Operating in traffic is a cooperative activity, conducted according to rules. Following the rules and applying the skills needed to observe them promotes safe and efficient travel. Drivers who see and can predict each other's actions are less likely to conflict with each other. The Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law (Chapter 316, Florida Statutes; clicking on this link will open another instance of the web browser) governs the operation of all vehicles operated on public roads in Florida. For the actual wording of the sections cited below, the text of the Uniform Traffic Control Law should be consulted.
Legal status of bicycles
(Sections 316.003(2), (10) and 316.2065(1), F.S.)
A bicycle is classified as a vehicle. A person in control of a vehicle on a street or highway is a driver. As a driver, a cyclist must follow the traffic rules common to all drivers. As the driver of a bicycle, he must also obey regulations adopted specially for bicycles. A person riding a bicycle has all the rights applicable to any driver, except as to special regulations for bicycles.
Definition of "Bicycle"
(Section 316.003(2), F.S.)
Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels.
Traffic law highlights - for cyclists
Driving on right side of roadway
(Section 316.081, F.S.)
Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle must be driven on the right half of the roadway.
Equipment requirements and carriage of passengers
(Section 316.2065(2), (3), (7), (8), and (14), 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.
A bicycle rider or passenger under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted, fastened securely, and meets a nationally recognized standard.
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 Immediatee control of the bicycle.
At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.
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.
(Section 316.2065(10) and (11), F.S.)
When riding on a sidewalk or crosswalk, a bicyclist has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian.
Since a cyclist riding on a sidewalk does not have the duties (or rights) of a driver, he may ride in either direction. (However, it is safer to ride in the direction of traffic, since drivers do not expect cyclists to come from the other direction at driveways and crosswalks.) At a signalized intersection, he must obey the instructions of any applicable pedestrian control signal. That is, he may start to cross a roadway in a crosswalk only during a steady Walk phase, if one is displayed. If no pedestrian signal is provided, the cyclist may proceed in accordance with the signal indications for the parallel roadway traffic flow (Section 316.084, F.S.).