Doc asked: I use a white light on the front of my bicycle, and a red reflector and red lights on the back of my bicycle when riding between dusk and dawn. My front white lights have a strobe function which I use during the day. Can I have it on flash at night as well or does the front light need to be steady? Also, I wear a reflective safety vest most days and night, but I also have a safety vest with flashing red LED’s on the front and back. I know that a bicycle cannot be equipped with red lights visible from the front, but is it legal for me to wear a vest with red lights visible from the front?
This is the statute that requires certain lights and permits others on a bicycle at night.
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 additional lights or reflectors are allowed but are not described or defined.
You correctly state that red lights may not show ahead. My guess is that the phrase “any lamp or device thereon” applies to the person as well as the vehicle. For example, imagine a person inside a car shining a red flashlight forward.
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 thereon 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 ….
With regard to whether your forward white light may flash at night, the FBA proposed this change to the laws in 2012 to clarify the use of “blinkies” on the rear of a bicycle and flashing white lights forward, which previously were technically barred except as additional lights. Now all lights may flash.
(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except:
(c) For the lamps authorized under …. s. 316.2065 …. which may flash.