Each year, a number of bicyclists die in traffic accidents involving automobiles, and thousands more are injured, statistics forwarded by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
We look at drivers and bicyclists’ responsibilities, and the laws of the road for driving with bicyclists.
According to Florida “safe passing law” its compulsory that a driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle must pass the bicycle at a safe distance of 3 feet or more between the vehicle and the bicycle.
Florida law entails that any person under the age of 16 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a bicycle helmet.
Florida defines a “vulnerable road user” as: A pedestrian, including a person actually engaged in work upon a highway, or in work upon utility facilities along a highway, or engaged in the provision of emergency services within the right-of-way; A person operating a bicycle, motorcycle, scooter, or moped lawfully on the roadway.
Florida protects road users by providing that a driver who is convicted of a hit and run:
- Before driving privileges are reinstated, present to the department proof of completion of a victim’s impact panel session in a judicial circuit. A department-approved driver improvement course relating to the rights of road users relative to vehicles on the roadway.
- The victim of the hit and run is a vulnerable road user, the offense is ranked one level above the typical ranking for purposes of sentencing.
Where to Ride
Florida requires that a bicyclist, traveling at a speed less than the speed of traffic, must ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances:
- When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
- When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
- When reasonably necessary to avoid any unsafe condition or potential conflict, including one caused by a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane; or
- When a bicycle lane is available.
Florida allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:
- A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances; and
- A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
Mandatory Use of Separated Facilities
Florida requires that a bicycle rider operating upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic, must ride in the lane marked for bicycle use.
In Florida, bicycles are defined as vehicles. Bicycles should not be operated while intoxicated and operating a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances may result in severe punishments.