Bicycle Safety

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. AT LEAST 3 FEET.  IT’S THE LAW!



In an effort to encourage everyone to practice safe behavior and improve the safety of all road users, the Broward MPO has developed a public education campaign regarding the 3-Foot Law. The campaign educates motorists about Florida Statute 316.083: Overtaking and Passing, the law states a motorist must pass a bicyclist by no less than 3 feet.

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Interactive Bicycle Trip Planning Tool


This Interactive Bicycle Trip Planning tool is the best way to map out your bike routes throughout Broward County Bike Broward Bicycle Route Planner


Bicycle Tips For Parents

Children need a lot of training and practice to learn how to ride safely. The best way to teach your children safe bicycling
skills is to ride with them. Let them lead sometimes so they get used to making decisions on their own. Remember, children learn by watching others, so be sure that you always ride (and drive) responsibly and wear a helmet. You can teach them a lot even if you don’t ride. Sidewalks are preferred by many young bicyclists and their parents. Sidewalks, however, present a host of hazards to bicyclists. If your children ride on sidewalks, teach them to be cautious when riding past shrubs, fences and buildings that create blind spots at driveways and intersections for both bicyclists and motorists. Many bicyclists are hit when entering a crosswalk from a driver’s right side. Often, the driver was stopped at a stop sign looking left for a gap in traffic. Teach your children not to enter the intersection unless waved on by the driver, and to look for other traffic that might turn across their path first. And, of course, pedestrians always have the right of way on sidewalks.

Entering the street from a driveway, children often fail to stop first and look for traffic. They do not understand that traffic on the street has the right of way over those entering the street. Teach them to always stop before entering the street, and to look left, right and left again for traffic. Children have limited peripheral vision, so emphasize that they have turn their heads when looking for traffic.

Wrong way riding is a major contributing cause of bicycle crashes for children. All bicyclists should ride on the right side of the street, in the same direction as other traffic.

The sudden swerve: Children often make left turns, or swerve left around parked cars or other hazards, without looking behind them first to see if there are cars close behind them. Teach your children to do this by having them ride a straight line and look over their left shoulder when you call out their name. When they look back, they should shout out how many fingers you are holding up.

Bike too big: Some parents buy bicycles like clothes, so their children can grow into them. On a properly sized bicycle, your child should be able to stand over the top bar with his/her feet flat on the ground and an inch or two of clearance over the bar. They should be able to reach and squeeze the brake levers comfortably. A child who cannot reach the ground or the brake levers will be less likely to stop when required, and the bicycle will be harder to control in general.

Equipment malfunction: Children are tough on bicycles, so their bicycles should be inspected frequently. Take your child’s bicycle to a bike shop and have them show you and your child how to check their bicycle to make sure it works properly.


FLORIDA'S BICYCLE SAFETY LAWS

LEGAL STATUS


In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadway, and must obey the same traffic laws as operators of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway.

With few exceptions, there is only one road and it is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Strict adherence to the law is the foundation for this respect.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Helmets — Nearly 75% of all bicycle related deaths are the result of head injuries. The use of helmets would prevent many of these deaths. A bicycle shop is a good place to buy a helmet. There a knowledgeable professional can assist with selection and proper fit.

Gloves — Gloves provide protection for hands in case of a fall and cushion them from handlebar vibration.

Mirror — Use a rearview mirror to keep track of traffic approaching from behind. Mirrors that attach to glasses or a helmet allow for scanning by turning your head from side to side. Some attach on the handlebars but may only give a view of your leg or hip. Shop with care.

Safety Flag or Vest — A pennant shaped flag or vest made of “day-glow” orange material helps where heavy traffic hides a bicyclist from view. Being visible is a very important part of avoiding collisions. It is encouraged that every bicycle be equipped with a clearly visible flag and/or the rider wears a reflective vest.

Rear Carrier — Bicycle riding requires total concentration. Do not add to distractions by trying to carry things in your hands. Use a carrier.

TRAFFIC LAW HIGHLIGHTS

Bicycle regulations (see Section 316.2065, F. S.)

  • Bicyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
  • Bicyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.
  • A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.
  • An adult bicyclist may carry a child in a backpack or sling, child seat or trailer designed to carry children.
  • A bicyclist may not allow a passenger to remain in a child seat or carrier when not in immediate control of the bicycle.
  • Bicyclists and passengers under age 16 must wear a helmet approved by ANSI, Snell or any other standard recognized by Florida.
  • 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. See the “Night Riding” section for safety tips.

Roadway Position (see Section 316.2065, F.S.)

A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed of other traffic must ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of roadway. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road in the following situations: when passing, making a left turn, to avoid hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to share it 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.
Riding single file is required except on bike paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, or when two people riding side-by-side within one lane will not impede traffic flow.

Left Turns (see Subsections 316.155(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 of travel.
Another option available to a bicyclist is to dismount and walk through the intersection in the crosswalk like a pedestrian.

Signaling Turns (see Subsection 316.155(2) and 316.157(2), F.S.)

A signal or 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 must not wear a headset, headphone or other listening device other than a hearing aid when riding. Wearing a headset blocks out important audio cues needed to detect the presence of other traffic.

Civil Penalties (see Subsections 316.2065 and 318.18 F.S.)

Civil penalties may be issued for violations of bicycle laws as well as for moving and non-moving violations if applicable.

Local Ordinances

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.