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People around the United States know Florida as the “Sunshine State.” One of the top activities that Floridians like to do in order to take advantage of the sunshine is riding bikes. Whether for exercise, enjoyment, or as a primary source of travel, bike riding is a popular mode of transportation throughout Florida, Tampa included. While riding a bike might be a free-spirited activity or excellent way to exercise, there are important laws that all bike riders must follow. The following are the basics that every bike rider must know.

Bikes are Considered Vehicles

In Florida, a bike is classified as a vehicle even though it does not have a motor. You might be wondering, what does it matter if a bike is a vehicle or not? Since a bike is considered a vehicle, bicyclists have the same rights to use roadways that other motorists enjoy. However, bicyclists are usually permitted to ride on sidewalks, but local governments can prohibit this. Being considered a motorist means that riders are subject to the same rules of the road as cars — yielding the right of way, riding in the same direction of traffic, using lights when necessary, stopping at stop signs, etc.

In addition to this right to the roadway, bicyclists can expect that others will exercise caution around them. Bicyclists have an obligation to exercise caution and operate their bikes in a safe way, as well.

Statutory Requirements

Florida statutes outline the laws that bicyclists must follow. According to Florida law, bicyclists must:

  • Obey all traffic signs, signals, and controls
  • Only ride with the permitted number of passengers
  • Keep one had on the handle bars at all times
  • Have a regular seat for riding the bike that is affixed to the bike
  • Have lamps and reflectors mounted on the front and back of the bike
  • Have working breaks that would allow the driver to stop within 25 feet if riding at 10 miles per hour
  • Ride close to the right curb at all times. The exception to riding against the curb is when making a left turn, to avoid hazards in the road, or when the lane is too narrow.
  • Utilize hand signals so that other motorists know which direction the bicyclist is traveling

The above are not the only laws that bicyclists must follow, but they are important ones that every rider should know. In addition to the laws above, bicyclists need to know that biking with earphones in is not permitted. The idea behind prohibiting headphones is to reduce the distractions a rider might have and increase the likelihood that a driver is aware of the environment around them.

Even the most experienced bicyclists can be in an accident. If you have been injured in a bike accident, the personal injury attorneys at Dennis Hernandez & Associates are here to help you. Bike accidents can quickly turn tragic and cause an unexpected financial burden. Our personal injury attorneys want you to recover the maximum amount of damages possible given the circumstances. Contact us today for a consultation.

(image courtesy of Andrew Gook)