Bike Trailer Requirements

Question

Doug asked: I am finally getting a good hitch and will be starting to use my trailer. What are the laws, limitations, etc. for using a trailer with a bicycle? I already have flashing red lights on both rear and sides. Also, I intend on adding electric assist, will this change things and if so how?

Answer

A bicycle with an electric assist motor is a bicycle and the operator has all the rights and duties as other bicyclists.

s. 316.003Definitions

(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

A bike trailer must be commercially manufactured.

s. 316.2065Bicycle Regulations

(4) No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle may attach the same or himself or herself to any vehicle upon a roadway. This subsection does not prohibit attaching a bicycle trailer or bicycle semitrailer to a bicycle if that trailer or semitrailer is commercially available and has been designed for such attachment.

A passenger under age 16 in a trailer must wear a helmet.

(d) A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap …. As used in this subsection, the term “passenger” includes a child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer attached to a bicycle.

A front light and a rear light and reflector are required at night and in inclement weather.

(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.

The red lights on the sides may not be visible from the front. The lights on a bicycle may flash but are not required to do so.

s. 316.2397Certain 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 thereon showing or displaying a red or blue light visible from directly in front ….

(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except:

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

4 Comments on “Bike Trailer Requirements

  1. Some states have a maximum bike length of 21 ft.. Does Florida have a maximum bike length ? If not what about maximum trailer length?

  2. Jon,

    I can find no length restriction for a bicycle in Florida.

    This is the statutory definition of a bicycle.
    s. 316.003 – Definitions
    (3) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. A person under the age of 16 may not operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.

    Although there is no specific maximum for a bike trailer, that it must be commercially available would impose some practical restriction.
    s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
    (4) No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled, or toy vehicle may attach the same or himself or herself to any vehicle upon a roadway. This subsection does not prohibit attaching a bicycle trailer or bicycle semitrailer to a bicycle if that trailer or semitrailer is commercially available and has been designed for such attachment.

    This reference to semitrailer length seems only to apply to truck trailers.
    s. 316.515 – Maximum Width, Height, Length
    2. A semitrailer which is more than 48 feet but not more than 57 feet in extreme overall outside dimension, as measured pursuant to subparagraph 1., may operate on public roads, except roads on the State Highway System which are restricted by the Department of Transportation or other roads restricted by local authorities, if:
    a. The distance between the kingpin or other peg that locks into the fifth wheel of a truck tractor and the center of the rear axle or rear group of axles does not exceed 41 feet, or, in the case of a semitrailer used exclusively or primarily to transport vehicles in connection with motorsports competition events, the distance does not exceed 46 feet from the kingpin to the center of the rear axles; and
    b. It is equipped with a substantial rear-end underride protection device meeting the requirements of 49 C.F.R. s. 393.86, “Rear End Protection.”

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