When people think of bicycles, they may not immediately regard them as ‘vehicles’ the same way they do cars, trucks, or even motorcycles. And yet, under Florida law, bicycles are indeed legally considered to be vehicles and are thus subject to many of the same laws, rights, and protections as any other vehicle. One such protection bicyclists may benefit from is the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, which levels severe penalties against any driver who illegally leaves the scene of an accident, including those involving bicycles. That said, there are a few differences in the law between bicyclists and other vehicle operators and those are important for any bicyclist to know.
How Are Florida Bicycle Laws Similar to Those for Other Vehicles?
Bicyclists are generally subject to the same laws and regulations as other, larger-sized vehicles. For example, they must obey the same traffic laws and signals as other vehicles, stopping and signaling as signage indicates. If a bicyclist is making a left-hand turn, they must clearly indicate their intent to do so in advance, even if the bicycle is not equipped with an electronic turn signal. Drivers are similarly required to drive in accordance with legally-mandated safety requirements such as always having at least one hand on the steering apparatus at all times.
How Are Florida Bicycle Laws Different From Laws for Other Vehicles?
There are, of course, some differences between the legal requirements for operating a bicycle and those for motorized vehicles. Obviously, unlicensed adults and even minors are allowed to operate bicycles, though in the case of minors, their parents are generally legally responsible for their conduct on the roads. Another key difference: it is legal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in Florida, although bicyclists must follow the same requirements as pedestrians, to whom they must grant the right of way. These slight differences in the laws governing the operation of bicycles may not seem like a lot, but in certain situations, they can be quite significant. Knowledge of the pertinent laws can be very important to be on either side of a legal dispute.
Why Should I Speak With a Personal Injury Attorney if I’m Involved in a Bicycle Accident?
Anytime you’re involved in an accident you should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, and an accident involving a bicycle is no exception. Depending on who is found to be responsible for the incident, you may be due compensation for damage to your bicycle or any related injuries or resulting lost wages. Further, you may find yourself the target of a claim against you on behalf of the driver or their insurance carrier. In any event, you should step in front of the situation and be ready for what could be a complicated and protracted legal battle. To that end, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney would be an incredibly valuable asset to have in your corner.