Do I Have To Wear a Helmet When Riding a Bike in Florida?
Under Florida law, a cyclist who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is “properly fitted, fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets, as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations” (16 C.F.R. Part 1203) Those over the age of 16 are not required to wear a helmet by law. However, in view of Florida being one of the most deadly states for cyclists in the country, Bill Bone Bike Law encourages all riders to wear an appropriate helmet.
Do you have any tips for a cyclist who is involved in an accident with a car? What should I do?
The first concerns are your injuries. Always call the police! If you are unable to, have someone else call. Get the driver’s insurance information. Do not discuss what happened with the driver. If you can, look for witnesses and get their name and phone number (don’t assume the police will). Take photos of the crash scene, your injuries and bicycle. Seek immediate medical attention! Under Florida’s current No-Fault Auto Insurance laws, you must seek medical attention within 14 days.
If I am involved in a bike accident, where can I take my bicycle to get a replacement estimate?
Usually, the best place to start is the shop where you bought the bike. They will know the bike and will be able to write you a detailed estimate.
Are their specialty insurance companies that offer bike insurance?
Yes. There are numerous companies that offer bicycle insurance. A couple of examples are Velosurance and Markel Insurance. You can also see if your Home Owner’s policy might apply.
When I am involved in an cycling accident, who pays for my bike repair/replacement?
Under Florida’s current No-Fault Auto Insurance laws, drivers are required to carry $10,000 in property damage coverage. This can be used to repair and or replace your bike as well as any other items damaged in the crash, i.e., clothing, helmet, cell phone, etc.
If cyclists are riding on the road where there is no designated lane for bikes and a car hits them, whose fault is it?
Under Florida Statute § 316, bicycles are considered vehicles and as such have all the rights to the roadway applicable to any driver. In some areas, there may be a paved shoulder, but a cyclist is not required to ride there just as a vehicle would not drive on the shoulder. Most cyclists prefer to stay as far to the right as practical, but shoulders are notorious for debris and glass, making them unsafe.
Answering the question of fault can be difficult without know all of the facts. That said, Florida has a “3-foot” law that requires drivers to pass a cyclist at a minimum distance of 3 feet regardless of where the cyclist is riding. In addition, under the statute mentioned above, “Every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with a bicyclist.” [§ 316.130(15), F.S.]
How can police officers give cyclists traffic tickets if bicycles don't require a license to ride?
Under Florida Statute § 316, bicycles are considered vehicles and as such have all the rights and responsibilities applicable to any driver. Thus, the same laws that apply to motor vehicles apply to cyclists. However, since a cyclist is not required to have a driver’s license, no “points” are issued.
After a bike accident, should I call my auto insurance company?
Yes, if your accident involved a vehicle, definitely call your auto insurance company. By doing so, you can open up a PIP claim to help cover your medical expenses. Remember, there are time constraints to start a claim, so call them immediately.
What if the driver who hit me while I was riding is uninsured?
This is an all-too-common problem in Florida. Not only with drivers being uninsured but also underinsured. If you own a vehicle and have auto insurance, your own Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) policy will provide $10,000 in coverage to help pay your medical bills. If you have Health Insurance, it can also be used. If you have Uninsured Motorist coverage with your auto insurance carrier, it may also apply.