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November 18, 2009

Florida Newspaper Alerts Cyclists to Laws They May Not Be Aware Exist.

...Until they get a ticket for breaking them, that is. ;-D

In a piece devoted mostly to laws related to driving a car there are 2 mentions of laws related to cycling ("Deep in the list of Florida motor vehicle laws are some you might not know can get you a citation worth $101 or more."):

1. Wearing a headset covering both ears prohibited while driving or bicycling

Enacted during the Sony Walkman craze in the 1980s, this law remains relevant thanks to .mp3 players and speakers shoved deep into ears, shutting off outside noise.

Today's smart phones also double as music players, and earbuds with in-line mics enable easy switching between rocking out and talking to Mom.

In Volusia County, 49 drivers were cited for this over the past year.

The law exempts hearing aids and cell-phone headsets that cover only one ear, leaving the other ear free.

The cell-phone exemption doesn't prohibit music from that single headphone, so drivers can legally enjoy their favorite tunes on their cell-phones -- in monaural.


2. Headlight and taillight required on a bicycle (Oh, and few other things you should be aware of, too!)

Yep, Florida considers your bicycle a vehicle, like a car or a motorcycle.

You need lights to ride at night.

You need operable brakes.

You need to stop at traffic lights and stop signs.

You can get a DUI for bicycling while impaired.

 ...and even if you start riding because you lost your automobile license, watch out.

But you don't get all the rights that big-boy vehicles get.

Bicycles and mopeds that travel below the speed of normal vehicular traffic must "ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway" unless turning left or overtaking a slower bicycle or moped, the law states.

A lot of bicyclists ignore the various requirements, and officers might not be looking to write citations, Whittet said. But in crime-prone neighborhoods, "lesser-used statutes give you a lawful way to stop someone and check them out."

The response from people who are, or claim to be, cyclists, in the comments to this piece are a mixed bag to say the least. ;-D

FROM: These tickets may surprise you By Ron Hurtibise of the Daytona Beach News-Journal.


November 18, 2009 in Life on the Street: Local, and state Laws, and other topics | Permalink


I'll go one better, Kiril, and mention that a commenter on a thread, here in Tulsa, wants cyclists to stay off the roads until they comply with laws that DON'T exist!

NewsChannel 8 Talkback: Tension Between Cyclist And Drivers

Posted by: Ed W | Nov 18, 2009 7:47:53 PM

Thanks for highlighting this.

California likewise has bike laws that could earn cyclists a ticket, and I don't want to see visitors to Monterey going home with the memory (and expense) of a BUI or other ticket.

So, I include the headset law and DUI/BUI info, as well as pointing out helmets-for-kids law in my guide "Tips for Tourists Bicycling Monterey," available free on my personal blog http://www.marilynch.com/blog

Posted by: Mari Lynch | Nov 23, 2009 1:33:11 PM

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