Ken asked: Is there any FL statute covering wearing eye protection on a bicycle when going fast? Officers are sometimes stopping people when riding an electric bicycle at like 20 mph warning of bug strikes that could cause them to veer off the sidewalk or the edge of the lane into traffic and getting hit. One officer in Pinellas Co. threatened to take a man’s electric bike away for not wearing eye protection.
Although it is a good idea to wear eye protection while riding, there is no Florida or Pinellas County requirement for bicycle operators, including ebikes that meet the definition of bicycle, to wear eye protection.
The officer may be referring to the statutory requirement for some others to wear eye protection. An ebike is not a moped or motorcycle.
s. 316.211 – Equipment for Motorcycle and Moped Riders
(2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department.
(3)(a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
s. 261.20 – Operations of Off-Highway Vehicles on Public Lands; Restrictions; Safety Courses; Required Equipment; Prohibited Acts; Penalties
(1) This section applies only to the operation of off-highway vehicles on public lands.
(5) It is a violation of this section:
(c) For a person who has not attained 16 years of age, to operate an off-highway vehicle without wearing eye protection ….
s. 316.2074 – All-Terrain Vehicles
(3) No person under 16 years of age shall operate, ride, or be otherwise propelled on an all-terrain vehicle unless the person wears a safety helmet meeting United States Department of Transportation standards and eye protection.
Another matter though is that it is unlawful to operate a vehicle under anything other than human power on a sidewalk.
s. 316.1995 – Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path
(1) Except as provided in s. 316.008 (powers of local authorities) or s. 316.212(8)(golf carts), a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area ….
I recommend writing a letter to the police chief asking that officers be informed of the information in this post.
There’s more dangerous things the Sheriffs Department of Pinellas County needs to concern themselves with like cars blocking crosswalks, cars blowing through stop signs and cars only slowing down to 20 MPH to turn right on red. They watch these things happen and do nothing. I’ve been complaining about these things for over 10 years and they do nothing.. I’m surprised to see they exerted the energy to hassle someone about eye protection,
A e-assist bicycle moving in a lane already >is< traffic. As a motorcyclist, I find little things that occasionally blow into one eye or the other distracting. I can't tell whether they're tiny insects, tiny seeds, blown dust, or something else. This could also be distracting when cycling, although it rarely seems to happen then. I try to avoid the problem on motorcycles by keeping my helmet visor closed when I'm in motion. Florida has no requirement for the rider of an e-assist bicycle (that meets the criteria mentioned in Chapter 316's definition of "Bicycle") to wear eye protection.