Published On: Sat, Aug 21st, 2021

Florida Has New Laws to Protect Pedestrians and Bike Riders

By: Robert S Weinroth

Did you know bicycles on the roadway are vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles? In Florida, new bicycle regulations went into effect on July 1st! . These new regulations include how bicyclists ride on county streets. 

The following is a summary of the rules of the road.

(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle or an electric bicycle occupying the same travel lane or occupying a bicycle lane must pass must pass at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet or, if such movement cannot be safely accomplished, must remain at a safe distance behind until the driver can safely pass at a distance of not less than 3 feet and must safely clear the overtaken bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle unless the bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle, or an electric bicycle, occupies a separated bicycle lane. 

(2) The FDOT has been directed to provide an annual awareness and safety campaign informing the public about the safety precautions to be taken when overtaking a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle or an electric bicycle. 

(3) Where signs or markings are in place to define a no-passing zone, a no driver may not, drive on the left side of the roadway within with such no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark such no-passing zone throughout its length. However, a driver may safely and briefly drive to the left of the center of the roadway to safely overtake and pass a bicycle or other non-motorized vehicle or an electric bicycle. When overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction, the driver may make a right turn only if the bicycle is at least 20 feet from the intersection, and is of such a distance that the driver of a vehicle may safely turn. 

(4) A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made. Whenever practicable, the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.

(5) A bicyclist riding upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic must ride in the bicycle lane marked for bicycle use or, if there is no bicycle lane, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except:

a. when overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.; or

b. when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.;  or

c. when reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. A “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. 

(6) A person operating a bicycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable. 

(7) People riding bicycles upon a roadway or in a bicycle lane may not ride more than two abreast except on a bicycle path. People riding two abreast may not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic and must ride within a single lane. 

(8) Where bicycle lanes exist, people riding bicycles may ride two abreast if both are able to remain within the bicycle lane. If the bicycle lane is too narrow to allow riders to be two abreast, they must ride single-file and within the bicycle lane. On roads that contain a substandard-width lane, bicycle riders may temporarily ride two abreast only to avoid hazards in the roadway or to overtake another person riding a bicycle. 

(9) When stopping at a stop sign, people riding bicycles in groups, after coming to a full stop, and obeying all traffic laws may proceed through the stop sign in a group of 10 or fewer at a time. Motor vehicle operators must allow the group to travel through the intersection before moving forward. 

Know the rules of the road. Stay attentive, stay safe!

About the Author

- Robert Weinroth is a 27 year resident of Boca Raton where he is an attorney, businessman, former member of the City Council (where he served for four years) and currently serves as an elected member of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Weinroth went to Boston’s Northeastern University where he earned a BSBA in Management. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor at New England School of Law. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and the Supreme Court of the United States. Weinroth served as president and general counsel of Freedom Medical Services Inc, an accredited medical supply company in Boca Raton. FREEDOMED® represented the realization of an entrepreneurial dream. Weinroth, and his wife Pamela operated the company for 16 years, eventually selling the business in 2016. Weinroth takes great pride in his past work as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem for the 15th Judicial Circuit, advocating for the needs of abused and neglected children deemed dependent by the Court. After serving on multiple community boards and committees, Weinroth was elected to the Boca Raton City Council in 2014. During his tenure, he served as CRA Vice-chair and Deputy Mayor and was appointed to a number of county boards including the Boca Raton Airport Authority, the Palm Tran Service Board, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency, the Treasure Coast Planning Council and was elected a board member of the Palm Beach County League of Cities. Commissioner Weinroth serves as County Vice-Mayor and has been appointed Chair of the Solid Waste Authority, a board member of the PBC Transportation Planning Agency, and alternate representative on the Treasure Coast Planning Agency and several other county and regional boards. Robert, Pamela and their two dogs, Sierra and Siggy, are proud to call Boca Raton home.

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