Written by attorney Julie K. Kurtz

Florida’s Bicycle Laws

Many people choose to get around the historic streets of St. Augustine on bicycles, and with our mild winters and sunny days it’s easy to see why. Many cyclists also take long tours along scenic S.R. A-1-A or the many rural highways criss-crossing St. Johns County, but with bikes and cars utilizing the same roadways, it’s vital that drivers and cyclists understand the rules of the road to avoid collision and tragedy.

Florida classifies bicycles as vehicles. Therefore, a cyclist enjoys most of the rights applicable to any driver when it comes use of a road or highway.

Unfortunately, many drivers and cyclists are not aware of Florida’s laws designed to protect cyclists as they operate on roadways.

Below is an often misunderstood list of Florida traffic laws for bicyclists. For a complete and official listing of Florida bicycle laws, visit the Florida Department of Transportation's (FDOT) Bicycle Laws page.

  • Cyclists must ride with the flow of traffic.

FDOT estimates that riding a bicycle against traffic doubles the risk of a collision with a motor vehicle.

  • Cyclists may ride on the sidewalk unless forbidden by local ordinance.

A cyclist may ride on the sidewalk only if propelled solely by human power.

  • Cyclists are required to use an available bicycle lane or ride as close as is safe to the right curb, but the rider may ride away from the curb when necessary.

Situations in which a rider my ride away from the curb, sometimes referred to as “controlling the lane," include: when passing a slower vehicle, preparing for a left turn, to avoid collisions with hazards and when a lane is too narrow to allow a vehicle to safely pass.

  • Vehicles must grant bicycles at least three feet when overtaking or passing.

It is easy for a driver to misjudge how close his or her vehicle is to a cyclist, so Florida requires a safe passing distance of three feet between the vehicle and the cyclist to prevent collisions.

  • Cyclists may not wear a headset.

So that a cyclist remains fully alert, headphones are not permitted, excepting hearing aids.

  • Cyclists must obey the same traffic rules and regulation devices as motorized vehicles are required to obey.

Stop signs, traffic lights, yield signs and even speed limits apply to cyclists just as they apply to drivers of automobiles and motorcycles. A cyclists puts himself or herself in grave danger by running a red light or failing to yield in a roundabout intersection.

Cycling is a great way to enjoy the many sites of Downtown St. Augustine or to explore our rural highways and scenic byways, but please recognize the traffic rules in place to keep cyclists safe!

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