Cyclists Rights in Florida

The rights of cyclists in Florida are guaranteed under Florida’s State Uniform Traffic Control Laws Section 316.2065. That includes every right a motorist has to the lanes on our local streets.

Cyclists need to be fully aware of their rights no matter where they ride. Motorists on Florida’s roads must also stay informed on the rights of every rider. Those rights protect the safety of all bicyclists and the convenience of using all available lanes to complete a ride or get to their destinations. When a driver strikes a rider, being ignorant of traffic laws is absolutely no excuse.

When Can I Use Florida Traffic Lanes While on a Bicycle?

Section 316 of the Florida Statutes defines the rights of cyclists that are almost identical to drivers on the road.

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter, and except as to provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

As far as where cyclists should ride when alongside traffic and when they can take a full lane, The Florida Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles Department (FLHSMV) provides answers based on Florida’s traffic codes:

  • Cyclists riding in the lane should stick to the right-most side of the road if they have room.
  • Cyclists must use bike lanes when they are available, but they can join traffic if they are traveling at the speed of traffic or faster.
  • Cyclists can enter traffic if someone is parked in a bike lane.
  • Cyclists have a right to a full lane if they are making a left turn, passing, avoiding hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for the rider and a car to share it safely.

Motorists must observe these rights and be ready to make room for a cyclist if a hazard arises.

What Rights Can Cyclists Demand from Florida Motorists?

One basic right that all riders should be able to count on is the right to adequate room to travel on roads. The FLHSMV asks that drivers only pass cyclists if there will be at least three feet of space between a rider and a vehicle. Even more space is appreciated.

If drivers don’t have this minimum space they should not pass. They must slow down and wait until the safety of the rider is guaranteed.

In fact, drivers are required to show a legal “duty of care” to anyone who uses or crosses a road. This means they are responsible for monitoring for cyclists at all times and slowing down when they are approaching a rider. Drivers are expected to go slow enough to be able to stop to prevent a collision of any kind.

Do I Have Any Rights If I Was Riding a Bike Illegally on the Road?

Yes. Even if you were supposed to be in a bike lane or riding in the wrong direction when you were hit, the driver involved still has a legal duty of care. They must slow down and try to avoid an impact.

When drivers don’t observe this basic rule of the road, they can be held responsible for almost any accident. Drivers bear more responsibility to prevent bicycle collisions due to how much more vulnerable a rider is when compared to people in cars protected by airbags, seat belts, and metal walls.

A driver can be at fault for an accident, even when a rider is not using the lanes correctly or crossing in a dangerous spot. In some cases a driver and a rider can share the blame in an accident and a cycling accident victim can ask for partial compensation for injuries. In other cases, a driver might be fully responsible for a cyclist’s medical bills and lost income while injured.

Do I Have Any Rights to Compensation If I Was Struck on a Bike Without a Helmet On?

Yes. The fact that you didn’t have a helmet on when you were hit by a reckless driver doesn’t release the motorist from liability. Victims could still file a claim against the driver’s car insurance and seek recovery support.

Cyclists 16 years old or older are not required to wear a helmet when riding a bike in Florida. All riders should wear helmets to protect against head injuries, but it doesn’t affect the right to file a lawsuit against a careless driver.

Making Sure Motorists Respect Every Right of Fort Lauderdale Cyclists

Cyclists struck by distracted and speeding drivers may suffer broken bones and head and neck injuries. They may spend weeks or months off their bikes and be unable to provide for their families while having to miss work.

At Cowen Edwards Trial Lawyers we are advocates for safe rides across Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. When careless drivers strike and injure riders, we get aggressive to make sure victims are fully supported through recovery. To schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation please get in touch with our Fort Lauderdale Bicycle Accident Lawyers to find out what you should be demanding from car insurance companies.