for learning the laws, which as you noted, many don’t know. There are many resources available to find the laws applicable to bicycling in Florida. The basic guideline is that bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers when in the roadway and the same rights and duties as pedestrians when on a sidewalk. That is stated in the Bicycle Regulations here:
Almost all traffic regulations apply to bicyclists just as they do motor vehicle operators since a bicycle is a vehicle, although not a motor vehicle. Normally, you drive a bicycle the same way you drive a motor vehicle. There are exceptions though, most of which are delineated in the Bicycle Regulations.
The Florida Bicycle Association at www.floridabicycle.org has resources concerning the laws. One of those is the Law Enforcement Guide, which explains the laws and can be downloaded free here:
If you still have questions please feel free to ask them at this site, Ask Geo.