Last month five bikers participating in an annual 130-mile ride were killed by a box truck driver on a rural highway in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The driver struck a total of 14 cyclists after he claimed to have fallen asleep at the wheel, even though the cyclists were escorted by a safety vehicle equipped with flashers. Police later determined that the 45-year-old driver had a large amount of methamphetamine in his system when the accident occurred. He is now facing 12 felony charges, including DUI and reckless driving.
This tragedy in Las Vegas has captured the attention of lawmakers and stretches beyond the state of Nevada. Activists are now working on gaining sponsors for a new bill that will change current safety legislation and tie in a “presumed liability” clause taking the burden of proof in an accident off of the bicyclist and placing it on the motorist.
The current argument by activists is that the law favors motorists in these cases, but defense attorneys are on the side that the blame is shared and that cyclists know the inherent risks of riding with motor vehicles present.
It will be interesting to see what happens in Las Vegas in regards to bicycle safety laws, but you may be wondering where Florida stands on similar issues. Our Florida Bike Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to provide you with answers to any bicycle law questions you may have. You can call us anytime at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to request a free consultation. Below we have addressed the most commonly asked questions.
What Are Helmet Laws for Bicyclists in Florida?
All cyclists under the age of 16 are required by law to wear a helmet. This law pertains to cyclists, any passengers and those being towed in trailers or semi trailers that are attached to a bike. The helmet riders, passengers, and people riding in trailers or semi trailers attached to bicycles. The helmet must meet the following requirements:
- Be an actual bicycle helmet
- Fit properly and have a strap to secure the helmet to the head
- Meet the federal requirements set forth by bicycle helmet safety standards
When Do Bikers Have to Use Headlights, Tail Lights or Reflectors?
Florida law requires riders to have a working headlight, taillight, and rear reflector if you are riding during non-daylight hours such as before sunrise or after sunset. Your headlights must be visible from at least 500 feet and your tail light and reflector must be visible from at least 600 feet.
What Are The Rules Of The Road For Bikers?
When you are riding on the street you are required to follow the same traffic laws as other motorists, which includes yielding to any traffic signs and signals. You are required by law to stop at stop lights and stop signs and are not permitted to travel through a red light even if there is no traffic approaching.
The law requires you to ride in a bike lane, but if none is available then you are required to ride on the right-most side of the road.
When you are riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk the law treats you as a pedestrian, so you must abide by the same laws that apply to walkers with one exception: you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and call out before you pass them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports show that Florida is the deadliest state in the United States for bikers. In 2018, the latest year data is available, the U.S. saw a total of 783 bicyclist deaths, and 125 of those occurred in Florida – the most deaths than any other state. Most bicycle deaths can be attributed to failure to yield right of way, bikers not being visible, failure to obey traffic signs or signals, and making an improper turn. Continue reading