Living and working on a small island, you can imagine that man people like to get around via bikes. It is a great method of travel,with benefits for both the body and the environment. But it seems to me that lots of people believe that just because they are on a bike they don’t have to follow the rules of the road, and it frankly gets pretty upsetting at times. What I think people do not realize is that in Florida a bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle.
That means that bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as those driving cars, motorcycles, scooters, electric cars, golf carts, trucks, etc. That means that bicyclists must stop at stop signs and red lights, ride with the flow of traffic, yield when entering a roadway, and use lights at night. It also means that you cannot ride a bicycle while under the influence as you an get a DUI!
You can click on Key West Bicycle Laws to know more about the specific laws regarding biking in Key West.
Here are a summary of traffic laws pertaining to bicyclists taken from the Florida Bicycle Association:
Bicycle Regulations (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- A bicyclist must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- A bicyclist must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
- No bicycle may be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
- At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.
- Parents and guardians must not knowingly allow a child or minor ward to violate any provisions of this section.
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.
Sidewalk Riding (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.
- A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.
Lighting (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.
- Additional lighting is permitted and recommended.
Roadway Position (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)
- A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed of other traffic must ride in a designated bike lane or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road in the following situations: when passing, making a left turn, to avoid road hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to share safely.
- A bicyclist operating on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes may ride as close to the left-hand edge of the roadway as practicable.
- Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, and shall ride within a single lane.
Left Turns (see Section 316.151 (1)(b)(c), F.S.)
- A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling, and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must check the signal, then proceed when it is green and safe to do so.
- In addition to the normal vehicle left turn, a bicyclist may proceed through the right-most portion of the intersection and turn as close to the curb or edge as possible at the far side. After complying with any official traffic control device, the bicyclist may proceed in the new direction.
Signaling Turns (see Sub-section 316.155(2) and 316.157(2), F.S.)
- A signal of intention to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. If a bicyclist needs both hands for control, the signal need not be given continuously.
- A bicyclist may signal intent to turn right either by extending the left hand and arm upward or by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.
Headsets (see Section 316.304, F.S.)
- A bicyclist may not wear a headset, headphone, or other listening device other than a hearing aid when riding. Wearing a headset blocks out important audio clues needed to detect the presence of other traffic.
Civil Penalties (see Sub-section 318.18(1),(2),&(3), F.S.)
- Non-moving violations, such as failure to use required lighting equipment when riding at night, failure to have working brakes
- Moving violations, such as running stop sign or signal, riding against traffic
- Violations of Chapter 316, F.S. by a bicyclist 14 years of age or younger
The local governments of counties, cities, towns, and other municipalities can adopt ordinances regulating bicycle riding. Some towns may also have registration and licensing ordinances. Sidewalk riding may be prohibited entirely or only in certain areas such as business districts. Local law enforcement agencies can provide copies of local ordinances.