Safety Tips for Motorists and Bicyclists
Summer is fast approaching and the Beaches will be full of vehicles and bicycles. The following information is provided straight from The Official Florida Driver License Handbook in hopes that more people will realize the responsibilities we have as we share the road and the beautiful beaches here in Jacksonville.
Sharing the Road with Bicycles In Florida
The bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and has all of the privileges, rights, and responsibilities on public roads (except for expressways) that a motor vehicle operator does. Bicyclists may ride out of the bike lane in the travel lane for their own safety due to narrow roads, to avoid obstacles or pavement hazards, or to prepare for a left turn. A bicyclist may use the full lane even while traveling substantially below the speed of traffic if the lane is too narrow for both a car and bicycle to share. Unlike motorists, bicyclists may also operate on sidewalks, but they must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks.
Rules for Motorists
- Florida law requires that you give bicyclists a minimum of three feet of clearance and use caution when driving alongside or passing them.
- On a two lane road, pass a bicyclist as you would a slow moving vehicle, and only when it is safe to do so.
- At intersections, always assume that bicyclists are traveling straight unless they signal otherwise. Yield to bicycles just as you would to any other vehicle.
- When crossing a bike lane to make a turn, yield to any bicyclist in the bike lane and make your turn behind the cyclist.
- Do not follow a bicyclist too closely.
- At night, avoid using high beam headlights when you see a bicyclist approaching.
- Before opening a car door, check for bicyclists who may be approaching from behind.
- Avoid honking your horn and startling a bicyclist.
Rules for Bicyclists
- You must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- If you are not traveling at the speed of other traffic, you must use the bike lane, and if no bike lane is available, you must stay on the right-most side of the road.
- You are allowed to use the full lane when making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for you and a car to share it safely.
- When operating a bicycle on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes, you may ride on the left-hand side of the road.
- You must use directional hand signals to show other drivers that you are about to turn. (See page 29.)
- Never attach yourself or your bike to any vehicle on the roadway.
- If you are riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk, you have all the rights and duties as a pedestrian. However, you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing pedestrians.
- Between sunset and sunrise, you must have a white light visible from 500 feet on the front of your bicycle and a red reflector and a red light visible from 600 feet on the rear.
- Your bike must have brakes which can stop the bike within 25 feet from a speed of 10 mph.
- All bicyclists and passengers under age 16 are required to wear helmets that meet federal safety standards.
- If you are transporting a child under age four, or who weighs 40 pounds or less, you must use a backpack/sling, child seat, or trailer designed to carry children.
- You must not leave a child in a seat or carrier when you are not in immediate control of the bicycle.
- If you are riding with others, you may not ride more than two side-by-side unless it is a path or part of a roadway reserved for bicycles. You must ride single file if you and the other rider are impeding traffic.
- Do not wear headphones/earbuds while bicycling on the roadway.
- Do not ride a bicycle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Bicyclist Safety Tips
- No matter your age, wear a helmet.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars.
- On the roadway, check behind you before changing lanes or moving notably within the lane.
- Be seen. Wear neon or fluorescent colors when riding and wear something reflective.
- Don’t text while biking.
If You Have Questions About a Car Accident or Any Other Injury You Suffered
Please contact Clifton Law Office, you can reach me at my contact page online or call me directly at 904-209-4883.