While riding a bicycle is a great way to exercise, explore the city, or enjoy the outdoors, we’ve seen too many cyclists seriously injured because they aren’t following Florida’s bike helmet law. In a 2012 National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior, only 28% reported wearing a helmet for their rides, while 46% of bicyclists cited never wearing a helmet due to discomfort, short trips, or no helmet access. In not following the bicycle helmet laws in Florida, you could be at great risk for serious injury in the event of an accident – here is what you need to know.
What The Bicycle Helmet Laws in Florida State
In the state of Florida, bicycle helmet laws are designed to protect cyclists and other riders from serious head injuries. All cyclists and passengers under the age of 16 in Florida must wear an approved helmet when riding on public roads, pathways, sidewalks, or other common public areas, as noted by Statute 316.2065(3D).
For cyclists operating vehicles with tandem wheels like tricycles or scooters, this law also applies to both the operator and their passengers. Failure to comply can result in a citation/fine. If you are over the age of 16, the Florida bike helmet law does not apply to you, but it’s still heavily recommended that you wear one as it could save your life.
Rules of the Road – Understanding General Florida Bicycle Safety Laws
For avid cyclists, it’s critical to understand Florida bicycle safety laws, as Florida tops the list in terms of fatalities per million in population. With 5.1% of the population or 7.56 fatalities/million as of 2018, taking steps to understand the safety measures in place is a precaution you should absolutely take. Here are some general rules of the road that cyclists need to know:
- Always ride on the rightmost side of the road, with the exception of making a left turn, overtaking/passing, traveling on a one-way street, traveling in a lane too narrow to share, or avoiding a hazard in the roadway.
- If the bike lane or shoulder you’re riding in is too narrow, you have the right to take up the entire lane. You are not required to share the lane with other motorists if this presents a danger to you.
- If riding on the sidewalk, you are to be treated as a pedestrian. You must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, and when you go to pass other pedestrians, you must give an audible warning.
- In Florida, bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. For example, you must slow down and come to a complete stop at traffic signals on red, and at stop signs.
- When riding on the road, you must use your left hand to signal lane changes. You must also yield to traffic present when turning, changing lanes, or stopping.
- If traveling at night, your bicycle must be equipped with a front white light visible from 500 feet, and contain both a rear red reflector and lamp, visible from 600 feet.
You can find more information about these general rules of the road, and bicycle helmet laws in Florida, here and here.
Florida’s Bike Helmet Law & The Impact of Being a No-Fault State
With Florida being a no-fault state, those injured in any type of motor vehicle accident including bicycle accidents, may choose to seek compensation through PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance. While this is a good place to start, PIP coverage may not be enough to cover the full expenses related to medical treatment, bicycle damages/repairs, and lost wages, if you suffer a severe accident. As a result, you may be considering filing a personal injury claim against the other party involved.
When you go to file a personal injury claim, it is important that you know that the failure to wear a bicycle helmet, or the failure of the parent to prevent a child from riding a bike without a helmet, is not good enough to be considered negligence or contributory negligence in the State of Florida. This means that if your injuries are caused by someone else’s negligence, even though you were not wearing a helmet, you can still seek compensation. You can find more information about this law via Florida’s Statute 316.2065(18).
Frank Eidson Personal Injury Attorney
If you or your child are involved in a bicycle accident and have sustained serious injuries, it’s important to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney, who is familiar with the Florida bike helmet laws, as you may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. We can explain what your rights are, and determine if there are any mitigating factors that need to be taken into account when pursuing a personal injury claim on your behalf. Here at Frank Eidson, we offer a no-obligation review of your case, simply give us a call at 407-245-2887, and learn how we can help get you the compensation and justice you deserve.