Know the laws to stay safe on your bike

As spring arrives in Florida, the time is right to hop on your bike and get some fresh air. Understanding the rules and regulations for cyclists can help you avoid a serious auto accident injury. 

These are some of the most important state bike laws for Florida residents and visitors to know. 

Obey traffic laws 

Bikes are subject to the same laws that apply to motorists when they ride on the road. For safety reasons, you should be a defensive rider and always prepare to yield to a car if necessary. 

Ride in the same direction as traffic, and abide by all signals. Stay in the bike lane, or, if no bike lane is available, remain as far to the right as possible. You may move to the left to avoid debris in the road or if you plan to turn left. 

When traveling with another cyclist on the road, remain single file in the same lane. The law prohibits riding two bikes next to one another in the same lane. 

If you decide to ride on the sidewalk, you must yield to pedestrians. When you pass someone on foot, call out or sound a horn to alert them. 

Wear a helmet 

Although Florida law requires bike helmets only for riders ages 16 and younger, all cyclists should wear head protection. Choose a helmet that fits properly, and replace it if you experience an impact. 

Equip your bicycle 

Your bike must have a white light in the front and a red light in the rear if you ride after dark. If you transport passengers, make sure that you have a bike with two seats. The law prohibits having another person ride on the handlebars or back pegs. However, you can carry a small child in a secure sling or backpack. 

Cyclists are at risk for debilitating injury in a collision with a motor vehicle. Keep these laws in mind to protect yourself.